The principal whistle-blower in the misuse of P10 billion in pork barrel funds is facing arrest following the resolution of theft charges brought against him by the alleged brains behind the scam.
In his June 25 resolution, Pasig City Assistant Prosecutor Rey Camilo B. Dumlao II recommended no bail for Benhur K. Luy, whom Janet Lim-Napoles, head of JLN Corp., accused of stealing P300,000 from the company and taking out two loans amounting to P5 million from the Air Materiel Wing Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AMWSLAI) on her behalf without her authorization.
The Pasig court is expected to issue a warrant for Luy’s arrest soon.
Napoles brought the charges against Luy after her former employee at JLN accused her and her brother, Reynald “Jojo” Lim, of kidnapping him for planning to strike out on his own with a scheme similar to JLN’s.
National Bureau of Investigation agents rescued Luy from an apartment in South Wings Garden of Pacific Plaza Tower in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City on March 22.
Luy spilled the beans on Napoles and the NBI brought kidnapping charges against Napoles and Lim to the Department of Justice (DOJ) then opened an investigation into Napoles’ activities.
Lim was arrested and briefly detained while Napoles submitted an affidavit to the NBI denying involvement in Luy’s kidnapping.
The DOJ, however, dismissed the complaint for “lack of probable cause.”
Motion for reconsideration
The NBI has asked the DOJ to reconsider the decision, saying that the resolution by Assistant State Prosecutor Pedro Navera “failed to recognize the key facts [that] clearly prove a prima facie existence of probable cause” to prosecute Napoles and Lim for kidnapping and serious detention.
The NBI said the “resolution blindly accepted the respondents’ version of the incident and failed to see through the polluted motives of their witnesses, who are all economically dependent on them.”
“It also failed to see that there was actual restraint on the victim’s liberty,” the NBI said. “In fact, Janet Lim-Napoles admitted having uttered the culpable order to her people, ‘ikulong na ’yan (lock him up).’”
Restraint of liberty
The NBI added that based on a Supreme Court ruling, “it is enough that the liberty of the victim is restricted in any manner” to recognize kidnapping.
“It was respondent Lim who was in control of the movement of the person, as well as the disposition of the victim’s properties,” the NBI said.
The exchanges of “text messages between the victim’s mother and respondent Lim show that he was the one who decided when, where and how the family can see the victim,” the NBI said.
Luy and five other whistle-blowers are all longtime employees of JLN.
The NBI is investigating Napoles’ activities in connection with allegations that JLN cheated the government of funds estimated at P10 billion with the connivance of some lawmakers.
Napoles brought the theft charges against Luy after he had filed the complaint against her and Lim in the DOJ.
Napoles alleged that Luy pocketed the P300,000 that he was supposed to deposit for her in the bank.
She charged that Luy took the P300,00 to finance his “vices.”
She said she found out that Luy stole her money after AMWSLAI officer Patricio Asoy informed her that Luy took out P5 million in loans on her behalf, but she had no knowledge of those loans.
In his resolution, Dumlao said he found “sufficient grounds” to prosecute Luy for qualified theft.