MANILA, Philippines—The Pasig regional trial court Branch 265 has ordered the arrest of Benhur Luy, the whistleblower in the P10-billion pork barrel fund scam.
The Pasig court issued the arrest order in connection with the qualified theft case filed by Janet Lim-Napoles, employer and alleged brains behind the scam.
In her complaint filed early this year, Napoles alleged that Luy pocketed P300,000 that she asked the whistleblower to deposit in her bank account in December 2012.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, meanwhile, said she would ask the Pasig Court to allow Luy to remain in justice department’s custody. Luy was provisionally accepted in the government’s Witness Protection Program late Thursday.
De Lima said this is not the first time that a government witness has a separate pending case in court.
“If the warrant of arrest will be served, it will be coursed through the WPP and [we] will inform the court that he is under application and so we will not turn him over physically,” De Lima said Friday.
“WPP will file proper manifestation and motion in court informing the court that he is under WPP and we will ask that he remains under WPP custody,” she said. “Normally, the court allows that,”
Luy’s lawyer Levito Baligod said despite the arrest warrant, the trial court could not insist on taking custody of Luy.
“The purpose of detaining a suspect is to prevent flight. Since he [Luy] is under WPP custody, it serves the same purpose. The court does not need to insist that he should go to an ordinary jail because he is a witness to a more important crime,” Baligod said.
Baligod said he would file with the court a motion to recall the arrest warrant because the preliminary investigation has not been completed.
Luy alleged that Napoles was behind the P10 billion scam that also involved several senators and congressmen.
Napoles has denied the allegation.
Originally posted: 10:57 am | Friday, July 19th, 2013