Key witness in ‘pork’ barrel scam faces SenateBy Maila Ager
‘PORK’ WITNESS Benhur Luy, the principal witness in the P10 billion “pork barrel” scam, testified for the first time before the Senate blue ribbon committee on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2013, that Janet Lim-Napoles, his cousin and boss in the company he was employed in, was the mastermind of the scheme that involved the funneling of legislators’ “pork” or Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to fake non-government organizations formed by Napoles. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
MANILA, Philippines – Benhur Luy, the principal whistleblower in the P10 billion “pork barrel” fund scam, appeared and testified in the Senate on Thursday.
No less than Justice Secretary Leila de Lima presented Luy as the first witness in the ongoing investigation by the blue ribbon committee.
But in her opening statement, De Lima requested the committee if her witness not name names and just be allowed to narrate how the alleged scam in the releases of legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” worked.
“Kung pwede lang po wala muna tayong (magbibigay) ng mga pangalan… I think the committee will understand this,” she said.
De Lima then requested for a five to ten minute-suspension to call her witness.
Before this, the justice secretary revealed writing a letter to the committee to request not to summon the whistleblowers in the scam as they would be facing the very officials, whom they have implicated.
Media reports named several senators who had allegedly funneled their PDAF to non-government organizations linked to De Lima.
In her letter to the committee, De Lima cited other reasons why the whistleblowers should not be summoned to the hearing such as the danger of self-incrimination and their fear for their security.
But De Lima said she reconsidered her decision, saying that the people should hear a representative from the whistleblowers.
Meanwhile, Allan Javellana, former head of the National Agribusiness Corporation (Nabcor), which had been used allegedly as a conduit to transfer the legislators’ pork barrel funds to fake NGos was a no show at the hearing.
Javellana was present during last week’s hearing where he confirmed meeting Janet Lim-Napoles twice at the Discovery Suites in Mandaluyong. He also confirmed that Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. had funnelled their PDAF to Napoles’ NGOs through Nabcor.
Napoles has been tagged as the mastermind behind the scam. She is detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna on charges of serious illegal detention over the abudction of Luy, a cousin and employee in her company which bears her initials, JLN.
Pork Barrel Probe