Benhur was no prisoner, says Napoles brod’s driver
MANILA, Philippines–The driver of fugitive Reynald “Jojo” Lim, accused of serious illegal detention along with his sister Janet Lim-Napoles, testified in a Makati court on Tuesday that whistle-blower Benhur Luy was not illegally detained for three months.
Peter John Castillo, who has been driving for Lim’s family for two years, said in testimony before Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Elmo Alameda that Luy and his boss had carried on in a “normal” manner during the three occasions that he drove for them before the alleged detention.
Castillo said these were on Jan. 9, Jan. 22 and March 22 in 2013 when he drove the two from the Bahay ni San Jose in Magallanes Village to restaurants and to Napoles’ condo at the Pacific Plaza Tower in Bonifacio Global City (BGC).
Converse in normal manner
“They would converse and deal with each other in a normal manner,” he said.
Castillo said he became the Lims’ family driver after doing the same job for Napoles from 2009 to 2012.
When asked about the last day he drove for Luy and Lim, Castillo said it was on March 22, the same day Luy was removed from the Pacific Plaza by National Bureau of Investigation agents.
Castillo said he had dropped Lim and Luy off at a cafe on Burgos Circle at the BGC. Some 30 minutes later he picked them up and brought them to the Pacific Plaza. That was between 7 and 8 p.m.
He said that while he on his way out of the building to head home, he saw Luy’s family pulling him from the Pacific Plaza lobby into a vehicle.
‘Seemed to be resisting’
“I saw Benhur being pulled by his parents and two siblings but he seemed to be resisting,” said Castillo, who added that he was only 15 meters from them.
Castillo said he overheard Luy say in a loud voice: “Ayokong sumama sa inyo, hindi totoong kinidnap ako ni kuya Jojo (I don’t want to go with you. It’s not true that I was kidnapped by Jojo).”
Luy’s parents, Arturo and Gertrude Luy, had reported their son’s detention by Napoles and her camp to the NBI, an allegation denied by Napoles who insisted that Luy was simply on a “spiritual retreat” in the Magallanes house.
Luy was an employee of Napoles who accused her of being behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam involving members of Congress.
Lim’s last whereabouts
Asked by Judge Alameda what he knew of the missing Lim’s last whereabouts, Castillo said he knew that his boss was admitted to St. Luke’s Medical Center at the BGC on the night of March 22 due to chest pains.
Castillo said he later heard that Lim had been discharged from the hospital but he had not driven for him since the Pacific Plaza incident. He, however, continues to drive for Lim’s wife and three children.
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