Benhur Luy: I talked with Gigi Reyes about diet, not kickbacks
Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy told the Sandiganbayan Third Division that he has not personally talked with Atty. Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes about Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s kickbacks from the alleged pork barrel scam.
During accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ bail hearing for plunder on Friday, Luy said he has only talked with Reyes over the phone about her “cohen diet,” or a personal diet program.
“Was there an instance that you talked to Reyes personally or over the phone?” Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang asked Luy on the witness stand.
Reyes is Enrile’s chief of staff who is detained for plunder for her alleged involvement in the scam. She was accused of conniving with Enrile in earning kickbacks from Napoles.
Reyes is also the rumored to have a more personal, intimate relationship with her boss.
“Kay Ma’am Gigi, patungkol sa cohen diet, hindi sa kickbacks,” Luy said.
The witness, however, said he has talked to Enrile’s deputy chief of staff Atty. Jose Antonio Evangelista about pertinent Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) documents such as endorsement letters, memoranda of agreement, letters of request, among others.
Evangelista, or “Jave” as Luy calls him, also called up Napoles’ office about the status of budget releases, and even faxed copies of Enrile’s project listings, Luy said.
Evangelista even called the office to tell Luy to open the fax tone, he added.
Evangelista is said to have taken the fall for Reyes when he took full responsibility for processing the disbursement of Enrile’s PDAF as deputy chief of staff.
Reyes has also blamed Evangelista for supposedly overlooking that her signatures on Enrile’s PDAF documents were forged.
Reyes said it was Evangelista’s duty to oversee the implementation of the senator’s PDAF projects.
Instead, Evangelista is out on bail for graft while Reyes is detained for plunder at the women’s dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig.
“(Kinakausap ko) over the phone si Evangelista tungkol sa project listing, sa transactions, at sa memorandum of agreement,” Luy said.
Luy also tagged Ruby Tuason as the one who picked up Enrile’s purported kickbacks from Napoles’ office.
Tuason is former president and now Manila mayor Joseph Estrada’s social secretary who has testified in a Senate inquiry that she delivered bags of kickbacks to another pork scam accused, Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
Luy said Tuason, who is provisional state witness and a self-proclaimed bagman, was accompanied by her husband Carlos “Butch” Tuason in retrieving Enrile’s alleged commissions.
Other accused middlemen for Enrile are Napoles’ friend and agent Maria Theresa De Hoya, as well as Napoles’ lawyer Alfredo Villamor, Luy said.
Tuason started picking up Enrile’s kickbacks in 2006, Luy said.
The witness noted too that he has never talked with Enrile about his alleged kickbacks.
When asked by Associate Justice Samuel Martires if Enrile agreed to the set-up of his alleged agents getting his kickbacks, Luy said he has only talked with Enrile’s accused bagmen.
“Personally kay Enrile, hindi ko siya nakausap (tungkol sa kasunduan na kukunin ng agents ang kanyang kickbacks),” Luy said.
Luy, however, maintained that Enrile got 40 to 50 percent kickbacks from his PDAF projects.
Enrile is accused of conniving with Reyes and Napoles in pocketing P172 million kickbacks from 2004 to 2010 under the purported scheme of using his PDAF to ghost projects allegedly perpetrated by Napoles. The 91-year-old Enrile is under hospital detention.
Napoles is serving life sentence for the serious illegal detention of Luy. IDL
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