Benhur Luy admits hidden ‘pork’ deal with Jinggoy Estrada aide
Whistleblower Benhur Luy on Friday admitted he had pork barrel transactions which he kept hidden from his former boss and accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
During Napoles’ bail hearing for plunder, Luy admitted in the cross-examination by Napoles’ lawyer Dennis Buenaventura that he earned P150,000 from a transaction with Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada’s former deputy chief of staff Pauline Labayen.
Labayen fled after she was charges as Estrada’s co-accused in the pork barrel scam.
Luy said the transaction involved a P35-million project in 2012 when Luy was promised a two-percent kickback in the amount of P700,000.
“To be honest, gusto ko kumita kay Pauline. Gusto ko malaman paano si Pauline kumikita. Nag-offer si Pauline ng percentage which [was] two percent,” Luy said.
(To be honest, I wanted to earn from (a transaction) with Pauline. I wanted to know how Pauline made money. She offered me two percent (worth of kickbacks).)
Luy said he received only a portion or P150,000 before Napoles had ordered him detained over the suspicions of starting his own scam.
He said that after his rescue by the NBI, he was able to talk to Labayen over the phone before Jinggoy’s Senate aide turned fugitive.
Luy, describing Labayen as a “good friend,” said he told Labayen that he had to tell the truth due to his conscience.
“To be honest, at the time I called Pauline. And Pauline was saying she thought I was dead. I said, I’m very sorry I have to speak of what I know,” Luy said.
“Wala naman kaming grudges. Sabi ko madadamay at madadamay ka talaga. She said ‘I’m happy you’re alive,’ (before cutting off the line),” Luy said.
Luy was rescued March 2013 when he decided to spill the beans on the alleged scheme of pilfering lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks.
He said he served as the bridge between Labayen and another witness Merlina Suñas so that Labayen could use Napoles’ foundation People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation (POPDFI) to open a bank account for the project. Suñas was the president of POPDFI.
Luy said it was Labayen who opened the bank account that contained the P35 million funds for the project.
Luy refused to divulge the names of three lawmakers because he has yet to be granted immunity from the alleged transaction.
Napoles is serving life sentence after a court convicted her for detaining Luy for three months.
The hearings on the pork barrel scam have resulted in the detention for plunder of senators Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, as well as former representatives Rizalina Seachon Lanete and Edgar Valdez. IDL
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