Napoles lawyer casts doubt on Luy’s credibility
The counsels of accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles said they were able to cast a shadow on the credibility of Benhur Luy over what they deemed a loophole in the principal whistleblower’s testimony over the scam.
During Napoles’ bail hearing for plunder on Friday, Atty. Dennis Buenaventura cornered Luy into admitting that the daily disbursement record or his financial ledger – used as the main evidence in the allegations of kickbacks to lawmakers and their agents – was only a reproduction of the original.
Luy told the court that the financial ledger he has now was produced after he encoded the daily disbursement transactions of the JLN Corp. in the computer.
He said the digital daily disbursement record did not have to be signed by Napoles for approval.
Associate Justice Samuel Martires asked Luy why he did not scan the original copies of the disbursement records instead of simply collating it in the computer.
Luy only said scanning the reports is not “standard practice.”
“I thought you are the finance officer keeping all these records. Why didn’t you scan it?” Martires asked.
“I wasn’t ordered by Napoles to scan. If it’s the standard practice, (I would),” Luy said.
Buenaventura then grilled Luy to prove these are faithful reproductions, but he was cut short by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang.
Luy’s disbursement report collated the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) amounts according to the Special Allotment Release Order (Saro) and the alleged rebates per lawmaker and middleman.
“How can you be sure that these are faithful copies if these are supposed files in the vault of JLN? Is this an admission that these are not faithful copies?” Buenaventura said.
Before Luy was able to answer, Tang advised Buenaventura to “leave (the evidence) to the court’s appreciation.”
Luy said he made a back-up of the daily disbursement record in an external hard drive he purchased in 2012.
He said this external hard drive contained the template documents and disbursement records used as evidence in the plunder and graft cases of lawmakers accused in the alleged pork barrel scam.
Luy said the hard drive was in the possession of his childhood friend Flor Villanueva at the time he was detained by Napoles in Dec. 2012 upon suspicions of starting his own scam.
Luy was rescued March 2013 by the National Bureau of Investigation authorities.
He said Villanueva turned over the hard drive to his mother. Luy said Villanueva is his roommate in a condominium unit entrusted to him by Napoles.
Villanueva is said to be Luy’s alleged secretary in his own scam with Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s deputy chief of staff Pauline Labayen. Labayen is at large for plunder.
After the hearing, Buenaventura said Luy’s admission of inaccurate reproductions of the disbursement report could destroy the credibility of Luy.
He added that Luy himself admitted that he does not always correct the disbursement report in the computer in case of errors in the disbursement records.
He said the disbursement report printed from the computer was not even signed by Napoles.
“How can we rely on (him when) admittedly those presented (in the court) are different from the supposed records? We have to rely on the credibility of Benhur Luy. Ngayon, bagsak na siya,” Buenaventura said.
Luy as Napoles’ entrusted finance officer blew the lid in the alleged scheme of pilfering lawmakers’ PDAF for ghost project for kickbacks.
Napoles, meanwhile, was convicted to life imprisonment for illegally detaining Luy for three months over suspicions that he had his own pork barrel scam.
Facing charges over the alleged scam are Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and former representatives Rizalina Lanete, Edgar Valdez, Samuel Dangwa, Rodolfo Plaza, and Constantino Jaraula.
Detained for plunder are Revilla and Estrada at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, and Lanete and Valdez at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig. Enrile, meanwhile, is under hospital detention.
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