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What went before: Napoles, brother found guilty of illegal detention

02:38 AM February 17, 2017

On April 14, 2015, a Makati Regional Trial Court found Janet Lim-Napoles and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim guilty of illegally detaining Benhur Luy, her finance officer, for three months.

On March 8, 2013, couple Arturo and Gertrudes Luy submitted a joint sworn statement to the National Bureau of Investigation alleging that their son, Benhur, was being illegally detained by Napoles and Lim since Dec. 20.

Luy’s parents said Lim had warned them not to go to the authorities for assistance, telling them, “We control the government.”

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Acting on the complaint, the NBI Special Task Force raided Napoles’ posh apartment in Taguig City on the night of March 22, 2013, and rescued Luy.

Luy’s illegal detention brought to light the P10-billion racket involving the diversion of funds from the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund, a pork barrel, to ghost projects and bogus nonprofits owned by Napoles.

The Inquirer broke the pork barrel scam story in a six-part series starting July 12, 2013.

Benhur Luy said that prior to his detention, Napoles had gotten wind of his plan to break away from her group.

He said he was taken to Bahay ni San Jose, a Catholic retreat house in Magallanes Village, Makati City, where he was prohibited from using any means of communication and was allowed to see his family only twice under strict supervision.

The Makati court issued warrant of arrest for Napoles. A manhunt ensued but Napoles surrendered to then President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang on Aug. 28, 2013, after a P10-million bounty for her arrest was announced.

Aquino escorted Napoles to the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Napoles claimed that Luy had volunteered to go on a three-month spiritual retreat and that he was not detained against his will.

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In his decision to convict Napoles and Lim, Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda said Luy’s narration of events before and during his detention from Dec. 19, 2012, to March 22, 2013, when he was rescued by NBI agents, was “credible and cohesive.”

Napoles and Lim were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The court also ordered Napoles to pay P50,000 in civil damages to Luy,  who “suffered anxiety and fright as a result of his detention,” and another P50,000 in moral damages.

Napoles is serving her sentence in the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City.

She is also facing plunder charges as coaccused in cases against former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla in connection with the pork barrel scam. —INQUIRER RESEARCH

Sources: Inquirer Archives

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TAGS: Benhur Luy, Janet Lim Napoles, Jojo Lim, Napoles illegal detention case, PDAF, pork barrel scam, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Reynald Lim
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