Kapunan withdraws as Napoles counsel
MANILA, Philippines – Lorna Kapunan has withdrawn as counsel for alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in the illegal detention case filed against her by pork barrel whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
Radyo Inquirer 990AM said on Wednesday that Justice Leila de Lima confirmed that Kapunan withdrew as legal counsel for a serious illegal detention case against Napoles.
However, De Lima said she does not know what prompted Kapunan to back out of the case.
De Lima and Kapunan were former partners at the now dissolved Roco, Bunag Kapunan Migallos law office.
Kapunan apparently resigned while the bail hearing for the case at the Makati Regional Trial Court was ongoing.
Another source said that Kapunan will not also represent Napoles in her plunder case before the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Napoles allegedly is growing impatient on the continued delay of the bail hearing, natatagalan,’’ the source said.
But Kapunan, in a radio interview, clarified that she only withdrew as legal counsel to Napoles’ serious illegal detention case but will still monitor issues surrounding the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
“The client’s decision is that since Atty. (Freddie) Villamor handled the case during its investigation stage, he will continue (handling it). So on our part, we will withdraw,” Kapunan said in a radio interview.
The lawyer denied claims that her law firm was pressured to drop Napoles as a client.
“I think the people who know us, who know the reputation of our law firm would know that pressure has never been a factor in our deciding on whether we will continue with a case. We have so many controversial cases,” she said.
The lawyer said their withdrawal should not be seen as an indication of the case’s lack of merit.
A source from the prosecution panel said Kapunan arrived at the Makati Regional Trial Court branch 150 around 9 a.m. and handed her letter of withdrawal to Judge Elmo Alameda.
Alameda, the source said, then issued a court recess and met with prosecution panel and lawyer Freddie Villamor, lawyer of Napoles’ brother Reynald Lim, in his chambers.
Benhur Luy accused Napoles and her brother of detaining him for three months in a house in Makati City and at the Discovery Center in Ortigas. His rescue by the National Bureau of Investigation led to the discovery of an alleged scam involving the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance by lawmakers and bogus non-government organizations led by Napoles. With a report from Nancy Carvajal
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