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Napoles defense to call 18 witnesses

/ 04:15 AM December 10, 2013

Janet Lim-Napoles: 18 witnesses. INQUIRER.net photo

MANILA, Philippines—They will present 18  witnesses, possibly including Janet Lim-Napoles herself and her brother Reynald Lim should he fall into custody, according to Napoles’ lawyer Alfredo Villamor.

At Monday’s pretrial conference at Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, Villamor named several priests among the defense witnesses the Napoles camp would be presenting during the trial set early next year.

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Napoles and her fugitive brother Lim are facing a serious illegal detention case filed by Napoles’ cousin and former employee Benhur Luy.

Luy is also the whistle-blower in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, for which Napoles and several government officials are facing a plunder charge.

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Luy had accused Napoles and Lim of conspiring to detain him from December 2012 to March 2013 in properties owned by Napoles, including the Bahay San Jose retreat house run by priests in Magallanes Village, Makati City.

Of the defense witnesses Villamor named, six were priests: Monsignor Josefino Ramirez, Fr. Paul Yang, Fr. Peter Guo, Fr. Joseph Gao, Fr. John Ma and Fr. Paul Do.

In October, the defense also presented a priest as their lone witness for Napoles’ bail petition hearings. Fr. Peter Edward Lavin testifed that Luy was not detained but was on a spiritual retreat for his drug addiction and other vices.

The other defense witnesses for the trial in February next year were identified as Patricio Asoy, William Lim, Abelardo Gernale, Jetron Bande, Madylon Habana, Ana Marie Lim, Fernando Masayon, Feliciano Alcantara, Expedito Rosales and Peter John Castillo.

Villamor said the defense wants to present Napoles herself as a witness as well as Lim, if he is caught. Napoles is detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Meanwhile, the prosecution is set to present 15 witnesses, including the eight it had presented during the bail petition hearings.

Lead state prosecutor Christopher Garvida said there would be five new witnesses, including the manager or a representative from the Metrobank Ortigas branch, to testify to the “transfer of funds from Luy” to the trading company owned by Napoles.—Jaymee T. Gamil

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TAGS: defense witnesses, illegal detention, Janet Lim Napoles, Philippines
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