Napoles gets up to 40 years imprisonment for illegally detaining Benhur Luy
Video by Cathy Miranda/INQUIRER.net
Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles was found guilty of a serious illegal detention charge for detaining whistleblower Benhur Luy for months.
In a 26-page decision read on Tuesday, Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda sentenced Napoles to reclusion perpetua or a jail term of up to 40 years.
The court also ordered Napoles to pay Luy P50,000 in moral damages and another P50,000 in civil damages.
Luy accused Napoles and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim of detaining him against his will from December 19, 2012 to March 22, 2013 because they found out that Luy was having separate business transactions allegedly involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of some legislators. Lim remains at large and was never arraigned.
Napoles claimed that Luy volunteered to go on a three-month spiritual retreat.
In coming up with the guilty verdict, Alameda said in his decision that the prosecution was able to establish that Luy was illegally detained for three months.
The judge said Napoles did not testify but only submitted a memorandum arguing that the only evidence or act where the prosecution established her participation in the crime was when she uttered “ikulong na yan, ikulong na yan (Detain him, detain him)” last Dec. 19, 2012.
“The discourse of Janet in her memorandum cannot be given any evidentiary value because she did not testify. Her arguments were not established by direct testimony. Her failure to testify prevented the prosecution from examining her to test her credibility,” Alameda added.
The judge also said that while Luy was in detention, Napoles had “ample opportunity” to order his release but she never did.
“Clearly, she willingly agreed to be part of the conspiracy with her brother Jojo. Her inaction can be construed as assent to their evil deeds,” the decision further read.
Luy is now the key witness in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Napoles.
Napoles, who earlier refused to enter a plea regarding the serious detention charges against her, is now detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. SFM, IDL
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