WHAT WENT BEFORE: Janet Lim-Napoles’ illegal detention case
Solicitor General Jose Calida submitted a manifestation to the Court of Appeals 13th Division in January, saying the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) had erred in convicting Janet Lim-Napoles of illegally detaining her second cousin and finance officer, Benhur Luy.
In 2015, the RTC’s Branch 150 found Napoles and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim guilty of illegally detaining Luy for three months, over two years after Luy was rescued by a National Bureau of Investigation team in Napoles’ posh apartment in Taguig City.
The rescue was a response to a complaint submitted to the NBI by couple Arturo and Gertrudes Luy on March 8, 2013, alleging that their son, Benhur, was being illegally detained by Napoles and Lim since Dec. 20.
A warrant of arrest was issued against Napoles and a P10-million bounty for her arrest was announced. Napoles surrendered to then President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang on Aug. 28, 2013.
In his decision to convict Napoles and Lim, 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.”
Civil, moral damages
Napoles and Lim were sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay P50,000 in civil damages to Luy and P50,000 in moral damages. Napoles claimed that Luy was not detained against his will.
After Luy’s rescue, he became a whistle-blower and brought to light the P10-billion racket involving the diversion of funds from the Priority Development Assistance Fund to ghost projects and nongovernment organizations set up by Napoles.
The Inquirer broke the pork barrel scam story in a series starting July 12, 2013. Luy said that before his detention, Napoles had gotten wind of his plan to break away from her group.
In June 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman indicted Napoles and other government officials in the Sandiganbayan for plunder and multiple counts of graft.
Last August, President Duterte raised the possibility of reopening the pork scam allegedly masterminded by Napoles and the whole issue of corruption that he said involved Sen. Leila de Lima when she was justice secretary.
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.
Source: Inquirer Archives