SEN. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada was not only called “Sexy” in the camp of Janet Lim-Napoles, he was also called “Cong. Biazon,” “Anak” and “Kuya,” according to pork barrel scam witness Benhur Luy.
Luy, who testified in the bail hearing of Estrada on Monday, said several codenames were used for Estrada, who was charged with plunder at the Sandiganbayan ‘s Fifth Division in connection with the pork barrel scam.
When asked by Prosecutor Ma. Christina Marallag-Batacan why codenames were used, Luy said they did not want the senator to be identified. The use of codes, he added, was Napoles’ idea.
“There are sensitive transactions. Madam Janet Lim-Napoles is dealing with the government so we need to put code names,” Luy explained.
But Estrada found the names “very ridiculous” and “absurd.”
“Pati ako nagulat e [Even I was surprised],” he said, “Ngayon ko lang din narinig na meron na pala akong code na ‘Anak,’ meron pa akong code na ‘Cong Biazon” [This is the first time I heard that I have a code ‘Anak,’ and ‘Cong. Biazon’ as well].”
An entry in Luy’s records dated March 15, 2005 indicated that money was allegedly delivered to Estrada’s aide Pauline Labayen involving a project of the Department of Agriculture worth a P30 million from which the senator allegedly received P11.97 million under the code name “Cong Biazon.”
Another entry for 2006 showed that Matt Ranillo, identified by Luy as among Estrada’s “middlemen,” allegedly received P4.5 million. Estrada’s code name in that entry was “Anak.”
But the senator maintained that he never transacted with Ranillo.
Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano said they knew that “Cong Biazon” referred to Estrada because they asked Luy.
Justiniano is part of the team of lawyers handling the case against Estrada.
Luy said Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, who were also charged with plunder, also had codenames.
Luy earlier said Enrile codename was ‘Tanda’ while Revilla’s was “Pogi.”
While he did not deny that he and Napoles were friends, Estrada called Luy a liar for claiming that he called Napoles to ask for a cash advance.
“Talagang sinungaling, from the very start sinungaling [He really is a liar, even from the very start],” Estrada told reporters after the hearing.
“I’m not denying na minsan nagtatawagan kami ni Janet Napoles. Sinabi ko sa inyo from the very start ‘di ko pinagkakaila na kaibigan ko si Janet Napoles [I’m not denying that Napoles and I have been calling each other on the phone. I told you from the very start that I’m not denying that Janet Napoles is my friend],” he added.
Luy had claimed that sometime in 2009 or 2010, Estrada called Napoles and he heard the conversation because it was on speakerphone.