Kapunan said that Napoles decided that her co-collaborator in the case, lawyer Alfredo Villamor, will continue handling the complaint filed against her client by pork barrel fund scam whistleblower Benjur Luy.
“We are withdrawing from the case, it was decided by our client,” Kapunan told radio dzBB.
She was not present when the court heard the petition for bail on Wednesday at the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150.
Instead of showing up at the hearing, Kapunan went to the office of the RTC Branch 150 together with her assisting lawyers and staff and wrote a note on a piece of paper.
“We just made a courtesy call to the judge to inform him of our withdrawal from the case,” Kapunan said.
While Kapunan was writing the note, Judge Elmo Alameda started the hearing. Luy again took the witness stand for the continuation of the cross examination by the defense panel.
At this juncture Alameda called for a short recess and proceeded to his office.
After a few minutes, the judge entered the courtroom carrying Kapunan’s note which he later handed to the prosecution panel headed by Assistant City Prosecutor Christopher Garvida.
“That is confidential. That is not from me,” Alameda told Garvida while handing him the note.
Garvida then asked the court for a meeting in the judge’s chamber.
However, he and Villamor refused to confirm nor deny Kapunan’s withdrawal as Napoles legal counsel.
They also refused to talk about Kapunan’s note saying that it is “confidential”.
Villamor hinted that Kapunan may be sulking because she was not allowed by the client to handle the cross examination of Luy.
Before the trial ended on Tuesday, Kapunan told the court that she will handle the cross examination of Luy.
But it was Villamor who cross-examined Luy yesterday.
“Baka nagtatampo lang yun kasi gusto niya siya ang mag cross examine pero sabi ng kliyente pag siya ang humawak baka humaba pa ang hearing,” Villamor told the prosecutor.
But clerk of court Diosfa Valencia said that Kapunan remains Napoles’ lawyer until she files a formal notice of withdrawal before the court.
She added that the court has not received any motion from Kapunan expressing her intention to withdraw from Napoles’ case.
Villamor also submitted before the court his formal motion of appearance which means that he will be solely handling Napoles’ illegal detention case.
Kapunan said that it is also not certain if she will be defending Napoles at the Office of the Ombudsman where she is facing a complaint for plunder.
Napoles, who is accused of masterminding the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, will have a hard time finding lawyers, a House leader said on Wednesday.
Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite, a lawyer and a law professor, expressed such sentiments on the day that Kapunan quit as Napoles’ legal counsel for the illegal detention case.
Napoles is incarcerated in Fort Santo Domingo in Laguna province for the illegal detention charges leveled against her by her former employee and distant cousin Luy, one of the whistleblowers in the P10 billion PDAF scam. In addition, Napoles is also facing a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the P10 billion PDAF scam and the P900 million Malampaya fund mess.
“It is not easy [for her]to get a lawyer. The charges are quite grave,” Barzaga said.
Kapunan, who has defended Napoles against the charges of siphoning government money for many times before the media, has earlier assured that Napoles will show up before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe on the P10 billion PDAF scam in November 7.
Should Napoles attend the Senate probe and take an oath for her testimony, such testimony can be used against her by the time that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales files charges against Napoles before the Sandiganbayan or the anti-graft court.
“I can’t figure out why would she quit because a lawyer who will take Napoles’ cases would already be in for a long haul at this point since the dates of the hearings for her cases have already been set,” Barzaga added.