Two security officers of a condominium in Taguig City (Metro Manila) on Tuesday quoted pork barrel scam witness Benhur Luy as telling his relatives and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who swooped down on a residential unit there to “rescue” him in 2013.
Testifying on the charges of serious illegal detention charges filed by Luy against Janet Lim-Napoles before Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, Fernando Masayon, a security officer of the Pacific Plaza Towers and a defense witness, said Luy appeared to have been resisting when the NBI agents arrived at the unit to rescue him around 8 p.m. on March 22 last year.
Masayon added that it was he who accompanied the NBI agents and Luy’s family to the residential unit of Napoles’ brother Reynald Lim.
His testimony was corroborated by another defense witness, Feliciano Alcantara, also a security officer of the condominium.
According to Alcantara, he had informed the building’s operations manager about the arrival of the NBI agents in the building before he proceeded to Lim’s unit where he heard people shouting at each other.
He said he saw and heard Luy telling his relatives and the NBI agents: “Ano ba kayo? Hindi ako kinidnap [What’s the matter with you? I was not kidnapped]!”
Alcantara added that Luy blurted this out as his relatives were urging him to go with the NBI agents. He said Luy resisted.
Alcantara told the court that he left the unit after three minutes.
Napoles’ lawyer Bruce Rivera said the testimonies of the security officers belied claims of Luy that he was kidnapped and detained by Napoles and his brother Reynald.
“It was established that Benhur resisted when the NBI [agents]tried to rescue him allegedly because he was detained,” Rivera told reporters after the hearing.
He asked the court on Tuesday to subpoena Madylon Habana, said to be the building’s CCTV operator at the time of NBI rescue operations, and bring with her copies of the CCTV footage from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Also asked to testify on the continuation of the hearing on September 16 was Adeline Susan Carag, Pacific Plaza Towers general manager .
Meanwhile, at the sidelines of the hearing, Rivera said Napoles has denied linking Rep. Amado Bagatsing of Manila to the pork scam.
“Allow me to clarify at the outset that I never stated that Rep. Bagatsing received or authorized anyone to receive on his behalf rebate or commission from PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) transactions involving any NGO [non-government organization] connected with me,” said Rivera, reading a prepared statement of Napoles.
“There was never anything in the statement that I ever stated or insinuated that Rep. Bagatsing was directly or indirectly involved or participated in the rebate,” Napoles said.