PORK barrel scam main witness Benhur Luy on Tuesday said Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada once complained when he allegedly discovered that his supposed commission from one of his transactions with suspected scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles was short of P10,000.
Testifying at the Sandiganbayan 5th Division during a hearing on a petition for bail of Estrada, Luy said the senator called Napoles to complain about the missing amount.
He added that he was in the JLN office beside Napoles when he overheard the alleged phone call made by Estrada, who was on speakerphone. JLN are the initials of Janet Lim-Napoles.
“I was just an arm’s length away from her,” Luy said.
“Ate, ‘yung perang pinadala mo kulang ng sampung libo [Ate, the money you delivered was short of P10,000],” he recalled Estrada as saying. Ate means older sister.
But Estrada dismissed Luy’s claim and challenged him to prove before the court that he personally handed the money to him.
In a direct examination by Prosecutor Jacinto dela Cruz Jr., Luy claimed that as facilitators of the scam, they were often at the receiving end when issues such as missing money as in the case of Estrada crop up.
He, however, could not recall when the supposed incident happened, although he admitted that he deliberately withheld P10,000 from the senator’s commission to determine if the lawmaker was counting his supposed share.
Estrada later told reporters that he was losing patience with Luy’s continued peddling of lies.
“Gumagawa na ng script itong mga ito e, kasama itong mga prosecution panel just to make it appear that I received kickbacks and commissions,” he said.
“You know these [witnesses]are all coached by the prosecution. He [Luy] said he first met me in a party 2012, now he tells the court that he went to my office, was it 2010 or 2011, to get my signature on a document on [an]endorsement,” Estrada added.