Benhur Luy–the principal whistleblower in the P10-billion pork barrel scam–will be joined by the prosecution team and bank officials in blocking a move of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles to open the bank accounts of Luy and those of other informers.
Their show of force came as at least four bank executives on Thursday honored subpoenas in compliance with an order from the ant-graft court Sandiganbayan.
Martin Antero, the counsel for Luy, said their camp will file a Motion to Quash Napoles’ move because Luy is not the one on trial for plunder and graft charges leveled against the businesswoman, as well as three senators—Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.
“Plunder is about the amassing of ill-gotten wealth on the part of the accused. Our client [Luy] is not the accused here. In the interest of fairness and due process, we will file a Motion to Quash,” Antero told the anti-graft court.
“We will also be filing Motion to Quash, Your Honors, because he [Luy] is not the one accused here. The defense is just fishing [for evidence],” prosecutor Joefferson Torribio added.
Representatives were sent by Banco de Oro (BDO), Metrobank, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) and they were all adamant in opposing the subpoena for Luy’s bank records.
“While we are here to comply with the subpoena, we will file a Motion to Quash because the subpoena is very broad, Your Honors. It asks about the bank history [of our client]. We want to know first what these specific documents are, covering a certain period, that would be relevant to the case,” lawyer Brian San Juan of Metrobank pointed out.
San Juan’s stance was adopted by the representatives of BDO, UCPB and BPI, who said they need a more particular description of the documents that Napoles’ camp wants to unearth.
Napoles’ lawyer, Stephen David, argued that Luy’s records should be opened in the interest of truth because Luy himself has admitted to being the financial officer of Napoles’ JLN Corporation or bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) or both.
“We want to know where the PDAF went,” David said, referring to lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel that was allegedly pocketed by Napoles and the three senators.
The bank executives asked David to identify the bank documents that would point to PDAF transactions but David failed to answer the question.
“To be candid about it, we don’t know the documents but we are sure there is something in the bank records or Mr. Luy,” David said.
The Sandiganbayan’s First Division has given the camps of Luy, the prosecution and the banks to file their Motions to Quash the subpoena and their corresponding comments.
Napoles’ camp was granted three days as it requested to file a comment on the Motions to Quash.
Luy, a second cousin of Napoles, also on Thursday testified at a hearing on a motion for bail of Revilla.
During the hearing, the prosecution refused to take short cuts in nailing those charged in the P224-million plunder case involving Revilla, his former aide Richard Cambe and alleged co-conspirators Napoles and Ronald Lim, who remains at large, during a hearing on Revilla’s motion for bail.
Torribio’s questioning of Luy dragged for two hours, quizzing the whistleblower on, among other matters, how Napoles established the fictitious NGOs and how Napoles’ maids, drivers and security guards were made presidents of the bogus NGOs.