• Ombudsman intimidating ‘pork’ witnesses – defense


    DEFENSE lawyer Stephen David on Thursday accused an Office of the Ombudsman prosecutor of threatening former employees of Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of P10-billion pork barrel scam, with numerous criminal charges should they refuse to testify and cooperate with government prosecutors in connection with the P900-million Malampaya fund scam.

    David claimed that lawyer Ryan Medrano of the Field Investigation Office has been harassing the former employees of Napoles to testify for the government in the P900-million Malampaya fund scam, threatening that they will face charges in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Malampaya scams if they will not cooperate.

    He identified the employees as Rodrigo Galay, Evelyn de Leon, John Raymond de Asis and Eulogio Rodriguez.

    The gas fund is government money sourced from payments of oil companies Caltex and Shell for extracting natural gas in Malampaya oil field in Palawan province.

    The law mandates that the fund should be used to finance energy resource development and exploitation, as well as other energy-related programs and projects of the government as may be directed by the President.

    David, in conducting a cross-examination on Medrano on Thursday during continuation of the bail hearing for Napoles before the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division, claimed that the government prosecutors were trying to convince witnesses through threats and intimidation.

    He alleged that the Office of the Ombudsman prepared affidavits “peppered with lies” for Galay and the others to sign.

    “They were subpoenaed [by the Office of the Ombudsman]. These are the people that Benhur [Luy] had told the prosecutors to reach out and get statements from to support the government’s position and affirm the accounts of Benhur,” David said.

    “They want to be witnesses for the government. But these people don’t want to tell lies. They were offered immunity. They want immunity, but they don’t want to lie,” he pointed out.

    Medrano, however, denied David’s allegations, noting that the former employees came to their office voluntarily.

    The allegations came as the defense lawyers in the plunder case against Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. prepare to examine the external hard drive of witness Benhur Luy, as well as its image copy.

    The examination of the disc drive that reportedly contains disbursement reports of JLN Corp., came as prosecution witness Joey Narciso, a forensic examiner from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), completed his direct testimony on Luy’s external hard drive.

    The bail hearings are down to two witnesse—Narciso and a representative from the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

    In the same hearing, the camp of Napoles also raised the possibility that Luy may have benefited the most from the pork barrel scam.


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