Pork barrel fund scam whistleblower Benhur Luy on Friday said the Napoleses convinced a Catholic priest to confine him in a retreat house for his own protection because “senators and mayors” were after him.
Luy, the last witness to be presented by the prosecution in the bail hearing of alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, recounted how he was detained by Napoles and her brother and co-accused, Reynald “Jojo” Lim.
During direct examination of the prosecutors, Luy told Makati Regional Trial Court branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda that Lim brought him to a retreat house, the Bahay San Jose, at 52 Lapu-Lapu Street, Magallanes Village, Makati City on the night of December 20 after being held in an office at Discovery Suites.
He said the house, which was bought by Napoles in 2010, was being used by a group of priests.
When they arrived at the house, they were welcomed by a certain Monsignor Josefino Ramirez, whom Luy described as the Napoleses’ family friend.
Before Ramirez showed up, Luy said Lim told him to keep his mouth shut.
“Don’t say anything. You know there’s a place for you. Isn’t it you love your family?” Luy said, recounting Lim’s words.
Luy said Lim informed Ramirez he will be staying at the retreat house because mayors and senators were after Luy.
He said Lim explained to Ramirez that if “the politician’s men barged into the retreat house, they will not touch Luy because the monsignor and some priests reside there.”
Luy said he was brought to what resembled a small chapel, across from the monsignor’s room.
The witness broke down in tears several times while retelling how the Napoleses threatened to harm him and his mother, Gertrudes, if he did not remain silent.
Before he was brought to the retreat house, Luy was held at the office of JLN Group of Companies in Discovery Suites, Pasig City on December 19, 2012.
He said the Napoleses suspected him of having secret dealings with the staff of some senators.
Luy said Lim showed him cellphone pictures of his mother while saying “Di ba mahal mo ang nanay mo (Don’t you love your mother)?”
He said Napoles ordered him detained after she discovered that he had been receiving text messages from a certain Maya Santos, an alleged project coordinator for some senators.
“You animal. Even the PDAF of Ungab, you have stolen,” Luy quoted Napoles as saying. Ungab is a congressman from third district of Davao City.
Luy said Lim even hit him and told him that he was ready to kill for his sister since he was already a convicted criminal.
Luy said Lim also instructed him to write a letter apologizing to Napoles.
Luy said Alfredo Villamor, legal counsel of JLN Corporation and Napoles’ defense lawyer, told him that his cousin wanted him jailed due to his transactions.
He said he also met William, Napoles’ older brother, and pleaded to help him explain his side to Napoles.
Luy arrived in the courtroom flanked by security men from the Department of Justice Witness Protection Program.