THE prosecution panel is set to present its last and vital witness, pork barrel fund scam whistleblower Benhur Luy, when the hearing on the bail petition of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles resumes next week.
According to Prosecution panel head Christopher Garvida, Luy will be testifying on how he was illegally detained by Napoles and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim.
Both Napoles and Lim are facing serious illegal detention charges filed against them by Luy for allegedly detaining him for three months.
According to the earlier testimonies of the prosecution panel’s other witnesses, Luy was illegally kept by the Napoleses because of secretly dealing with the chief of staff of some lawmakers.
The last witness presented by the prosecution before the Makati City Regional Trial (RTC) Court Branch 150 was the whistleblower’s mother Gertrudes.
In taking the stand, Gertrudes told the sala of Judge Elmo Alameda that Napoles and Lim detained her son at their office in Discovery Suite in Ortigas Pasig City.
She also said that in several instances, Lim confronted her son about the alleged “illegal transactions” the latter was doing while being employed at the Janet Lim Napoles (JLN) Corp.
Gertrudes said she met Benhur three times before agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) rescued him at the Pacific Plaza condominium in Taguig last March 22.
In those three meetings with Benhur, she added, Lim was always present and would talk about Benhur’s alleged involvement in an illegal project and undelivered transactions.
Lim, she added, threatened them that something will happen to them and Benhur, if they will report to authorities about the detention of her son.
“He [Lim] told me that we should not report it to the authorities because they have control of the government,” a weeping Gertrudes said in Filipino.
For its part, the defense panel led by lawyer Lorna Kapunan will confront Luy with his letter stating that he was not detained against his will by the Napoleses and that he just underwent spiritual retreat.
Defense lawyer Alfredo Villamor said they will be presenting the original letter when Benhur takes the witness stand on Oct. 25.
Alameda has directed the defense panel to present their pieces of evidence on October 29 and 30.
Kapunan said that they intend to present a closed circuit television (CCTV) clip from the Pacific Plaza condominium and Benhur’s diary which will prove that the latter was not held against his will. RITCHIE A. HORARIO