Luy has bank transactions linking lawmakers: lawyer
Pork barrel scam 'bagman' willing to testify, says Baligod
MANILA – A lawyer of the whistle-blowers in the pork barrel scam on Thursday said a driver who claimed to have personally delivered government funds to houses of legislators has expressed willingness to serve as witness.
Lawyer Levito Baligod said he met the man, a former driver of Janet Lim Napoles - the businesswoman at the center of the P10 billion pork barrel scam - in the safehouse of the whistle-blowers.
Baligod said the driver admitted he used to deliver money to the houses of several lawmakers, but the latter has yet to submit a sworn statement to formalize his status as a witness.
"The former Napoles employee said he can describe the houses where he brought them," Baligod told radio dzMM, adding that the potential witness now fears for his and his family's lives.
"He said he is willing to submit a statement but he has to go back to his relatives in the province to guarantee their safety," Baligod added.
Baligod said there are currently 10 whistle-blowers on the pork barrel scam, including primary whistle-blower Benhur Luy who accused Napoles of setting up fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to pocket pork barrel funds from certain lawmakers, who in turn allegedly got huge cuts from the deal with the businesswoman.
Strong documentary evidence
Baligod said if the whistle-blowers' testimonies are not enough, they also have at their disposal several documents that will prove that certain lawmakers received funds from the fake NGOs.
According to Baligod, Luy still possesses soft copies of files detailing the transactions between the bank accounts of the fake NGOs and some lawmakers.
"He (Luy) monitored the inflow and outflow of money in the bank accounts of these foundations," Baligod said, noting that a bank inquiry is now being conducted to confirm if Luy's records match those of the banks.
Baligod said the bank inquiry began after the Court of Appeals ordered the freezing of Napoles' assets.
He said the "properties" of the files' soft copies also indicate the date when they were made. He said this is to prove that the files, some of which date back to as early as 2003, were not just made up.
Baligod said the collection of files is one of the reasons why Luy was detained by Napoles. He said Luy's laptop computer was confiscated by Napoles but the latter did not know that the whistle-blower was able to create duplicate copies of the important files in it.
The court recently ordered the arrest of Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim in connection with the alleged illegal detention. This prompted the two to go in hiding.
Napoles surrendered to President Aquino on Wednesday evening, while her brother remains at large. As of posting, Napoles was still at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame.
The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 has released a commitment order stating that Napoles should be detained at a regular jail in Makati since it is within its jurisdiction.
A case has yet to be filed against Napoles involving the alleged misuse of the pork barrel funds. The government, through the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAGCC), has launched a probe into the scam.
Baligod, meanwhile, said Napoles can be turned into a state witness only if she proves that she was only used by other people in the scam.
The lawyer, however, said current circumstances suggest that Napoles cannot be turned into a state witness yet since she appears to be the most guilty.
"There is a legal question on that matter because you cannot be considered a state witness if you are the principal by direct participation," he said.