Priest testifies: Benhur Luy went on retreat for 'vices'
MANILA - A priest on Wednesday said pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy had "vices" and had stayed at a retreat house in Magallanes Village, Makati City.
Luy finished his testimony today on the circumstances behind his alleged detention at a retreat house located at 52 Lapu-Lapu Street, Magallanes Village.
Luy is suing Napoles and Reynaldo Lim for allegedly detaining him against his will for over 3 months.
The defense then presented their own witness, Father Peter Lavin, to prove that Luy was not held against his will.
Lavin, who belongs to the Alagad ni Maria retreat house in Antipolo, said he saw Luy in Magallanes during visits and greeted him a few times.
The priest shared that it was Reynaldo Lim, brother and co-accused of Napoles, who told him that Luy wanted to go on retreat for certain "vices."
Lavin said that he was also shown provocative photos of Luy, which seems to show him engaging in sexual acts with another man. This convinced him of the need for Luy to undergo a retreat, he said.
He, however, admitted Luy never made a request to him to stay at the retreat house.
In their cross-examination, the prosecution assailed Lavin's credibility by revealing that he was one of the stockholders of JLN corporation.
Lavin denied the charge but the prosecution said they will present documents before the court to prove the fact.
Lavin also admitted to receiving stipends from Napoles.
The priest said he is a regular concelebrant with Monsignor Josefino Ramirez during masses held at the office of JLN.
Kapunan a no-show
Atty. Lorna Kapunan did not appear before the court on Wednesday during the continuation of Napoles' bail hearing at the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150.
Instead, her co-counsel, Atty. Alfredo Villamor, led the defense during the proceedings.
Kapunan and her team appeared briefly during the bail hearing but left immediately after talking to the Judge Elmo Alameda.
Reports circulated late Wednesday morning that Katipunan had withdrawn as counsel of Napoles. However, Clerk of Court Atty. Diosefa Valencia clarified that they have not received any motion from Kapunan signifying the same.
Valencia said a formal motion is required, with the consent of the client, before the court recognizes the withdrawal of counsel.
"Nag-usap sila ni Judge kanina. Posibleng nag signify ng intent. Pero wala pa kaming nakatanggap na motion. Sa ngayon, andiyan pa naman si Atty. Villamor as co-counsel kaya patuloy pa rin ang proceedings," Valencia said.
Kapunan later confirmed that she has withdrawn as counsel for Napoles. She cited a "difference of opinion on strategy" with Villamor as her reason for quitting the Napoles defense.
"Hindi pwedeng may difference on opinion. Mas mabilis kung isa lang ang handling lawyer," she said.
Villamor has thus far refused to comment on the issue.