Priest vs Luy did not write own affidavit: Baligod
MANILA - A priest who said pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy was not detained in a Magallanes Village retreat house did not prepare the affidavit that he submitted to the court, lawyer Levito Baligod said Thursday.
Baligod, lawyer of the pork scam whistle-blower, said Fr. Peter Edward Lavin admitted under cross-examination that he only met Luy a few times to say hello and that he often saw Luy from a distance.
Asked why Lavin would describe Luy as a drug addict in his affidavit, he said the priest admitted: "hindi naman ako ang nag-prepare ng affidavit na yan."
Lavin said he merely signed the affidavit prepared by Alfredo Villamor, defense counsel of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, Baligod said.
Lavin testified on Wednesday during the continuation of the bail hearing of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles before the Makati regional trial court branch 150.
Luy is suing Napoles and her brother, Reynaldo Lim, for serious illegal detention after allegedly detaining him for 3 months.
In his testimony, Lavin said he celebrated Mass at the Heritage Park in Taguig for the birthday of Napoles' late mother, Magdalena, on December 20, 2012 when he was approached by Lim.
“After the Mass, Reynald approached me and told me that Benhur wanted a spiritual retreat for drug addiction and anomalies for a loan that the company was not aware of,” he said.
Lavin told the court that he offered a retreat house adjacent to the Alagad ni Maria Seminary in Antipolo and to act as Luy’s spiritual adviser during the retreat.
However, Luy did not appear at the Antipolo retreat house, he added.
Lavin said he later learned that Luy had chosen to go to the Bahay ni San Jose at 52 Lapu-Lapu St. in Magallanes Village with Monsignor Josefino Ramirez as his retreat master.
Lavin said he saw Luy last Dec. 26 praying while walking in the garden at that house.
In another visit, he again saw Luy praying at the chapel in that house and later talking with someone on a mobile phone, he added.
Lavin said he was not aware that Luy was being held against his will as they would greet each other whenever he would visit the Magallanes house.
He visited the Magallanes house six times since Dec. 26, 2012, he added.
Priest is JLN director
Baligod said the defense failed to present other priests who could testify that Luy was not held against his will while allegedly undergoing a spiritual retreat.
He said Lavin was silent when asked if he had been receiving a stipend from Mrs. Napoles.
He also noted that Lavin could not answer why he was made a director of JLN Corp. of Napoles.
"To become a director, you have to be a stockholder," he said.
The lawyer said his camp is now busy preparing charges against other legislators who have been linked to the pork barrel scam. The Department of Justice earlier filed plunder, graft, malversation and bribery charges against 38 people including Napoles and 3 senators for their alleged roles in the pork barrel scam. With Philippine Star