Miriam, Drilon, Escudero not on Luy's records, lawyer says
MANILA - Some people are trying to sow confusion in the investigation and prosecution of those involved in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, a former lawyer of whistleblower Benhur Luy said Thursday.
In an interview on "Bandila," Atty. Levito Baligod said at least 6 so-called "pork scam lists" with the names of various government officials are making rounds.
He said President Benigno Aquino has seen at least two lists, former Senator Panfilo Lacson has one, while another one is with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Baligod said another alleged list is being touted by Sandra Cam while two daily newspapers reportedly got hold of their own lists.
"Pero iyung kaguluhan na iyan ay nasagot na nung lawyer mismo ni Ginang (Janet) Napoles kaninang umaga. Nagpatanong ako kung iyung 6 ba na iyun ay galing kay Mrs. Napoles o hindi. Ang sabi niya, 'Isa lang ang totoo diyan. Iyung isinubmit namin kay Secretary de Lima,'" Baligod said.
He said the so-called Napoles list earlier bared by Lacson may not have come from the businesswoman but her husband, retired Marine Major Jimmy Napoles.
Baligod also said Luy doesn't have a "list" of those who allegedly earned from the pork barrel scam, but rather, a database of records.
"Meron siyang daily financial transaction record na about 2,700 pages na naitala niya from 2004 to 2010," he said.'
'NAPOLES DIDN'T KEEP RECORDS'
"Si Benhur ay finance officer. Lahat ng transakyon ni Ginang Napoles, ng JLN Corp., at lahat ng NGOs, dumadaan kay Benhur. Si Ginang Napoles, hindi siya nagtatago ng record. Ang hirap naman na we will just rely on her memory," he added.
He said he didn't see the name of either Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Senate President Franklin Drilon, or Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Luy's database.
Baligod said Lacson, who linked Santiago to the pork barrel scam, may have committed an error.
He said he prepared an initial list himself based on Luy's records, but it doesn't match with Lacson's list. "Iyung prepared ko po na list ay validated by other supporting documents. Kung nakita po ni Senator Lacson iyung listahan na binigay ko sa DOJ, dapat ay hindi ganoon iyung representation dahil wala naman si Senator Santiago doon."
He, however, clarified that he focused his attention on Luy's records from 2007 to 2009, upon the instructions of the Department of Justice.
Baligod also said that even if a government official's name appeared on Luy's database, it still needed corroboration from other whistleblowers or documents.
"Ingat na ingat kami. Kahit nandoon iyung pangalan ng isang government official, it doesn't mean na involved siya sa PDAF scam," he said.
Baligod then apparently committed a slip of the tongue by mentioning Escudero as allegedly receiving P500,000 from Napoles but quickly clarified that the senator's name was not in Luy's records.
"Nabanggit ko ba si Senator Escudero? Merong sinasabi nga na ganoon, nabigyan siya. Iyung kay Senator Escudero, hindi nakalagay sa financial record ni Benhur pero mayroon kaming isang nakalagay na witness na kasama ni Ginang Napoles noon. Hindi namin alam kung ano iyung nature ng transaction noon," he said. "Wala po doon sa record ni Benhur na tinanggap or ibinalik."
Baligod said the name of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano appeared on Luy's records but no one among the whistleblowers saw him receive the money.
"Pero iyung isang senator din, halimbawa si Senator Cayetano. Nandoon din iyung pangalan niya, P630,000 plus ang diumano'y binigay sa kanya pero walang whistleblowers na nakakita na ibinigay kay Sen. Cayetano," he said. "Ang naka-reflect doon sa record ni Benhur Luy ay ibinalik iyung pera."
"Iyung ibang whistleblowers kasi, dahil empleyado sila ni Ginang Napoles ay nautusan sila na maghanda ng pera o mag-abot kaya nako-corroborate nila iyung isa't isa. Pero mayroon pong nakalagay na pangalan diyan, walang personal knowledge iyung whistleblowers," he added.
Baligod said aside from Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce-Enrile, and Bong Revilla, another sitting senator should have been included in the charge sheet for plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam, but evidence was not enough to pin down the official.
"Mayroon pang isang senator na dapat maisama sa 2007-2009 (pork barrel scam charges). Dapat 4 sana ang makasuhan," he said. "Pero nung tinatanong namin ang whistleblowers, walang nakakita sa kanila na binigyan o inabot iyung pera. So useless po na kasuhan namin dahil hindi naman namin mapapatunayan. "
He said he didn't see the name of Drilon on Luy's records, contrary to an allegation that the current Senate president got P5 million while he was still chairman of the Commission on Appointments.
Baligod said he saw the names of some journalists on Luy's records but declined to name them. "I think na it's unfair na banggitin ko iyung pangalan ng mga media people na ito whose names apper in the database of Benhur Luy."
"Medyo marami rin na media people. Meron TV and radio," he said.
Baligod said "yes" when asked if the number of journalists who allegedly received money from Napoles is around 10 or less.
He also firmly denied using the scandal just to extort money from government officials tagged in the scam.