Miriam wants Baligod 'drawn and quartered'
MANILA - Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is mulling whether to seek the disbarment of lawyer Levito Baligod for allegedly making a list of lawmakers allegedly linked to the pork barrel scam based on the records made by his former client, Benhur Luy.
"It appears that Baligod, by his own admission, concocted the list and distributed it. It also appears that Luy dismissed Baligod and is now represented by lawyer Raji Mendoza. The incumbent lawyer has told media that Luy had nothing to do with the preparation of the so-called Luy list. If so, then Baligod should take full responsibility," the senator said in a statement.
Santiago criticized Baligod and his backers for allegedly linking her to the pork barrel scam of Janet Lim Napoles.
"If there is any justice in this world, Baligod and his backers should be drawn, quartered, and their severed heads hung from the highest Rizal Park flagpoles,” she said.
Santiago said that under the Penal Code, libel is defined as a public and malicious imputation of a crime (such as bribery) which tends to cause the dishonor and discredit of any person, and therefore Baligod is guilty of libel.
The senator also added that under the Rules of Court, any member of the bar maybe disbarred by the Supreme Court for “any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in public office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the lawyer’s oath, and therefore Baligod should be disbarred.”
The senator said Baligod and Mendoza should be called to the Senate hearing on the pork scam, together with their common client Luy, to settle the criminal responsibility for the Luy list.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer has published a list of lawmakers allegedly linked to the pork barrel scam of Janet Lim Napoles, based on the digital records of Luy. Inquirer said it obtained a copy of Luy's hard disk after Baligod and Luy's parents sought the help of PDI to expose the scam perpetrated by Napoles.
One of the lawmakers linked to the scam, based on the PDI report, is Santiago.
Baligod earlier told radio DZMM that he was able to sift through Luy's digital records when he was still Luy's lawyer.
He said he made separate lists based on the information, which was then verified by the pork scam whistle-blowers.
One list has the names of government officials who allegedly received cash from Napoles, which the whistle-blowers can prove because they personally gave the money or witnessed the transaction.
This list was submitted to the Department of Justice last year, Baligod said.
Another list, he said, showed lawmakers who allegedly transacted with Mrs. Napoles but that the transactions could not be proven by the whistle-blowers.
"Just because an official's name shows up in Benhur's files does not mean he was included in the list. We had to verify and validate with the whistle-blowers if they have personal knowledge of giving the kickbacks. If they have knowledge, then the official's name is included in the list," he said.