2 pork scammers behind 'smear all' tack - Baligod

by David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 20 2014 02:17 PM | Updated as of May 21 2014 09:06 AM

 

MANILA - The former lawyer of pork barrel scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy on Tuesday said at least 2 people linked to the scam are deliberately spreading misinformation to derail the investigation.

"Malinaw na may nanggugulo. Gusto nila na, nabahiran sila, dapat lahat mabahiran na. Noon pa, they are trying to secure a political solution to a legal problem. Lahat ng pwede nilang makalaban ay damay na rin," Levito Baligod told radio dzMM.

He also said not all the legislators and personalities who have been named were involved in the pork barrel scam.

Baligod said he cannot vouch for the information serialized by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) on the pork barrel scam, which is allegedly based on Luy's own digital records.

This is despite confirming that he and Luy's family allowed the PDI to copy Luy's files when they sought the newspaper's help to expose the pork barrel scam.

"What I understand is PDI is just summarizing what is in the hard disk drive but they are not saying if it is true or not...I cannot explain or say if it is true or not. It is PDI that can say if what they are publishing is a faithful reproduction of Benhur's files," he said.

"Hindi lahat ng lumalabas na pangalan ay guilty. Hindi accurate yan. Let us leave the Department of Justice and Ombudsman to do their jobs," he said, adding that the DOJ only files cases against those whose guilt can be established through evidence.

Luy, the former bookkeeper of JLN Group of Companies, was the first to expose the alleged pork barrel scam, which allegedly saw billions of pesos in priority development assistance funds (PDAF) being funneled to NGOs of Janet Lim Napoles.

At least P2 billion in PDAF allegedly went to Napoles NGOs from 2007-2009, according to the Commission on Audit.

Napoles, a relative of Luy, is facing a charge of serious illegal detention for allegedly holding Luy against his will when he threatened to expose the scam.

Baligod said he and the Luy family first approached the PDI in March 2013 to ask for help to expose the Napoles scam. At that time, Luy was still being held against his will by Napoles.

Baligod said they chose to go to the major broadsheet since many powerful politicians were being implicated in the scam.

He said he allowed the PDI to copy Luy's hard drive, with the permission of Luy's parents. He denied a statement from Luy's new lawyer, Lourdes Benipayo, that the pork scam whistle-blower did not give permission for PDI to copy his files.

Benipayo has said the hard disk was allegedly turned over to Baligod for safekeeping only.

"It is true that it is not Benhur who gave the list and he is not the one who gave the documents to PDI but when he was freed by Napoles, he agreed to giving out the information," Baligod said.

"Benipayo cannot say that Benhur did not give permission to release the files because I was the one who was representing Benhur at that time," he added.

Baligod agreed that it is only Luy who can explain each entry in his daily financial records. He said some of the entries in Luy's include financial transactions such as purchases of grapes and orders for McDonald's take-out.

He noted that the files go as far back as 2004 and included drafts of memoranda of agreement, letter-endorsements and project proposals, numbering to about 3,000-4,000 pages.

The lawyer said he printed out Luy's files for the years 2007-2009, which he turned over the Department of Justice, as part of the letter-complaint he submitted on March 8, 2013.

He said the letter-complaint included the names of legislators and the alleged transactions linking them to the scam. He said the DOJ has never released that initial list attached to the March 8 letter-complaint.

'NOT FOR SALE'

In the interview, Baligod denied that he was allegedly paid to sell Luy's files.

He also pointed out that before the filing of the first batch of cases in the pork barrel scam, the DOJ made sure that there was enough evidence linking the legislator to the scam including personal knowledge by the whistleblowers that pork barrel kickbacks were delivered.

"If the whistleblowers have personal knowledge, the National Bureau of Investigation has to validate if the transaction has connections with PDAF and there has to be a liquidation document. If the evidence is complete and if DOJ believes it is strong enough, then the case is filed," he said.

Baligod said at least two people being linked to the scam are deliberately spreading misinformation to derail the investigation.

"Malinaw na may nanggugulo. Gusto nila na, nabahiran sila dapat lahat mabahiran na. Noon pa, they are trying to secure a political solution to a legal problem. Lahat ng pwede nilang makalaban ay damay na rin," he said.