MANILA - The lawyer of pork barrel scam key whistleblower Benhur Luy confirmed that a copy of his digital files, which supposedly contain names of several individuals involved in the multibillion-peso scam, was given to The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) last year.
In a handwritten letter, Atty. Raji Mendoza said Luy's external hard drive was handed by his parents to his then lawyer, Atty. Levito Baligod, "for safekeeping."
Luy, at that time, was allegedly held against his will by Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
According to Mendoza, Luy's family, along with another whisleblower in the case, Merlina Suñas, and assisted by Baligod sought the aid of the major broadsheet on April 27, 2013 "in exposing the reason behind Benhur's illegal detention."
"On 27 April 2013 the family of Benhur Luy, together with Merlina Suñas and friends, assisted by their then counsel, Levito Baligod, sought the aid of PDI in exposing the reason behind Benhur's illegal detention, this being the alleged illicit use and abuse of public funds by Janet Lim Napoles and her cohorts," Mendoza said.
"Benhur further confirms the existence of his external hard drive which was at that time given to Atty. Baligod by Benhur's parents for safekeeping. On this occasion the contents of Benhur's hard drive were shared by Atty. Baligod with PDI to support the allegations against the Napoles group and PDI copied the same," he added.
He said during that time, there were imminent threats on Luy's life, and he needed to move incognito from one safe house to another with the protection of the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) Special Task Force.
The lawyer said when the "right time" comes, Luy will authenticate the PDI's copy of his digital files.
"Benhur is thankful the PDI has the fortitude in seeking the truth, the same resolve he shares. Given the right time, Benhur will authenticate PDI's copy of his database in their possession," he said.
Based on the supposed Luy list released by the PDI, 15 incumbent senators allegedly had transactions with Napoles.
They are Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Vicente "Tito" Sotto, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Gringo Honasan, Loren Legarda, Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Manuel "Lito" Lapid, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, Franklin Drilon, Ralph Recto and Alan Peter Cayetano.
Ten former senators were also named as among those who benefited from the anomaly. They are Edgardo Angara, Manny Villar, Tessie Oreta, Nene Pimentel, Rodolfo Biazon, Robert Jaworski, Robert Barbers, Loi Estrada, Ramon Magsaysay and Ramon Revilla Sr.
In an earlier interview, Mendoza had said Luy never authorized anyone to copy his data.
He had also refused to comment when asked if the names included in the list released by the major broadsheet were the same ones in Luy's digital files, noting that allegations must always be substantiated by evidence.
Baligod, for his part, had maintained that the contents of Luy's hard drive were copied by the PDI with the permission of Luy's parents.
Baligod said that while Luy was not present when the files were copied, he eventually agreed to giving out the information when he was freed by Napoles.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, meanwhile, has issued a subpoena on Luy's digital files. The subpoena is addressed to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the NBI.
De Lima and the NBI are given until May 28, Wednesday, to submit the files. -- With report from Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News