MANILA - Too many cooks spoil the broth. A difference in strategy led to Lorna Kapunan's decision to leave the legal team of Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
Speaking to [email protected], Kapunan said she resigned out of her own free will after Napoles decided to choose the legal strategy of Atty. Freddie Villamor over her own.
Napoles is currently detained for a serious illegal detention case filed by former aide and now pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
"We resigned out of our own free will. At the start of the engagement, we did say two things. One is we have full control of strategy in this case as lead counsel and second, that she would tell the truth in due course at the right forum," Kapunan said.
The lawyer said she represented Mrs. Napoles in all but the last two bail hearings. She noted that her firm was ready to debunk Luy's testimony, which, she said, was riddled with "inaccuracies and half-truths and in some portions, even fabrications."
However, she said Villamor did not agree with her strategy since Napoles wanted to be freed as soon as possible. She said Villamor's camp was hoping that Napoles would be freed before All Saints' Day so that the businesswoman could visit her mother at the family mausoleum in Heritage Park.
She also said Villamor was the in-house counsel of JLN Group and was more familiar with its operations.
"This is not a disagreement with our client nor is it an attempt to belittle the efforts of the other law firm," she said.
"The serious illegal detention case was a test case of how too many cooks spoil the broth or how you only need one conductor to conduct a symphony or an orchestra. I think this is where a major decision or strategy on how to handle the litigation side of the serious illegal detention case brought about a breaking away from the Napoles camp," she added.
In the interview, Kapunan said she was retained by Mrs. Napoles as counsel upon the request of Bishop Julio Labayen, founder of Alagad ni Maria Foundation.
She also denied that she had abandoned her client since it was Napoles who made the decision.
Kapunan rejected allegations that she only took on Napoles as a client because of the money, and that she dropped her because the latter could no longer afford her fee.
"I am going to be a hypocrite if I say I don’t care. I care because it demeans the legal profession. I don’t care when people say I have new bags. I am going to show you my attic. Things I really don’t need, I have many of them but I care because to say that not only of me but of the legal profession to say that it is money that compels us or inspires us or moves to accept the case is to demean the legal profession. Not only the legal profession but the administration of justice in this country," she said
"I may have unnecessary vices but man, that’s how I ventilate my anger. I may go retail therapy but that has nothing to do with a Napoles and how much clients like her can pay me. I should remind the public that I have handled many pro bono cases and winning them despite the uphill battle."
"In the case of Napoles, I am hoping that the lawyers who will continue to handle her will hold her to her promise to me when she started this case that she will come out to tell the truth.