Kapunan quits as Napoles' lawyer

By Kathlyn dela Cruz, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Oct 30 2013 12:23 PM | Updated as of Oct 31 2013 03:09 AM


Kapunan cites difference of opinion on strategy

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) -- Lawyer Lorna Kapunan has resigned as counsel for businesswoman Janet Napoles in the serious illegal detention case filed against her by pork scam whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

In an interview with radio dzMM Wednesday afternoon, Kapunan said Napoles and Atty. Freddie Villamor, who handled the case in the earlier preliminary investigation, have decided that Villamor will take over the case from now on.

The bail hearing of Napoles at the Makati City Regional Trial Court branch 150 was continued this morning. The case was being heard when Kapunan reportedly went out of the court room.

Kapunan said she has already informed the court that Villamor will now be the one to continue with the cross-examination and presentation of rebuttal evidence of Napoles to speed up the resolution of her petition for bail.

"Sapagkat concerned sila na tatagal pa ang hearing sa bail. Eh si Atty. Villamor na lang na siyang more familiar with the case ang magtutuloy ng kasong ito," Kapunan said.

She said Napoles, who is currently detained in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, wants to visit the tomb of her mother at the Heritage Park in Taguig City on November 1.

Kapunan also cited a "difference of opinion on strategy" as the reason behind her move to defer to Villamor.

"Hindi pwedeng may difference on opinion," she said.

"Mas mabilis kung isa lang ang handling lawyer," she added.

She said she is now on her way to Fort Sto. Domingo to meet with Napoles and secure the businesswoman's written conforme to her motion signifying her withdrawal as Napoles' counsel.

Kapunan said they will also talk about how Napoles "wants all of us lawyers to proceed with her cases," as well as her appearance before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on November 7.

No pressure

Meanwhile, she said pressure was not a factor in her decision to resign as Napoles' counsel in the illegal detention case.

"Pressure has never been a factor in our deciding whether to continue with a case or not," she said.

She also said the prosecution camp should not see her withdrawal as an indication of lack of merit of the case.

"Let the court judge ascertain the merits of the case," Kapunan said.

Kapunan earlier said she accepted Napoles as a client to get to the truth about the alleged controversy involving lawmakers' priority development assistance funds (PDAF). She said a person she trusts endorsed Napoles to her.

She also told ANC Headstart host Karen Davila that Napoles received threats from some politicians to stay silent about the scam.

She also said she is considering Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago's suggestion to avail of a procedure called "perpetuation of testimony" under the rules of court.

Under that procedure, Napoles' testimony will be given in writing outside of court, so it can be preserved for the trial even if something happens to her.

"Really, we were intending to do that precisely because of the real threats on her life," Kapunan said. With a report from Jun Lingcoran, dzMM