Businesswoman's illegal detention case pits NBI vs. DOJ

A case of a businesswoman accused of illegally detaining a possible witness in a government anomaly has pitted the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against the agency that supervises it, the Department of Justice (DOJ).

This was after the NBI asked the DOJ to reverse its decision clearing Janet Lim-Napoles, who is linked to the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, for the alleged illegal detention of Benhur Luy, a probable witness in the case.

In a 16-page motion for reconsideration he personally filed with the DOJ, NBI director Nonnatus Rojas questioned why the prosecutors gave more weight on a supposed letter from Luy to his parents saying that he was not taken against his will.

"The letter is not a document which was made under oath. Assuming that the letter should be made admissible, the same does not bear any exculpatory nature as to relieve the respondents of their guilt for the felony of serious illegal detention nor is it fatal to the complaint against them," Rojas argued.

But in its resolution, the DOJ said that contrary to Luy's family's claim in their complaint, the victim's letter did not say he was being taken against his will.

The NBI has charged Napoles and her brother Reynaldo Lim for the alleged illegal detention of Luy, lead employee of JLN Group of Companies, which has been linked to several anomalies involving government projects.

"The categorical statements made by Benhur should therefore prevail over the bare assertions of respondents... Without a doubt, the respondents committed the felony of serious illegal detention," the NBI said in its motion.

In a March 1 letter to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Luy's relatives asked the government's help in ensuring his safety. They claimed Luy was illegally detained by the siblings "to ensure that nobody can directly implicate (the siblings) with the ongoing issues on the fertilizer fund scam, Malampaya fund scam, and anomalies in the implementation of several PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund)-funded projects."

NBI agents arrested Napoles last March 22 at the Pacific Plaza Tower in Taguig City. The operation also resulted in the rescue of Luy, who was detained for three months in a condominium unit in Taguig City.

After his arrest, Napoles complained of chest pains and has since been confined at the St. Luke's Medical Center in Taguig City.

In their complaint, Luy's family claimed they were only allowed by the suspects to see and visit Luy twice since he was "abducted" on Dec. 19, 2012. It was during the second visit that Luy "surreptitiously handed his hand-written note indicating that he is being detained against his will."

Luy, his relatives, as well as the NBI agents involved in the rescue operations, were earlier asked to attend the DOJ preliminary investigation.

On June 10, the DOJ eventually decided to dismiss the case, saying the DOJ was misled in ordering the "rescue" of Luy.

"Had the Secretary of Justice who, with speedy dispatch on March 22, 2013 ordered the NBI to rescue Benhur and investigate, only seen the above-quoted letter, she and the NBI might not have been misled and this preliminary investigation would not have even been commenced,” said the DOJ in its resolution.

Lim was subsequently released from hospital confinement due to the DOJ ruling.

Funding for the fertilizer program was released by virtue of Republic Act 9206 or the General Appropriations Act of 2004. It was the Department of Budget and Management that released P728 million to the DA under Special Allotment Release Order (SARO).

The fund was supposed to have been released to 181 beneficiaries composed of congressional districts, provinces, and municipalities.

The fund, however, was allegedly diverted to the campaign kitty of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 presidential polls instead of being distributed to the farmer- beneficiaries.

According to the Commission on Audit, 76 of the 181 beneficiaries did not receive their shares of the fund, while at least 18 non-beneficiaries received funding. — KBK, GMA News

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. In a brief despatch, North Korea's official KCNA news …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options