Published: Thu, September 12, 2013
In his testimony on Thursday before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Benhur Luy detailed how Janet Lim-Napoles, with some help from husband Jaime and two her children, ran the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, which involved several lawmakers who took money from her and even some ghost projects. Napoles, whom Luy described as "very influential" with a lot of connections, was, in his belief, the only mastermind of the scam, nobody else.
"Si Mrs. Napoles po ang boss ko. Kung may iba pa, pwedeng nagtuturo lang siya," Luy said.
Before Luy started his testimony, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima explained there would no names of those involved would be mentioned in the meantime to keep the probe from turning into a" political witch-hunt."
She also defended the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which has drawn flak from some critics for its apparent slow investigation into the pork controversy.
She said the NBI is just meticulous and careful in carrying out an investigation, adding that the matter is criminal in nature.
The NBI, she added, was now in the final stage of filing a case against those linked in the sca, before the Office of the Ombudsman.
She also asked for a five to 10 minute suspension of the proceedings for security purposes, saying that there was security threat on Luy.
Under questioning by Sen. Bam Aquino, Luy, who was accompanied by his counsel, Levito Baligod, said he had no inkling that what Napoles had been doing was in any way wrong, because there were papers and actual deliveries of items involved in the transaction.
Luy said he had been working with Napoles since 2002, when he was just 21 years old.
It was only in 2011, Luy said, that he realized there was something wrong, after the Commission on Audit released a report.
On fully realizing that Napoles's operations were illegal, he made a decision: "Sinabi ko, bahala na. I have to tell everything. Para sa taong bayan, gagawin ko yun."
He stressed: "Ako iyong biktima. Dummy lang ako dito na ginamit niya. Ang totoo, si Mrs. Napoles talaga."
At one point, De Lima gave a PowerPoint presentation showing the flow of funds between Napoles and the legislators involved.
Luy confirmed that the companies the legislators dealt with were chosen because Napoles had connections in them. These companies are National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC), Zamboanga del Norte Rubber Estate Corp. (ZREC), National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor), and Technology Resource Center (TRC).
Luy said a driver would bring a legislator's share of the money to his or her house and whoever received the money even signed a voucher in triplicate. So one copy was for the office, one for Napoles, and one for the receiver.
Sometimes it would the legislator who would receive the money or sometimes his chief of staff.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, asked Luy: "Kaya mo bang pangalanan kung sino yung mga tao na naakusap niyo?"
And Luy said: "Hindi po muna ngayon, sir."
He did confirm that there were indeed ghost projects that were funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).