Luy removes Baligod as legal counsel

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

MAIN pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy has let go of Levito Baligod as his legal counsel, saying the lawyer had no time to guide him.

In a letter released by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday, Luy thanked Baligod for his time and effort in representing him in his legal battles since the scam broke out in July last year.

"However, I have noticed you were very busy with your other advocacies. That is why I have decided to pursue this journey even without you guiding me. It will not be easy though but this will mutually benefit us in the end," Luy said on Monday.

Baligod could not be reached for comment.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima respected Luy's decision to drop Baligod, adding the whistleblower has already tapped three or four "young" lawyers to argue for the complaints against businesswoman Janet Napoles, lawmakers and other government officials pending before the Office of the Ombudsman.

"As you know, attorney-client relationship is a privileged mater and it is based primarily on trust and confidence, and, therefore, it's the prerogative of the client to change his counsel," she told reporters.

She said the development will not affect the prosecution of charges on the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Malampaya gas fund since Luy is the witness anyway.

Baligod is also the lawyer of another whistleblower Merlina Suñas, former coordinator of Napoles' JLN Corp., which used fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to corner PDAF allocations of lawmakers including Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. (Sunnex)

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