Government drops qualified theft case vs Luy

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

GOVERNMENT prosecutors recently asked a Pasig City judge to dismiss the qualified theft case filed by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles against main whistleblower Benhur Luy.

Judge Maria Gracia Cadiz-Casaclang of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court branch 155, however, did not immediately grant the Department of Justice's (DOJ) motion to withdraw information as she reset Luy's arraignment from Thursday to August 20.

The postponement is without prejudice to the resolution of the motion.

Casaclang then directed Napoles' lawyers to comment on the motion within 15 days.

The court also gave Luy 15 days to respond to Napoles' comment.

Case records showed the Pasig Prosecutor's Office on June 25, 2013 released a resolution backing Napoles' allegation that he stole P300,000 which the businesswoman asked to be deposited in her bank account on December 18, 2012.

Luy, Napoles' estranged personal assistant, filed a motion for reconsideration in July last year but the Pasig prosecutor inhibited from the complaint and forwarded it to the Office of the Prosecutor General for resolution.

In his defense, Luy presented an affidavit of Napoles' former employee Mary Arlene Baltazar, who said she was asked by Napoles to find documents that could be used against him.

Such instructions were apparently given after Luy was rescued by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents from his detention at Napoles' condominium unit on March 22, 2013, the DOJ said in a resolution dated April 28.

The DOJ was not convinced that Luy actually got the amount from Napoles.
It also found suspicious why the complaint was only filed four months after the alleged incident took place.

"It appears that complainant Napoles instituted the instant case as a leverage against respondent Luy, as the latter filed his own complaint for serious illegal detention against her," the resolution stated.

The DOJ also hit the businesswoman for manipulating legal processes to harass Luy, "and in the process, make him answer for a non-bailable offense."

"The undersigned, and this Office, can never countenance such blatant and deliberate bastardization of the law," said Assistant State Prosecutor Mark Roland Estepa.

Napoles, currently in hospital detention for the serious illegal detention case, allegedly set up fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to pocket the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of some lawmakers.

She is facing plunder charges, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., before the Office of the Ombudsman. (Sunnex)

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