Luy's digital files now with Senate panel

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) submitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee on Wednesday the compressed files of principal pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.

In an interview, Senate Blue Ribbon chairman Teofisto Guingona III said Luy's files, which is 31,700 pages long, will be reproduced and distributed first to the members of the panel.

"We will evaluate, consolidate and analyze the document. After that, we will have to consult members of the Blue Ribbon, then we will furnish the public via the media copies of the disk," Guingona told reporters.

At the same time, Guingona confirmed they will verify the "red book" that was mentioned by Luy's former legal counsel, Levito Baligod, if it is real and if it really does exist.

Baligod reportedly claimed that the files detail the daily financial transactions of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles, including the names of lawmakers and officials she gave kickbacks to.

The "red book," according to a report, will be an additional information that will help the Senate body in its investigation.

Ronald Aguto, chief of the NBI cybercrime division, said they conducted a forensic examination and was able to detect that some of the files had been deleted.

"Software NK ang ginamit namin pang examine ng mga laman. Dito namin na retrieve yung mga deleted names and files. We have this word opener to examine the hard drive and we were able to retrieve the names of those that have been deleted," Aguto said.

NBI Director Virgilio Mendez said everything is sealed to make sure that the possibility of tampering will never happen.

Both Mendez and Aguto assured that Luy’s hard drive was not modified.
The NBI said Luy submitted the files last year as part of the bureau’s probe into the scam.

The committee is investigating the scheme that involves siphoning off pork barrel funds to Napoles’ bogus non-governmental organizations. Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile, and Napoles face plunder charges over the scam.

Napoles mentioned in her list several names of senators, past and present, and other lawmakers and government officials who had transactions with her.

Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Aquilino Pimentel III acknowledged some of the facts provided by Napoles in her two sets of affidavits now in possession of the Senate blue ribbon committee, even as they maintained that they never had any actual dealings with her concerning the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations.

Marcos admitted to having Catherine May Santos as a consultant in committees where he served as chairman since January 2011 until last year and was fired by him after she failed to deliver the required annual report.

"It would seem (that she has had transactions). I was not aware that this was what she does," he said.

As a consultant, Marcos said Santos offered her services in providing projects, mostly from the Department of Agriculture (DA), some of which involved his PDAF.

“That was ostensibly her role. We are still looking at the documents that she was involved in and that’s why there are problems,” he said, referring to Santos’ failure to submit a year-end report to Marcos, despite several verbal and written requests, prompting him to terminate her consultancy services on March 21, 2013.

Santos was identified by Napoles to have allegedly acted as agent of three other lawmakers – Senator Loren Legarda and Representatives Benjamin Agarao and Marcelino Libanan.

Legarda dismissed Napoles’ allegations, stressing that she has been judiciously allocating her PDAF to accredited government agencies and local government units as prescribed by law and never endorsed any non-government organization for her projects.

Pimentel and Senator Cynthia Villar are now mulling slapping Napoles with perjury among other charges for including them in her affidavits.

Pimentel, in another interview, vowed to make Napoles “pay the price” for implicating him and his father, former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., in her alleged scheme while insisting on both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman not to even consider her as a state witness or even spare from prosecution Napoles’ children -- James Christopher and Jo Christine.

“As far as I’m concerned, her entries are lies. I have personal knowledge of her lies, so maybe they should take this into account because one of the requirements for being a state witness is thou shall not lie,” he said.

Pimentel noted that Napoles only mentioned him and his father briefly in her affidavits and did not provide any supporting documents, attachments or annexes while also indicating that she has no personal knowledge about them.

“I hope I can subject Napoles in a cross examination if she will appear here in the Senate before the Blue Ribbon committee,” he said. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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