Luy cleared in qualified theft case

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

THE camp of pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy said Thursday they can now fully focus on prosecuting individuals linked to the scam after a Pasig City court junked the qualified theft case against him.

In a statement, Luy's lawyer Raji Mendoza lauded Judge Maria Gracia Cadiz-Casaclang of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 155 for dismissing the case, saying businesswoman Janet Napoles went to court to get back at his client.

"This case was filed after about four months after it happened and the crux of the decision is that there was not an iota of evidence showing that Benhur received the alleged missing P300,000. We can now focus on the cases against Napoles," Mendoza said.

Casaclang granted on Wednesday the motion to withdraw information filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), which reversed the resolution issued on June 25, 2013 by a Pasig prosecutor that found probable cause to charge Luy for allegedly stealing P300,000 from Napoles.

The money was supposed to be deposited in her bank account on December 18, 2012.

Luy denied pocketing her former boss' money as he accused of Napoles of harassing him after he filed a serious illegal detention case against the businesswoman and her brother Reynald Lim last year.

The scam's principal witness was allegedly kept against his will from December 20, 2012 until his rescue by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents on March 22, 2013 due to his knowledge of Napoles' racket of siphoning off multi-billion peso pork barrel allocations through ghost projects of her bogus foundations.

"In view of the fact that the complaint for qualified theft was filed against Luy only after the latter irritated a criminal case (serious illegal detention) against private complainant, the court cannot help but consider the allegations of Napoles as self-serving," the Court said.

Napoles also has no evidence to prove that Luy actually took P300,000 and that her statements "are too improbable and contrary to common sense and experience to be worthy of credence."

"[A] businessperson such as Napoles would forget that she had placed such significant amount of money in a bag and not recall where the same was sourced," the decision stated.

The businesswoman is currently detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna while undergoing trial for serious illegal detention at the Makati City RTC branch 150 and plunder and graft at the Sandiganbayan. (Sunnex)

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