SolGen comment good for Napoles PDAF cases – lawyer
MANILA, Philippines – Stephen David, lawyer for alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles, said the Solicitor General's comment on her serious illegal detention case will have a positive effect on the pork barrel cases against his client before the Sandiganbayan.
Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a comment before the Court of Appeals (CA) saying that the Makati court erred in convicting Napoles for serious illegal detention. In his manifestation in lieu of a rejoinder, Calida repeated Napoles' arguments during the trial.
David and his client Napoles were in the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday, March 15, supposedly for an arraignment in connection with a case involving former Davao del Norte Representative Arrel Olaño and his misuse of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
As it turned out, the arraignment was uncalendared. Staff from the 2nd division said the arraignment had to be deferred because of reorganization, following the appointment of the division's Justice Samuel Martires to the Supreme Court (SC).
"Malaking bagay 'yun, kasi kung ang kredibilidad ni Benhur, tatamaan yun. Kasi kung ang sinabi niyang kinidnap siya at dinetain e kasinungalingan naman ‘yun e. Kung kaya niyang magsinungaling sa mga ganun katinding pangyayari, e paano natin paniniwalaan ‘yung mga statements niya sa Sandiganbayan?" David said.
(For me, that's a big thing, because Benhur Luy's credibility will be questioned. If Benhur lied about being kidnapped and detained, and if he could lie about such serious events, how could we believe his statements before the Sandiganbayan?)
Benhur Luy accused Napoles of holding him hostage inside a retreat house and then later at a condominium unit to keep him from exposing the pork barrel scam. Luy is now the star witness in the scandal that has put two senators in jail.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), quoting legal experts, said the point of the manifestation might have been to cast doubt on Luy's credibility as a witness in the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
Calida evaded that question in a news conference on February 17, saying his comment was merely an opinion.
A modus vivendi is an agreement between two parties, either to settle or to bargain. Calida had maintained there is no deal being forged with Napoles.
David on Wednesday said: "Wala akong alam e, may deal ba? Wala akong alam." (I don't know anything. Is there a deal? I don't know anything.)
David was previously linked to Duterte, being a staunch supporter of the President. He has been sighted in Malacañang events. His wife, lawyer Lanee Cui-David was appointed to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) by Duterte as a deputy commissioner.
Napoles' daughter Jeane has a tax case pending before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA).
Asked about his links to Duterte, David merely asked, "How could that happen?" before laughing and walking away. – Rappler.com