Witness: Napoles ordered Benhur detained

Bea Cupin
A childhood friend of Benhur Luy recalls before the Makati court how, in a visit to JLN Corporation office, she overheard Janet Lim Napoles give instructions to 'detain' Luy

ALARMED BY AUDIT. Whistleblower Benhur Luy says he realized Napoles' operations were illegal when government auditors started checking on them. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – It was “Madame” herself who ordered Benhuy Luy detained. 

Disputing claims by the Napoles camp, Benhur Luy’s childhood friend told a Makati court on Friday, September 27, that Janet Lim Napoles, alleged brains of a multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam, ordered Luy’s detention. 

READ: Benhur was never detained

Napoles and her brother, Reynald “Jojo” Lim, face charges of serious illegal detention for allegedly putting aide-turned-whistleblower Luy under detention from December 2012 to March this year. Benhur was allegedly detained because he already knew too much about the pork barrel syndicate operations.

READ: ‘Madame Jenny’ Napoles, woman in the eye of a storm

According to Mariaflor Villanueva, a “close family friend” of Luy’s, she was at the office of JLN Corporation on the 25th floor of the Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig, on Dec 19, 2012, when she overheard Napoles order that someone be detained.

Ikuha ‘nyo nga ako ng isang kuwarto, ‘yung hindi siya makatakas kasi imbestigahan ko siya,” said Napoles. (Get me a room he can’t escape from because I need to investigate him.) 

Before overhearing Napoles, Villanueva was told that Luy was not on Napoles’ good side that day. 

Nasa loob si Benhur at sinasabon siya ng boss niya,” a man from JLN Corporation told her upon reaching the office at Discovery Suites. (Benhur is inside. His boss is scolding him.)

JLN Corporation is owned by Napoles. 

Visit to Discovery Suites

Villanueva said she was inside the main office of JLN Corporation — her first time there — because Luy had asked her to pick up his car from Discovery Suites and bring it to Eastwood in Quezon City.  

When she arrived at Discovery Suites, however, Benhur told her to wait because he was still in a meeting. Villanueva later got a call from a man who said he would meet her at the Discovery Suites lobby and bring her instead to the JLN office.

Napoles, who introduced herself as a JLN employee, met her when she arrived. Inside the conference room, Villanueva said she was flanked by Napoles and a John Lim. 

Napoles then told Villanueva to either come back later or wait downstairs for Luy. Napoles led her to the elevator and took 6 steps back, returning to the waiting area of JLN Corporation. It was then that Villanueva overheard Napoles order that someone be detained. 

Villanueva said she rushed to leave Discovery Suites, already worried over Luy.

The court hearings on Friday were held in relation to a bail petition filed by the Napoles camp. She is currently detained at Fort Sto Domingo in Sta Rosa, Laguna. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.