Makati court orders Napoles arrest

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A Makati court on Wednesday, August 14, ordered the arrest of Janet Lim-Napoles and her brother Reynaldo "Jojo" Lim over charges they illegally detained whistleblower Benhur Luy, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

The Department of Justice found evidence to pin down Napoles and her brother for serious illegal detention, a non-bailable crime, De Lima told reporters.

De Lima said the warrant was issued by Makati Regional Trial Court branch 150. She said National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents were on their way to serve the warrant, presumably at the Pacific Plaza Towers in Taguig, where Janet Napoles lives.

Probers investigated accusations by Benhur's parents (Arturo and Gertrudes Luy) and siblings (Arthur and Annabelle) that Benhur was detained by Napoles from December 2012 up to March 22, 2013, when he was rescued by NBI agents. He was rescued at the condominium unit of Napoles at the posh Pacific Plaza in Taguig.

On July 15, De Lima ordered the Bureau of Immigration to issue an Lookout Bulletin Order against Napoles and Lim.

The justice secretary clarified that the arrest was in connection with the charges of serious illegal detention, and that no charges have been filed yet against Napoles and Lim in connection with the pork barrel scam.

In a joint affidavit they submitted to the NBI in early March, the family said they were unable to contact Luy starting Dec 15, 2012. Since then, everytime they called, employees at the Napoles office and household only told them Benhur was busy.

Six days later, Reynaldo Lim came to the house of Benhur's parents to get Benhur's laptop. He reportedly told Gertrudes not to tell the NBI about it because "hawak namin ang gobyerno."

Held against his will

Between then and early January, the family was able to see Benhur at least twice under tight guarding. The last time, Benhur was able to hand his mother a note that he was being held against his will.

The Luy family provided the NBI with 6 addresses, all owned or occupied by the Napoleses, where Benhur was possibly being detained.

The family told the NBI that the events led them to think that Benhur was being held because of what he knew about the government dealings of the Napoles and Lim. 

Records kept by Benhur, and which the Luy family shared with the NBI before Benhur's rescue, showed names of senators and congressmen whose Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel have been accessed by Napoles' alleged dummy corporations over the years.

The allocations, amounting to several billions of pesos, were coursed through implementing agencies, mostly under the agriculture department. Benhur later claimed the allocations did not go to projects but were split between Napoles and the lawmakers who endorsed her NGOs.

Napoles and Luy are cousins. Luy said he served as Napoles' longtime employee. – Rappler.com