MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – He is the key witness in the case, so why was Benhur Luy spared a Lorna Kapunan grilling during cross examination on Wednesday, October 30? (READ: Kapunan resigns as Napoles lawyer)
Lorna Kapunan, lawyer of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, was absent during the defense panel's cross examination of whistleblower Benhur Luy at Branch 150 of the Makati Regional Trial Court. Napoles and her fugitive brother Reynald Lim are facing charges of serious illegal detention for allegedly detaining Luy from December 2012 to March 2013.
When asked where Kapunan was or why she didn't show up, collaborating counsel Afredo Villamor told the media he didn't know. When asked if this was unusual – for a lead counsel to skip the cross examination – Villamor dodged the question and instead asked: what do you think?
Villamor is a collaborating counsel of Kapunan; he does not belong to her law firm. The clerk of court earlier told Rappler that Villamor is a former lawyer of JLN Corporation owned by Napoles.
Napoles, who is currently detained at Fort Sto Domingo in Laguna, filed a petition for bail more than a month ago. The prosecution is opposed to the granting of bail, and Luy is its last witness in the bail hearing. The defense will be presenting only one witness, Villamor said.
A few minutes into the cross examination, presiding Judge Elmo Alameda called for a short recess. Shortly after, prosecutor Chris Garvia requested for a meeting inside Judge Alameda's chambers, along with Villamor.
The prosecution team declined to talk about the meeting or about a note they received from Kapunan's team, adding that they were ordered by Alameda to keep it confidential.
Kapunan and her team of lawyers reportedly arrived at the Makati court but left shortly before the hearing began.
Kapunan earlier emphasized their desire for a "speedy trial" for her client. She noted on Tuesday, October 29, that Napoles was disappointed because she hoped the hearing would be over by November 1 or 2, so she could visit her deceased mother. - Rappler.com