MANILA, Philippines – He's been out of the scene after his acrimonious parting of ways with pork barrel scam principal whistleblower Benhur Luy.
In his words, the allegation that he didn't have time for valued clients is the worst accusation against a lawyer – especially one who had supposedly staked his own life for a case.
A hitherto unknown in the public eye, lawyer Levito Baligod was thrust into the limelight when he took the kidnapping case of Luy versus alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles. At first, he thought it was only a simple illegal detention case. But as he probed deeper and got to know the gory details, there was no turning back for the widowed lawyer.
We all know what happened next. Luy was rescued and spilled the beans on the pork barrel scam, with Baligod as the wind beneath his wings. Luy was tagged a "hero" which made him feel good.
And like some partnerships, lawyer and client had to part ways under not-so-amiable circumstances. After the split, what has Baligod been up to?
Out of the public eye, Baligod has resumed his lawyering job and the last time we met him, he was talking with prospective partners for a business. He's also more relaxed, apparently enjoying domestic bliss and fatherhood.
Good news for those involved in the pork barrel scam? Have they seen the last of Baligod?
Not so quick. Baligod says he is preparing new charges against the non-Napoles non-governmental organizations that also dipped their dirty fingers in the pork barrel allocation of lawmakers.
Apparently, Napoles is just one of the players in the pork barrel scheme, with 4 or 5 others providing stiff competition.
Why couldn't he just let sleeping dogs lie? Baligod says the pork barrel story should not end with Napoles, and government should also go after the principal players who made billions using taxpayers' money. It's a story of wanton plunder, with the participation of esteemed lawmakers.
Baligod says the exposé on the pork barrel scam has reignited the Filipinos' desire for good and participatory governance. One proof is the numerous invitations he gets from different parts of the country to speak on combatting graft and corruption.
Any chance of joining politics? The desire is there but Baligod is being pragmatic. He knows running for public office involves lots of money and lots of compromises. And he's not quite sure he's ready. – Rappler.com