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Benhur Luy agrees to be placed under gov't protection

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Thursday that the whistleblower in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam has agreed to be placed under the government's Witness Protection Program. (WPP).

De Lima said that Benhur Luy former assistant of Janet Lim-Napoles of the JLN Group of Companies and his family has agreed to be placed under the WPP.

Luy named five seantors and 23 members of the House of Representatives in the alleged scam.

President Benigno Aquino III had ordered an investigation into the alleged pork barrel scam.

Related: Noy wants exhaustive probe on pork scam

De Lima said that she has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation's Anti-Fraud Division to start looking for evidence in connection with Luy's allegations.

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Luy alleged that his former boss, Napoles, is the brains behind the racket allegedly involving billions of pesos from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of the senators and congressmen.

The businesswoman allegedly diverted pork barrel funds of several lawmakers into dummy non-government organizations (NGOs), purportedly for ghost projects worth over P10 billion.

Napoles had denied that allegation and discredited Luy, whom she said was a drug dependent.

She said that she had written a letter to President Aquino asking help on the supposed P300-million extortion of Luy.

In the two-page letter of Napoles, she related the demand of Luy – through his lawyer Levito Baligod – to pay the amount, apart from several other demands, in exchange for dropping the illegal detention case against the businesswoman.

“On March 27 (2013), I met Atty. Baligod and this time he demanded a higher amount (P250 million to P300 million), excluding their other demands such as issuance of Canadian visas for all of the Luy family members, including himself (Benhur),” she said.

Napoles had said in the letter that the "charges against us are all false, fabricated and a mere product of lies, perpetrated by our business competitors, with the ulterior purpose of besmirching our reputation and destroying our name."

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