Napoles lawyers present condo security officers as witnesses in illegal detention case
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2014 - 4:12pm

MANILA, Philippines - The lawyers of detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles on Tuesday presented two security officers from the Pacific Plaza Towers condominium as their first two witnesses in the continuing hearing of the businesswoman’s illegal detention case at the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 150.

Tuesday’s hearing marked the defense lawyers’ turn to present evidence and witnesses after the prosecution lawyers led by Makati Assistant Senior Prosecutor Christopher Garvida rested their case last July 1 with the appearance at the witness stand of Benhur Luy, the cousin of Napoles who lodged the illegal detention case against her.

In the hearing, the two condominium security officers testified that Luy allegedly told the agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who rescued him on the night of March 22, 2013 that he was not kidnapped and that he refused to go with them.

First taking the witness stand was security officer Fernando Masayon who testified that he was manning the main gate of the Pacific Plaza Towers when the NBI team arrived to rescue Luy who was then allegedly being held against his will inside a unit of the condominium by Reynald “Jojo” Lim, a brother of Napoles.

Masayon told the court that after verifying the identities of the NBI agents, he accompanied Luy’s brother, two male agents and a female agent to the unit where Luy was allegedly being detained.

Masayon told the court that he heard Luy telling the NBI agents that he was not being kidnapped by Lim.

“Sinabi ni Benhur (Luy) na walang kasalanan si Kuya Jojo (Lim) at hindi siya kinidnap. Sabi niya (Luy) walang ginagawang masama si Kuya Jojo, hindi totoo yan at hindi ako kinidnap,” said Masayon.

When quizzed by Garvida, Masayon said he distinctly heard what Luy was telling the NBI agents despite all the noise and shouting inside the condominium unit that lasted for about 10 minutes. Masayon said he was standing about four feet away from Luy who was seated on a sofa and was clutching a throw pillow.

However, when further quizzed by Garvida, Masayon said he did not hear what Luy’s brother, mother and the NBI agents were saying inside the room despite also being close to them.

“Despite the chaos, you heard what Benhur was saying?” asked Garvida to which Masayon said “yes.”

But when asked by Garvida if he heard Luy’s mother Gertrudes crying while talking, Masayon told the court “he did not notice.”

Defense lawyers led by Bruce Rivera, next presented their second witness, Feliciano Alcantara, security supervisor at the Pacific Plaza Towers, who testified that Luy refused to go with the NBI agents who were supposed to be on a mission to rescue him.

Alcantara under direct questioning by Rivera, told the court that he saw Luy shouting at his brother and telling him that he was not kidnapped.

“Ano ba kayo? Hindi ako kinidnap!” Alcantara recounted in court how Luy shouted at his brother and mother who accompanied the NBI agents. Alcantara also testified seeing how Luy resisted being taken by the NBI agents.

Rivera told reporters that they are prepared to present a total of 18 witnesses, including several Chinese priests to prove that Luy was not illegally detained at a house inside the Magallanes Village in Makati. The house is allegedly owned by Napoles and was being used by Chinese priests.

Defense lawyers will next present as witnesses for the September 16 hearing Madylon Habana, closed circuit television camera (CCTV) operator at the Pacific Plaza Towers and Adeline Susan Carag, general manager of the Pacific Plaza Towers. Defense lawyers also asked the court to subpoena the CCTV footages taken at the condominium between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. of March 22, 2013 when the NBI allegedly rescued Luy.

The defense lawyers also intend to present at the witness stand Napoles herself and her still at-large brother and co-accused Reynald.

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