Defense witness: Benhur Luy not illegally detained
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2014 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - Defense lawyers on Tuesday presented the driver of Reynald Lim, brother and co-accused of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to disprove the claim of Benhur Luy that he was illegally detained on orders from the businesswoman.

Taking the witness stand at the continuation of Napoles' illegal detention case at Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, Peter John Castillo said he saw Benhur being dragged to a waiting car on the night of March 22 at the grounds of the Pacific Plaza Towers condominium at the Bonifacio Global City. 

Castillo- who had worked as Reynald's family from 2012 to present- said he saw Benhur being dragged to the waiting car by his brother Arthur Luy, his mother, father and sister.

"Ayokong sumama sa inyo. Hindi totoong kinidnap ako ni Kuya Jojo (Reynald Lim)," Castillo recounted Benhur as shouting.

Castillo also told the court that he and Reynald fetched Benhur from the house at 55 Lapu Lapu St. inside Magallanes Village twice. He said he and Reynald fetched Benhur on Jamuary 9, 2013 and then went to eat at Bon Chon near the gate of Dasmariñas Village. After eating, Benhur was returned to Magallanes Village.

On January 22, Castillo said he and Reynald again fetched Benhur at Magallanes and they went to a Starbucks store at the Magallanes Village. Afterwhich, Benhur was again returned to the Magallanes house.

On March 22, 2013, Castillo said he and Reynald fetched Benhur from Reynald's unit at the Pacific Plaza condominium and went to a nearby UCC coffeeshop. Afterwards, they all returned to the condominium where Benhur was later rescued by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation.

Castillo told the court that while they were with Benhur, he and Reynald were not armed. He added that Benhur was also not threatened while he was with him and Reynald.

Castillo denied having knowledge of Reynald's present location when asked by the court.

Defense lawyer Bruce Rivera also presented Adeline Susan Carag, general manager of the Pacific Plaza condominiumm and CCTV operator Madylon Habana.

Carag and Habana were presented to authenticate and testify on CCTV footages taken from the condo's basement during Benhur's reported rescue.

However, Prosecutor Christopher Garvida objected saying what was about to be shown in court are mere extracted copies of the original CCTV footage.

Rivera then told the court that they will be filing a request to be allowed to view the original

CCTV footage as kept in the security hard drives of the condominium's security office.

Last August 19, the lawyers of Napoles 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.

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 4 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 Ben Hur 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. 

AGENTS BENHUR COURT GARVIDA KUYA JOJO LUY MAGALLANES VILLAGE MASAYON PACIFIC PLAZA TOWERS REYNALD
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