Press Release
March 6, 2014


FGE: My question is directed more actually at Sec. De Lima. In part, to Mr. Cunanan and to Mr. Benhur Luy. Just that we would understand the direction that the DoJ is taking, first question, Mr. Cunanan, base po sa affidavit ninyo, wala kayong kinomit na krimen. Nabasa ko yung affidavit ninyong mahaba. Is that correct?

CUNANAN: Yes, your honor.

FGE: So based on the affidavit that you executed on Feb. 20, you did not commit any crime under, in so far as the PDAF scam, so-called PDAF scam is concerned?

CUNANAN: Yes, your honor.

FGE: Yun din yung pagkakabasa ko. Wala pong krimen kayong ginawa. Sec. De Lima, why was he charged? I presume the DoJ prepared or helped in the preparation of the Feb. 20 affidavit. In his affidavit, he did not admit to the commission of any crime whatsoever. In fact, he was conscientious in his dealings as the TRC chair or head. Ma'am please.

DE LIMA: To answer your question why was Mr. Dennis Cunanan included in the charges before the Ombudsman, the first and the second batches of PDAF cases, is because, your honor, as the then Deputy General of the TRC, and the TRC being one of the four identified implementing agencies through which this PDAF funds were coursed, and also using Napoles-related NGOs, we gathered from the evidence from the DBM, from CoA, and also it's admitted by Mr. Cunanan now in his sworn affidavit that there were occasions when he had to sign certain documents like vouchers, checks. He was saying that in the absence of then Dir. Gen. Ortiz who is a co-respondent in the PDAF cases, he would do or undertake the processing of these documents. And also, your honor, in the affidavit of Mr. Benhur Luy, he had some statements there about officials of these various implementing agencies including TRC, he believes to be allegedly receiving commissions but that's is something being denied by Mr. Cunanan.

FGE: Pupunta na nga po ako dun, precisely Sec. De Liima, ayon kay Dennis Cunanan hindi sya nakatanggap maski na singko o pisong duling mula dito sa PDAF, subalit ayon sa affidavit ni Benhur Luy, particularly paragraph 126 of this Sept. 12, 2013 affidavit, if I may quote, "Tanong: May nabanggot kang may 10% na napupunta sa presidente o head ng agency, sino itong tinutukoy mo? Sagot: Ang alam ko, nakitang tumaggap sila Allan Javellana ng NABCOR, Dennis Cunanan at Antonio Ortiz ng TLRC, etc. etc. How would you reconcile that Madame Secretary?"

DE LIMA: The statement of Benhur Luy says that there was a receipt of kickbacks of the named officials. And of course, in the process of vetting Mr. Cunanan in his application as a possible or provisional state witness, we had to ask the same questions and he is denying it. So I guess the best persons who can really explain all of these things are both gentlemen- Benhur and Mr. Cunanan- if there is any explanation for what appears to be contradictory statements.

FGE: Benhur, may we hear from you? Nabasa ko kanina yung sinabi mo sa sinumpaang salaysay mo.

LUY: Yes, Sir. Sa JLN, pumunta po kasi si Sir Dennis Cunanan sa JLN corporation sa office, sa unit 2502. Sa conference room sila together with... Actually I do not know personally Dennis Cunanan. Alam ko lang s'ya as the Deputy. Hindi ko s'ya na-meet personally. It was one of the Napoles, yung senior ko, si Ms. Evelyn de Leon, s'ya yung nakipag-usap kay Mr. Cunanan. Actually we call him Sir DeCu.

FGE: Yun din ang pagkakakilala ko sa kanya, DeCu.

LUY: Opo. Sir DeCu, DeCu. So nung pumunta po si Sir Dennis, si Sir DeCu po sa conference room, so dun po s'ya hinatid ni Ms. Evelyn de Leon and Ms... Pumunta na po si Ms. Janet Napoles, yung aking boss. So, instruction of Ms. Janet Napoles to prepare, I remember the amount, which tiningnan ko sa aking records ng financial which is 960,000. So dinala ko po dun sa conference room. Since hindi ko naman personally nakipag-usap ako kay Sir DeCu kasi it was Ms. Evelyn de Leon, I handed the money to Ms. Evelyn de Leon dun sa conference room. So yun po ang nangyari.

FGE: Yun ang nangyari sa pagkakaalala mo at yun ang rason kung bakit nasulat mo yun sa affidavit mo dito?

LUY: Yes sir. And in my records, based on the voucher as far as I remember, it is parang SOP.

FGE: Mr.Cunanan, would you like to comment?

CUNANAN: Yes your honor. I suppose the records of Benhur are okay particular to that aspect because as we can see, kung makikita po natin, yun ay mga utos sa kanya. Tingin ko kung sa posisyon ko po, una, hindi ako head of agency at that time, ang napagbibigyan ho ng supposed to be ng mga komisyon na yun ay mga head of agency. Pangalawa, base ho doon sa diskusyunan, kung tinanggap ko ho at dinala ko at binitbit ko man kung ano man ang sinasabing halaga partikular doon sa transaksyon na nababanggit, siguro po hindi sya equivalent sa binabanggit na kung ano man yung natatanggap ng mga heads of agencies. Pangatlo your honor, in the course of my actions, kung may natanggap po ako, hindi siguro ako magve-verify, magva-validate ng mga dokumento. Kung may natanggap po ako, siguro ako pa po mismo ang magmamadali para maproseso ang mga dokumento. At ang kadulo-duluhan po your honor, kung ako ay accomplice dun sa mga issues na nangyari bakit ho noong ako na ang head of agency, pina-verify ko uli itong mga NGOs na ito to the extent na inabutan ko na na blacklist ang mga yan. At yung pagkaka blacklist ko sa kanila ay hindi naman ho din ginawa lang namin, kundi sinubmit pa namin yan sa COA at in-acknowledge pa ng COA na isang affirmative action na ginawa ng aming ahensya at naging triggering factor din dun sa special audit. At yun ang isang naging lead sa ginawa nila. At mapapatunayan ho siguro ni Benhur na mismong yung kanyang NGO na nirerepresent binlacklist ho namin yun. Maano man hong sabihin, ito ang tinutukoy nung abugado ko na mismong sa loob ata ng kanilang organisasyon may mga bukulan na nangyayari. So parang may gamitan ng pangalan, may sitwasyon na ganon. Pero ako po, with the blessings of God and my family, in my honor, in my name ito lang ho ang pwede kong maisulong. Kung meron man ako bakit hindi ko aaminin ngayon. Sa sitwasyon ko kung nasaan ako ngayon, alam ni Sec. De Lima yun, alam po ng DOJ, napakadali na pong gawin ngayon dahil ito na ho yung sitwasyon para maabswelto at lahat. Pero sa konsensya ko po, sa konsesya po ng pamilya ko, mahirap pong umamin ng hindi totoo.

FGE: So you deny it Mr. Cunanan?

CUNANAN: Opo your honor.

FGE: Thank you. Few more points Mr. Chairman. Sec. De Lima, I heard you mentioned a while ago that you have provisionally accepted Mr. Cunanan to the WPP? Is that correct?

DE LIMA: Yes your honor. Just like Benhur Luy and other whistleblowers belonging to the first set. Originally, Mr. Benhur Luy was provisionally accepted and later...

FGE: ...but now he is part.

DE LIMA: He is already a state witness and he has fully covered by the WPP as affirmed by the Office of the Ombudsman. With respect to Ms. Ruby Tuason and Mr. Cunanan, we have provisionally covered them under WPP. Provisional because the final say as to whether or not they will be and they can be used by the Ombudsman as state witnesses in the course of the trial before the Sandiganbayan if it is filed, those cases are filed, ultimately filed with the Sandiganbayan. That's why it's provisional coverage lang po.

FGE: Ma'am actually, that's what I don't understand. Please help me understand it. There's no such thing as provisional admission under the WPP law. It's either you're admitted or you're not.

DE LIMA: Yes Sir. Striclt under the WPP law, there is no provisional coverage.

FGE: Yes.

DE LIMA: But in so far as the processes, the internal processes as well as the implementation of the WPP law by the DoJ, it is actually normal for us to issue first provisional coverage subject to the execution or issuance of the certificate of materiality by the handling prosecutor. In this case your honor, since it's not the DoJ, which is strictly or technically the prosecutor in these cases, we are in fact investigators also, fact finders, along with the NBI, and the NBI being a complainant before the Ombudsman. And the Ombudsman and special prosecutors of the Ombudsman who will ultimately be the prosecutors in these cases when they reach the Sandiganbayan, so, that is also the requirement subject to the issuance of certificate of materiality by the Ombudsman, special prosecutors, after they shall have evaluated the merit of their status.

FGE: Ma'am, as I understand the WPP, well, perhaps you might want to include the provisional acceptance or admission in your IRR, but, under the WPP, nakalagay po doon, kapag tinanggap nyo na sila, effect of admission, the prosecutors shall take note of the admission. And if the cases have not yet been filed, we'll no longer file a complaint against them. So, essentially may administrative immunity na pong binibigay. Hindi state witness and tawag doon, kasi kapag state witness, desisyon na po ng korte yun. May I ask, in the case of Benhur Luy, he was the root of all of these, sa kanya po nanggaling lahat ito. Correct me if I'm wrong, he was charged with the Office of the Ombudsman?

DE LIMA: No your honor. In so far as NBI is concerned, we did not include Mr. Benhur Luy and the original set of whistleblowers. But, I'm not sure whether the FIO of the Office of the Ombudsman, which is also a complainant, in separate cases against the same respondents, have included them as respondents, when these charges were filed before the panel of special prosecutors handling the preliminary investigation.

FGE: Benhur, respondent ka ba sa Ombudsman case sa PDAF scam?

LUY: Isinama po kami tapos ano po...

FGE: Alam ko nga kasama ka e.

LUY: Opo, kasama po ako doon, sa Ombudsman.

FGE: Sino'ng nagsampa ng reklamo laban sayo?

LUY: Ano Sir, bale ang pagkaalam ko, naming mga witness, kasama kami, tapos gagawin po kami as witness doon sa ano po, yun ang pagkaalam.

FGE: Because, actually...

LUY: Yun ang understanding ko Sir.

FGE: Actually, yun din ang intindi ko. Kinakabahan na ako Benhur dahil administratively, the DoJ can decide not to file cases against you anymore. In fact, kung may MOA sa Ombudsman, that can be agreed upon with the Ombudsman. Kapag ginagamit ang salitang "state witness," ibig sabihin nyan, korte ang magdedesisyon. Iba ang requirement ng admission sa WPP, sa requirement ng admission as a state witness. So, ang lalabas dyan, kung hihilingin pa lang ng abogado, ng Office of the Special Prosecutors sa Ombudsman, na i-discharge kayo ng Sandiganbayan, posible na sa dulo, magsabi ang Sandiganbayan na, "Uy, teka, halimbawa lang, may prior conviction ka pala ng crime involving moral turpitude, hindi ka qualified maging state witness." All of these could be possibly avoided if charges will no longer be filed or dropped as against either Benhur Luy, Dennis Cunanan, Ruby Tuason or others who have turned, well, stated the truth with respect to what they know in this PDAF scam. Ma'am, please?

DE LIMA: Yes your honor, as a matter of fact, I know that there has been a plunder case filed against Benhur Luy, by Sen. Bong Revilla. But it was already dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman. That is our information, but I have not seen any document with respect to that. It was I think announced that case was dismissed citing the WPP coverage of Benhur Luy et. al. FGE: Kaya nga po kung WPP covered na sila, they will no longer be charged. That's with respect to the DOJ. Now you have a MOA with the Ombudsman, if you admit, as you've admitted Benhur Luy and if you admit later on Dennis Cunanan, Will that also be adopted by the Ombudsman? Meaning to say, hindi na po sila kakasuhan? Early on, hindi na sila kasama. Hindi yung akusado pa rin sila tapos hihilingin pa lang sa Sandiganbayan after the case is filed for them to be discharged as a state witness. Again as I've said, the requirements for the admission in WPP are totally different from the requirements to be discharged as state witness.

DE LIMA: That is also our position, your honor. And I think that is the position of the Ombudsman. I'm not sure wheter she was quoted right in one newspaper item trying to clarify that this WPP-covered witnesses are immune witnesses but they are not necessarily yet state witnesses. That's what...

FGE: Actually I heard that interview too ma'am but I don't know where she got the statement or the phrase "immune witness" from. That is not found in any of our rules, the immune witness. It's the first time I've heard of that.

DE LIMA: Well, maybe because the law says immunity from prosecution when a witness is covered especially if fully-covered already.

FGE: If I remembered correctly, the jueteng cases against former President Estrada, the prosecutors at that time used PD 749 which gives immunity to the bribe giver if he testifies. That's a law that says that "a bribe giver who so testifies shall be immune from the prosecution and shall not be convicted if a case has been filed against him." Can we not use that same PD? There is a precedent when it was used to protect a witness without going through the long process of having to ask the Sandiganbayan to be discharged as state witness, provisional, actual admission, can the DOJ consider that?

DE LIMA: Yes of course your honor but I don't think we need... we don't even have to invoke that PD because we have the WPP law and we know the consequence of the acceptance under the WPP. But we are just very conscious about the fact that it's the Ombudsman that will ultimately prosecuting this case, we would want the Ombudsman also to have the final say or the approval of the status of our proposed state witness especially that under its own law, the Office of the Ombudsman has also the power to grant immunity separate from the WPP law which is administered by the DOJ.

FGE: Just a few more points, Mr. Chairman. Secretary De Lima, I've heard you on television, I saw you on the television last night, you said hindi kayo sang-ayon na ilagay sa regular na kulungan si Napoles dahil parang baka mapurnada yung balakin o posibilidad na mag-testify pa siya. Umaasa pa ho ba kayo na aamin si Napoles at kakanta at this point in time?

DE LIMA: You can never tell your honor. May I clarify my statement?

FGE: Please, ma'am.

DE LIMA: I was asked the question, "Is DOJ, will DOJ be opposing any plea on the part of Mrs. Napoles... or would DOJ be opposing on the calls from the certain sectors to be placed to a regular jail?"

FGE: Be placed in a regular jail.

DE LIMA: Sabi ko po, "Napakadali pong imungkahi ng ganyang bagay, at napaka valid, legitimate, justified ang ganitong proposal." As a matter of fact, if I may share this with you, even during the time that Mrs. Napoles is still testifying before this honorable committee and she was saying all of those things, just denying, invoking the right to remain silent, the right against self-incrimination, I was already entertaining the thought that the next day I would be proposing that to be transferred to regular jail facility. But on deeper thought, it's not as easy as that. Now first of course that it's something that you know, it's an easy decision to make. That is, well, so easy to actually propose that but we also have to think of the possible consequences. Because we are still hoping that Mrs. Napoles would tell all, because we know that she's probably the key to unlocking the whole truth if and when she decides to tell the truth. Benhur has a lot, has a lot to share, and he has in fact shared already most if not probably all he knows about this scam. Nanggaling na rin ho kasi kay Benhur din na ang sabi niya meron din pong iba na dumederecho kay Mrs. Napoles at hindi dumadaan sa kanya. So ibig sabihin nun, ang talagang may alam sa lahat nang ito in so far as her transactions are concerned will be Mrs. Napoles herself. What if she decides to tell all. Without strings attached, meaning even without even asking for immunity. Maybe asking for certain other concessions outside of the immunity. Because as to whether or not she is entitled to immunity, would be in another matter. That would be a very contentious or debatable issue.

FGE: Papunta na nga po ako dun, Ma'am. Tatanggapin niyo po ba siya sa WPP?

DE LIMA: Sa ngayon po hindi. Kasi unang-una nase-secure na naman ho siya. The first object of the WPP is to secure.

FGE: But we also know the effect of the admission to the WPP...

DE LIMA: ...immunity...

FGE: ...which is immunity..

DE LIMA: That is why, we need to study carefully. We cannot just be acceding to that. We cannot be just be saying yes, we're willing...

FGE: Ma'am, hindi niyo po ba naisip kapag nilagay niyo siya sa regular na kulungan baka mas madali na umamin siya.

DE LIMA:...pwede rin po yun.

FGE: ...kaysa na ngayon na kumportable siya na, di mas mahaba ang panahon niya para makapag-isip, magandang naman yung kalagayan nya, anong pressure para bumaligtad siya.

DE LIMA: ...pwede rin po yun. But then again, the foremost consideration here is, would be she secure in a regular detention facility?

FGE: But Ma'am secure against who? Wala namang siyang tinuro, wala naman siyang inamin at sa ngayon wala siyang balak umamin...

DE LIMA: For now.

FGE: For now.

DE LIMA: For now, she has not admitted to anything...

FGE: Precisely.

DE LIMA: For now, she has not mentioned any name. But is that the real situation? Is that the truth? That she does not know anything. I don't think so...

FGE:..I don't think either. So as soon as she opens her mouth, Ma'am, perhaps that's when we should secure and protect her. That is my problem really ma'am, my problem here is quite simple. Lahat ng mga bilyong at milyo ang ninakaw sa pamahalaan, nasa ospital o nasa Sta. Rosa o nasa kung saan. Yung nagnakaw ng cellphone at wallet, nasa kulungan. Paano ho natin ipapaliwanag yun na parang baga tinuturo natin sa mga anak natin, "Anak, magnanakaw ka na lang, lakihan mo na, kasi kapag malaki, ospital ka o Sta. Rosa ka. Dahil pag cellphone lang ang ninakaw mo, anak, sa city jail ka. Mahirap ang buhay dun." How do we reconcile that? If we cannot guarantee the life of a snatcher inside the city jail, and I presume that there is a security feature in our jail system to protect him also from being harmed. Again, equal protection to dictate that unless she is willing to talk I guess, that is when we should provide adequate (inaudible). Now, I agree with you completely, dapat talaga pangalagaan ang seguridad niya kung magsasalita siya, kung nais na niya magsalita. I just find it difficult to swallow, the situation right now na hindi siya nagsasalita, wala siyang inaamin, ang laki ng ginagastos natin sa tuwing lalabas siya and yet we are not getting anything out of it really.

DE LIMA: I also perfectly and completely agree with you, your honor. Ang sabi ko nga po, well, sa ngayon maaring hindi siya magsasalita pero meron kaming expectation na baka nga ho na magsalita na. And sayang po yung pagkakataon na yan na posibleng magsalita na siya in the near future. Baka malapit na po or in the near future baka before the cases filed in the Sandiganbayan or while the cases before the Sandiganbayan. Let's see if she is willing to talk. 'Wag muna tayong magmadali ngayon. Of course may gastos ang ating gobyerno at alam ho kung magkano ang gastos ng gobyerno. Pero siguro sa mga ganitong usapin na ito po ay napakalaking kaso, this is actually bigger than any one of us this particular case. Now, siguro secondary nalang po ang consideration na yun na gumagastos ang gobyerno dito sa pagse-secure sa kanya doon sa ultimate end na posibleng nga sa pamamagitan ni Mrs. Napoles nalalaman natin ang buong katotohanan.

FGE: I understand where you are coming from, Ma'am. Sorry for bringing this out. Mabigat lang talaga sa dibdib ko na talo niya pa si Pangulong Aquino na may decoy vehicle siya, may decoy convoy pa siya. Si Pangulong Aquino walang decoy convoy, SONA lang niya ginagawa siguro kung maghe-helicopter o by land pero that's the decision already of the PNP I presume not DOJ.

DE LIMA: Yes your honor and we can always talk about it. We can alway ask the PNP to more or less revisit the security arrangements kung medyo nga OA then make it be appropriate one kung ano talaga ang commensurate diyan sa status niya. But for now the government would want to be very careful. The government would really want to study this issue very, very carefully.

FGE: I understand ma'am. Thank you very much. Last point Mr. chairman. Mr. Luy, bakit niyo tinanggal si Baligod at anong magagawa niyo kung wala na siya kumpara sa hindi niyo magagawa kung andiyan na siya. Quite frankly, when I heard the news, I don't see what for? I mean, hindi na kayo kakasuhan, wala na kayong kaso, nagbigay na kayo ng statement? Why all of a sudden the need to remove him? In other words, ano yung magagawa niyo ngayong wala na siya? Ano ba yung hindi niyo nagagawa nung nandiyan siya? Please explain.

LUY: Sir, bago po kasi po ginawa yung desisyon, I've been praying a lot. I've been praying a lot and asking wisdom kasi at the end of the day, if I made this decision, ako yung magfe-face ng mga consequences din naman. So kaya po ako sumulat ng letter sa kanya which is very busy, which is totoo naman po and this could be confirmed.

FGE: Ikaw naman. Mag-aasawa na yata si Atty. Baligod e.

LUY: Ay. Hindi po. Hindi po ako nakikialam ng mga personal na buhay niya. Hindi po ako nakikialam ng personal na buhay niya.

FGE: Again Mr. Luy, ano yung magagawa mo ngayong hindi na siya ang abugado mo? Ano ba yung hindi mo magawa nung abugado mo pa siya, rason para kailanganin mo pa siyang tanggalin because to my mind, hindi naman kailangan.

LUY: Kasi sir being the client, kailangan ko po yung legal counsel kung haharap ako sa government agency. For example Ombudsman, sa NBI, so kinukuhanan ng statements. So kailangan assisted by the counsel. So yun po, hindi siya nakakapunta.

FGE: Yun lang?

LUY: Tapos yung cases po na finile sa akin kasi other than kinasuhan ako, ako rin yun nag-file ng case which is the primary serious illegal detention, hindi po nabigyan ng oras. So yung time. So, e kailangan po sir. Syempre hindi ako sanay ako ang nagkakaso, hindi rin ako sanay na ako yung kinakasuhan. Nagdedepende ako sa lawyer ko. At the same time, gusto kong malaman po what is the update. Tapos kinasuhan po ako ni Mrs. Napoles ng qualified theft. I do not know what's the status. That's personally sir. Ang aking ano lang talaga, I have numerous cases na ikinaso sa akin at the same time the primary case, kami nagkaso. At the same time, was this oral defamation, kinasuhan ako ng tatlong Napoles group, ng kapatid niya. So lahat po nyun pending.

FGE: May lumabas sa pahayagan na hindi raw kasyo nagkakasundo ni Atty. Baligod sa ilang aspeto ng iyong pagtestigo laban sa mga ilang opisyal. Totoo ba yun o hindi?

LUY: Sir siya po dapat yung mag-answer nun. I'm sorry sir. I think siya dapat po yung magsagot kasi mahigpit po na nandiyan si Secretary na nakabantay.

FGE: Bantay.

LUY: Lahat. So wala pong, siya po yung sumagot sa alegasyon niya or...

FGE: Hindi niya alegasyon yun. Lumabas lang sa isang pahayagan na yun daw ang rason kung bakit tinanggal mo siya.

LUY: So tanungin po yung media. Ay sorry sir. Tanungin niyo po yung source po kung saang source na nagfi-feed or I do not know. Hindi po kami nag-aaway ni Atty. Baligod.

FGE: Sa parte mo, wala kayong hindi pagkakaintindihan?

LUY: Sir, yun lang po ang reason ko, yung time.

FGE: Maliban sa oras?

LUY: And I quote po yung, kung ano po yung tinext niya sa akin na ang dami daw advocacies. So yun lang din po ang sinulat ko sa ano, hindi ko alam kung ano yung advocacies na sinasabi niya. Yun lang naman yung hiningi ko, yung time. Yun lang po.

FGE: Thank you Benhur. Thank you Secretary De Lima, Mr. Cunanan. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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