PDAF scam whistleblower asks Manila RTC to lift freeze order

March 26, 2014 9:40 am 

MANILA, March 25 — Priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam main whistle blower Benhur Luy on Tuesday asked the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to lift the freeze order in his accounts citing his immunity from criminal prosecution.

In his comment, Luy said that being a government witness, he cannot be subjected to any penalty or forfeiture.

Luy is currently under the coverage of the government's Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Luy's bank accounts are among the accounts subject of a provisional asset preservation order (PAPO) issued by the Manila RTC Branch 22 following the forfeiture case filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Among the bank accounts of Luy subject of PAPO are the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) with account/policy number 4034-0090-61 with a deposit of US$ 15,008.90; a Metrobank account with P2,867.79 deposit and two other accounts under Metrobank and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).

Also subject of the PAPO is Luy's 2007 model Eastworld Mox Motorcycle, 2010 model Mitsubishi Montero Sport G and 2004 model Toyota Corolla Altis.

However, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) said that "Benhur Luy's assets are not immune from this civil forfeiture proceeding."

"The benefits under the WPP may only be invoked in criminal proceedings. The [forfeiture] case is civil in nature," Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said.

Meanwhile, Luy's brother, Arthur argued that his bank account should not be included in the PAPO because it came from a legitimate source.

He said that as a seafarer, he earns USD 7,000 a month.

However, the OSG said that Oste Crewing Philippines Allotment Slip showed that his monthly income is only USD 3,483.

"This cannot explain the huge amounts transacted in Arthur Luy's account during the material dates of the pork barrel scam that reached up to Php1 million in one banking day," Jardeleza said.

Likewise, the OSG said that the funds in Benhur Luy's mother, Gertrudes' account was traced to have come from Micro-Agri Business Citizens Initiative Foundation Inc, an entity linked to the pork barrel scam.

Their assets are among the hundreds of accounts, vehicles and properties subject of the PAPO that the OSG wants to be forfeited in favor of the government. (PNA)



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