PDAF whistleblowers fear for lives

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MANILA – Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano paid a visit at the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to ensure the security of pork barrel scam state witness Benhur Luy on Monday.

Luy sat on the witness stand for cross-examination on the alleged pork barrel kickbacks received by former APEC Representative EDGAR Valdez.

This, after whistleblowers in the P10-billion pork barrel scam expressed concern about their security following the resignation of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Justiniano, and Witness Protection Program Director Martin Menez.

“Sabi papaano na po kami niyan, wala na si Secretary De Lima, wala pa kayo,” Justiniano recalled a conversation with witnesses Luy and Merlina Sunas over the phone.

De Lima, who is running for a Senate seat, resigned on October 12. Menez, who was coterminous with the Justice Secretary, also had to leave his post.

After two days, Justiniano also filed his resignation. He will leave the Department of Justice on October 30.

“Syempre, na-admit sila sa Witness Protection Program under the leadership of Secretary De Lima, biglang nawala. And then ako nga eh nakatulong dito sa PDAF, so naging parang inaasahan nila na kaming dalawa ang magiging proteksyon nila kung anuman ang kanilang ikinababahala,” he said.

“Natural lang naman yun eh, halimbawa may magulang ka, eh umalis eh mag-aalala ka. Ang problema kasi, iyung program drector na si Atty. Menez nag-resign din. Bale, yung sabihin natin na tatlo nilang inaasahan, bigla kaming nawala.”

Justiniano who supervised the DOJ investigation on the pork barrel scam, said he understands the whistleblowers’ concern and assured them of their protection even after he leaves the Justice Department.

“Kaya ako pumunta dito, para ma-assure naman sila na wala naman silang dapat ikatakot kasi nasa Witness Protection Program naman sila. Sabi ko, wag kayong mag-alala, kahit ako ay nasa private sector ay tutulungan ko pa rin kayo,” he said.

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