MANILA, AUGUST 19, 2013 (RAPPLER.COM) A manhunt is on for Janet Napoles, who has - so far - evaded authorities after a Makati court issued an order for her arrest. Natashya Gutierrez reports.

Where in the world is Janet Lim-Napoles?

This is the question on everyone's mind over 24 hours since the Makati Regional Trial Court ordered her arrest and that of her brother Reynald Lim. The two are wanted for illegal detention for the kidnapping of personal assistant turned whistleblower Benhur Luy.

They are also the alleged syndicates of a multi-million pork barrel scam involving the pocketing of lawmakers' priority development and assistance funds. But after a full night and day of searching, the two are nowhere to be found. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says someone tipped the two which allowed them to evade arrest.

LEILA DE LIMA JUSTICE SECRETARY And that's the reason why, kasi last night, as soon as the NBI team was able to get hold of the copies of the warrant of arrest, they immediately proceeded to the known addresses of the Napoleses. Inluding Pacific Plaza, Dasmarinas and meron pa silang ibang pinuntahan pero negative. (Including Pacific Plaza, Dasmarinas and others they went to but they were all negative.)

Whistleblowers say the Napoleses have at least 10 residential addresses in Metro Manila, Laguna and Tagaytay. Regional and field offices are now involved in the nationwide manhunt. Twelve teams are deployed to continue the search while the Bureau of Immigration is allowed to make arrests if it spots the two. Even citizen arrests are permitted. De Lima warns accomplices helping to hide the Napoleses will face charges as well. She recommends the two surrender, or waive their right to air their side.

LEILA DE LIMA JUSTICE SECRETARY Kung ako sa kanya, mag surrender nalang siya. Harapin niya itong kaso at ang susunod na mga kaso. (If I were her I'd just surrender. She should face this case and other cases that will follow.)

Whether or not Napoles cooperates, De Lima says the probe on the pork barrel scam continues. The Department of Justice also appeals to the public for leads and tips on the siblings' location, to help them find the Napoleses faster. All eyes are on the NBI as they work to find the alleged mastermind of what investigators call one of the biggest scams in the country's history. Now, the Napoleses join General Jovito Palparan and the Reyes brothers among the country's famous fugitives. Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila. - Rappler.com


Ask Napoles to spell ‘forty’

Retired Marine Colonel Ariel Querubin (photo) remembers that when Jenny Napoles, the pork barrel queen who is now a fugitive, wrote a check for forty thousand pesos for the interest of the money she owed his late first wife, Loretta (Cercenia), she didn’t know how to spell the word “forty.”

“Ano nga ang spelling ng forty (How is forty spelled?),” Querubin recalled Napoles asking him.

He spelled out F-O-R-T-Y to her.

Retired Marine Col. Ariel Querubin Retired Marine Col. Ariel Querubin “She probably was not sure if she would spell it with a “u” as in “four”, Querubin, a Medal of Valor Awardee, said.

Napoles’ being unsure how to spell “forty” (which shows that you need not be good in spelling to amass billions of money) is just a sidelight of Querubin’s unpleasant memory of Napoles, who borrowed money from his military doctor-wife, with a promise to pay it with a five percent interest, for an investment she was making in a shipyard business.

The transaction turned out to be traumatic for Querubin because after a day after a stressful meeting of his wife with Napoles on Aug. 18, 1994, the former died of “unexplained primary pulmonary hypertension.”

Querubin said the money lent by his wife came from their savings and that of relatives. Another doctor-friend also lent a substantial amount to Napoles.

The Middle- East based military doctor, who asked not to be named, said he, the Querubins and the Napoleses used to be good friends. (They were all involved in the 1989 coup.) Faye, Querubin’s only daughter, is Napoles’ god-daughter. Jeane, the fashionista Napoles daughter, is the god-daughter of Querubin and the military doctor.

Querubin said when Lorrie gave the money Napoles was borrowing, the latter issued post-dated checks for the interest. That’s when she asked about the spelling of “forty.”The first few checks were good, Querubin said. But later on the post-dated checks bounced.

Lorrie and his doctor-friend were later referred to another military wife, who was the one in the shipyard business and was the one who used the money Napoles got from the two military doctors.

One day, when they were trying to collect with the military wife, Napoles arrived. It was not a very pleasant meeting with Lorrie calling up Querubin and gave the phone to Napoles.

Querubin remembers Napoles being high-strung when they were talking on the phone and he told her not to raise her voice. The next day Lorrie was dead.

Querubin said on the first night of Lorrie’s wake, Napoles came with a priest and full payment for what she owed Lorrie in dollars.

But the other military doctor was not as lucky. The last P50,000 check issued her by Napoles bounced. The doctor said napoles issued that check in bad faith because when it was deposited, the bank said Napoles account had been “closed.” He said he was never paid in full.

“ When this pork barrel controversy came out , I asked my wife to look for that returned check.” he said.

When that returned check is found, it could be evidence against Napoles. But that probably is the least of her concern. She and her brother, Reynald “Jojo” Lim, are currently being hunted by the authorities in connection with the charge of illegal detention of Benhur Luy, former business associate of Napoles, who is now the star whistleblower in the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

De Lima admits they face difficulty in arresting Napoles because she is “well-connected.”

Those connections , who are rumored to be in high places, will make sure that she is not arrested.

In the olden times, punishment for an offense comes in the form of 40 lashes. Would Napoles prefer that , however it is spelled, to the situation she is now?


Lawyer appeals to Napoles: Come forward By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated August 15, 2013 - 3:02pm 1 111 googleplus1 0 MANILA, Philippines - The lawyer of embattled businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles has asked her client to come forward after an arrest warrant against her was issued on Wednesday night.

"I have made an appeal, through the media, to her to come forward. We have the legal options still available for her to avail of," Atty. Lorna Kapunan said in an interview on ANC on Thursday.

The Makati Regional Trial Court issued an arrest warrant against Napoles, the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam, in connection with the serious illegal detention charges filed by Benhur Luy, her former employer.

Luy claims that she was illegally detained by Napoles inside a condominium unit in Taguig City for about three months.

Napoles has also been accused of masterminding an alleged scam that channels lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund into ghost projects through bonus non-government organizations.

"I can understand why she's not coming forward because of the way that she's being treated," Kapunan said.

She said they have evidence to prove that Luy's serious illegal detention case against Napoles is baseless.

Kapunan also questioned the court's process of the issuance of the arrest warrant, saying there was a "lack of transparency" and "undue haste."

The lawyer said they are considering a number of options in connection with the arrest warrant against her client.

Kapunan said she last talked to Napoles on Wednesday morning.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved