'EXPANDED' AFFIDAVIT: 18 SENATORS IN NAPOLES FINAL LIST; INSISTS SHE IS NOT THE 'BRAINS', SHE WAS 'MENTORED'

Insisting she was not the mastermind of the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim-Napoles says she was mentored in the ways of doing business with lawmakers by then congressman and now Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, whose name she has included along with 18 incumbent and former senators in an “expanded” affidavit. Most of the senators denied the accusations. After the hubbub caused by the emergence of several lists of lawmakers linked to the scam, Napoles – though her lawyer Bruce Rivera – submitted yesterday the “expanded” affidavit to the Department of Justice containing the names of more lawmakers who had allegedly connived with her in embezzling their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Rivera personally handed the affidavit to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in a closed-door meeting in the afternoon. A copy of the affidavit was immediately submitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee in compliance with a subpoena earlier issued by the panel. “I am not the most guilty,” Napoles said in Filipino in her 32-page affidavit. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace ready to defend some officials in pork scam

Malacañang said yesterday it is ready to defend its officials from pork barrel scam allegations but it would be selective in standing by other members of the administration. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said unfounded allegations against members of the Aquino administration jibe with “the theory that everybody is trying to burn the house down.” “The Palace stands ready to defend itself. We in the Palace have committed ourselves to the straight path,” he said. Asked if defending the Palace would include all others in the administration, Lacierda said: “We will defend those we truly believe in.” He said there are other personalities in government they are “not very well aware of.” “In any case, we will look into the evidence. It is easy for someone to say this or that, but, again, let’s see the evidence.” Lacierda cited Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as an example, saying he has been performing an important job but was portrayed in a negative way. “If you outline all the reforms that he has undertaken together with the President, you will not believe that Butch Abad is involved in any way in the scam,” Lacierda said. He also dismissed a newspaper report linking a high-ranking Malacañang official and three employees to the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam. The three female employees were identified as Rochelle Ahoro, reportedly a Malacañang official’s personal secretary; Odette Ong, assistant secretary of administration and finance; and Mary Antoinette Lucile Ortile, assistant to the executive secretary. READ MORE...

ALSO: Janet scooped up 37 bank accounts

P591.45 m withdrawn in just over 6 months: ACCUSED pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles had 37 accounts in several branches of Metrobank with total deposits of P678.45 million at the start of 2010 but withdrew P591.45 million over six months, records show. A ledger taken from the hard drive of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy showed Napoles had only P87 million left on July 5, 2010 just after the elections in that year. The records said Napoles had deposits in the Magdalena (15 accounts), Jose Abad Santos-Mayhaligue (seven accounts) and Ortigas (two accounts) branches of Metrobank. She also had 13 other accounts in other Metrobank branches all over Metro Manila. The accounts were under the names of bogus non-government organizations and foundations set up by Napoles to serve as conduits for lawmakers’ pork barrel. The money went to ghost projects and kickbacks to the lawmakers. READ MORE...

ALSO: In her own words: How Janet Napoles started; her "fateful meeting" with Abad

From humble beginnings to being an 'ordinary' businesswoman; from scam player to 'scapegoat' of lawmakers "Pork barrel" scam operator Janet Lim Napoles only reached high school but her simple background and education did not deter her from pursuing her "dreams." "Bata pa lamang ako ay natuto na 'kong maghanap-buhay. Sa biyaya ng Diyos, sa aking tiyaga, sipag at pawis, at sa tulong ng mga taong nakilala ko, ito ay aking napalago hanggang sa aking narating ngayon," Napoles said in her signed extended affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday. She said her drive to help others and work hard was inspired by her late mother, Magdalena Lim. Her remains now lie in a mausoleum at Heritage Park reportedly worth P30 million. Napoles said she entered various small businesses, specializing in sales, before she was able to buy her own company. Among her first ventures was as an exclusive distributor in the Philippines of Nutrigrowth, a manufacturer of liquid foliar fertilizers. She later bought the Philippine arm of the company after a few years, but abandoned the brand after it ran into some "problems." Napoles then put up another fertilizer company called Dragon 1.5 Mega Philippines. A fateful meeting --The entrepreneur was looking for ways to expand her products and business "just like any other businesswoman" would, when she claimed to be introduced to then Batanes Rep. Florencio "Butch" Abad, now Budget secretary, around 2000. She alleged that Abad offered her P10 million for a livelihood project where she would be a supplier. In the meeting, Abad received an initial P2 million from Napoles, who doubled the amount when a cash allocation notice was released for the project. CONTINUE READING...

(ALSO) Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop to priests: Return tainted ‘pork’ money

‘Thou shall not steal,’ former CBCP head reminds clergy. Return cash donations, including the stipend. The call was made yesterday by a former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) addressed to priests who received donations and stipend from groups or personalities linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said priests should return the donations as well as the stipend given by certain personalities or groups as the money could have come from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of some lawmakers. The stipend is the fixed sum of money given for a specific church service such as baptism among others. The P10-billion pork barrel scam involves the alleged diversion of the PDAF of some lawmakers to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGO) for ghost projects in the past years. Cruz reminded his fellow priests about the meaning of the Seventh Commandment “Thou shall not steal.” “It means one neither steals nor receives stolen money,” he said. “When they received the money it is certain they did not know it’s tainted. Now that they know, they should return the money if they can still do it,” Cruz said. On Thursday, former Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Josefino Ramirez admitted to have received cash donations from a foundation linked to Napoles on behalf of his charity group. READ MORE...

EDITORIAL: Isn’t it where the truth leads?

The double standard on the pork barrel controversy is becoming too glaring as Noynoy immediately absolved two close associates, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture Secretary Procy Alcala, from their involvement in the scam despite being named in a credible document coming from an official within his circle. The two officials were absolved from involvement in the pork scam through the mere indication of Noynoy that he continues to have trust and confidence in both. Such expression of Noynoy’s trust was enough for the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman not to pursue any investigation on both. In the documents that Rehabilitation czar former Sen. Panfilo Lacson surrendered to the Senate blue ribbon committee, the narration of events of alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles, it was clearly indicated that Abad was her mentor in setting up the syndicate to pilfer legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
She said it was from Abad that she learned the setting up of foundations or non-government organizations (NGO) which she extensively used as conduits in the diversion of the PDAF. “In 2000, Butch Abad was introduced to JLN (Janet Lim-Napoles). Abad was lent by JLN money which was returned with interest. When JLN asked how the money earned, she was introduced to foundations. JLN got curious and eventually JLN was taught how to form foundations. She bought the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. to be able to comply with the requirement that a non-government organization has a track record,” according to the narration on how the Napoles syndicate started. Another source of The Tribune earlier recounted a similar confession from Napoles, only more detailed, on Abad being the originator of the scam but added there is a higher ranking official in the Executive Department. Abad was even given a “code name” which is “straight” because when he allegedly gets his kickbacks, “these go straight to his pocket and straight to a Singapore bank.” The content of the confession was allegedly the cause of the delay in the signing of the affidavit since the Palace wanted it sanitized but the wily Napoles had sought concession for her to agree to sign the document. READ MORE....


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18 senators in final list

MANILA, JUNE 2, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Christina Mendez and Marvin Sy - Insisting she was not the mastermind of the pork barrel scam, Janet Lim-Napoles says she was mentored in the ways of doing business with lawmakers by then congressman and now Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, whose name she has included along with 18 incumbent and former senators in an “expanded” affidavit.

Most of the senators denied the accusations.

After the hubbub caused by the emergence of several lists of lawmakers linked to the scam, Napoles – though her lawyer Bruce Rivera – submitted yesterday the “expanded” affidavit to the Department of Justice containing the names of more lawmakers who had allegedly connived with her in embezzling their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Rivera personally handed the affidavit to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in a closed-door meeting in the afternoon.

A copy of the affidavit was immediately submitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee in compliance with a subpoena earlier issued by the panel.

“I am not the most guilty,” Napoles said in Filipino in her 32-page affidavit.

She said she got to know the people in the pork barrel scam through some agents, pointing to them as the ones who had peddled PDAF projects of the affected lawmakers.

“I learned from Cong. Butch Abad that NGOs and cooperatives were needed to negotiate with agencies,” she said.

She said that it was in 2000 when she was introduced by a certain Manuel Jarmin to Abad, then still a congressman of Batanes.

Napoles claimed that Abad told her about a P10-million project and showed her a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and explained what it was for.

After their meeting, Napoles claimed that she handed P2 million to Abad and that when the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) was released, another P2 million was allegedly turned over to the then congressman.

She claimed that Abad asked her if she had a non-government organization (NGO) and because she had none, “he told me he would take care of it.”

Napoles said that Abad used the Batanes Electric Cooperative to implement the project.

“After some time, he returned the P4 million I gave him with an added P2 million more. That is when I started to transact using the PDAF,” Napoles said.

DA role

Napoles also linked Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to the scam. She said the Department of Agriculture is one of those in the “shopping list” of the Department of Budget and Management to which lawmakers may allocate their PDAF.

Other DA officials Napoles linked to the scam were Ofelia Agawin, Alan Umali and Kimmy Patocabe.

In her expanded affidavit, Napoles said she wanted to take the opportunity to correct the wrong system still prevailing under the “Tuwid na Daan” of the Aquino administration.

Napoles also identified Ruth ‘Allen’ Ruste as the person who helped her late trusted staffer Niel Tan in getting the deals with the House of Representatives, while Catherine Mae “Maya” Santos was her contact for transactions with the DA and the Senate.

Ruste was a staff of former Rep. Maria Clara Lobregat. Ruste had also worked as chief of staff of Rep. Enrico Fabian and is now working for incumbent Rep. Lilia Macrohon Nuno.

Santos was staff member of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she was still a senator until she became vice president and then president.

Santos was with the Office of the President before she was appointed as assistant secretary and undersecretary of the DA.

Napoles maintained that all her PDAF transactions were delivered and implemented since these were double-checked by the inspection teams of the implementing agencies and then verified by the lawmakers and their coordinators.

Napoles also identified former presidential social secretary Ruby Tuason as the point person in her distribution of campaign funds for some senators. These deals had no delivery receipts, she added. It was only later that she learned that the funds – which reports said had reached as much as P900 million – came from the so-called Malampaya Fund. This was contained in her May 12, 2014 affidavit.

In her expanded affidavit, Napoles tagged Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and former senator Manuel Villar in the misuse of the Malampaya Fund for election purposes.

Napoles painted herself as a victim of the anomalous system in the allocation of pork barrel, which had been called different names – from Countrywide Development Fund in the 1990s to PDAF beginning in 2000.

Transparency

Blue Ribbon chairman Sen. Teofisto Guingona III received copies of Napoles’ initial affidavit and “extended” affidavit.

Despite De Lima’s written request that he hold off the release of the latest affidavit, Guingona told reporters he had to release copies of the documents to the media in the spirit of transparency.

“Let the documents speak for themselves,” he said.

Napoles said that in revealing the truth she was aware that she would be stepping on toes.

She said she expects people in high places to get mad at her.

“The truth hurts… but the truth will set you free,” she said.

“The possibility that they will get back at me and my family and friends really worries me,” she said.

“I am a mother and a wife foremost. I just wanted to make a living for my family. Thus, as a mother, I am appealing for the exclusion of my children James Christopher Napoles and Jo Christine Napoles in the above-mentioned complaints. My children had no knowledge, participation and involvement whatsoever in the subject cases,” Napoles said in her affidavit.

“I realized that indeed I should tell the whole truth. By telling the truth, which the people have been clamoring and I have been wanting to do for a long time, I intend to help my country and work towards minimizing, if not totally eradicating corruption, so as not to put to waste these revelations,” Napoles said in her affidavit, which she signed last May 12.

Rivera earlier declined to give details of the affidavit, but Napoles’ other lawyer – Stephen David – told reporters earlier yesterday that the affidavit listed 18 senators with questionable dealings with the detained businesswoman.

David represented Napoles during the hearing yesterday on her motion for an extended stay at the Ospital ng Makati (Osmak) at the Makati regional trial court. He also said that more than a hundred congressmen and agents were tagged in her affidavit as having profited unduly from pork-funded projects.

He also stressed that her wish to turn state witness is not the reason for her spilling the beans on the lawmakers.

“Nobody wants to go to jail, that’s why she really wants to turn state witness. But it’s not the main reason why she’s talking now. As I said, this is a contract between her and her creator,” he said.

Rivera said Napoles, in her expanded affidavit, “is not justifying what she has done.” He said that while her affidavit indicates that she is not the least guilty, it also shows that she is “not the most guilty.”

He declined to share more details, citing the confidentiality rule under the witness protection program to which Napoles is applying.

But he confirmed the inclusion of more senators and congressmen whose names were not in the initial affidavit submitted to the DOJ last May 13.

He said the new affidavit – purportedly the final one – explains in greater detail the operations of Napoles’ bogus non-government organizations from 2000 to 2009. An earlier special audit conducted by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the pork barrel scam covered only the period of 2007 to 2008 and implicated Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.

“We have supporting documents against each one of those named. We cannot be implicating people if we don’t have proofs,” he stressed, adding that the affidavit has narrative on the specific participation of lawmakers linked to the anomaly.

Rivera said that apart from special allotment release orders readily available from the DBM, Napoles also has in her possession other documents to back up her sworn statement.

“We will submit them whenever we will be asked to do so,” he said, reiterating her client’s wish to be taken in as state witness.

He also confirmed that the detained businesswoman had a “mother-to-mother” talk with De Lima during which the businesswoman asked that her children be spared from the controversy.

De Lima submitted to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee last May 15 an initial list from Napoles, but sought more time to submit a complete affidavit.

She asked the panel to withhold the release of the so-called “Napolist” until the completion of the final list and affidavit.

But soon after, committee chair Guingona made the list public.

The 10 incumbent senators in the first list were: Revilla, Estrada, Enrile, Vicente Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Alan Cayetano, Gringo Honasan, Escudero and JV Ejercito.

But the camp of Napoles would later clarify that Ejercito was wrongly included due to “encoding error.” The senator was not included in the new affidavit, Rivera confirmed.

Former senator Villar and the late former senator Robert Barbers were also in the list on which Napoles had affixed her signature and two thumb marks.

Former Batanes congressman and now Budget Secretary Abad, as well as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority head Joel Villanueva, were also included.

The list has the names of 69 incumbent and former congressmen as well as those of alleged conduits for implementing agencies like the Departments of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, National Livelihood Development Corp., Technology Resource Center and National Agribusiness Corp.

The STAR on May 13 published an alleged list from Napoles that included 11 incumbent and former senators: Enrile, Estrada, Revilla, Sotto, Legarda, Pimentel, Villar, Cayetano, Honasan, Escudero and Barbers. With Edu Punay, Mike Frialde

Palace ready to defend some officials in pork scam By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 27, 2014 - 12:00am 0 5 googleplus0 0


Janet Lim-Napoles says she was mentored on the intricacies of the congressional pork barrel by former Batanes congressman and now Budget Secretary Florencio Abad (photo). He has denied this.

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang said yesterday it is ready to defend its officials from pork barrel scam allegations but it would be selective in standing by other members of the administration.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said unfounded allegations against members of the Aquino administration jibe with “the theory that everybody is trying to burn the house down.”

“The Palace stands ready to defend itself. We in the Palace have committed ourselves to the straight path,” he said.

Asked if defending the Palace would include all others in the administration, Lacierda said: “We will defend those we truly believe in.”

He said there are other personalities in government they are “not very well aware of.”

“In any case, we will look into the evidence. It is easy for someone to say this or that, but, again, let’s see the evidence.”

Lacierda cited Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as an example, saying he has been performing an important job but was portrayed in a negative way.

“If you outline all the reforms that he has undertaken together with the President, you will not believe that Butch Abad is involved in any way in the scam,” Lacierda said.

He also dismissed a newspaper report linking a high-ranking Malacañang official and three employees to the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

The three female employees were identified as Rochelle Ahoro, reportedly a Malacañang official’s personal secretary; Odette Ong, assistant secretary of administration and finance; and Mary Antoinette Lucile Ortile, assistant to the executive secretary.

In a statement, Ong decried insinuations that she was involved in unlawful and dishonest activities.

“I strongly refute these baseless and unfounded claims. I would like to clarify that I do not head the Finance and Administration Department of the Office of the President, and my function is limited to being head of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President with a mandate to directly supervise the Internal House Affairs Office,” Ong said.

She said her responsibility involves direct supervision of day-to-day operations related to official functions and uses of the presidential residences and offices.

In the case of Ortile, Lacierda said she has not been working for the Palace or under the executive secretary for a long time now.

“We have a saying in law: Falsus in unus, falsus omnibus. False in one, false in all. The fact that you have identified someone who is no longer in government as a bag lady shows the quality of the source,” he said.

He also denied that the “Sexy” being alluded to in the pork barrel scam investigation referred to Ahoro and not to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

“Certainly, I can tell you (that) our ‘Sexy’ is a very honest individual who goes to her work daily and who does not have any contact at all other than the environment where she is working,” Lacierda said.

Citing an anonymous “very reliable source,” the report said the unidentified Palace official had benefited from the scam and other alleged questionable dealings of the administration and that the three female Palace employees were allegedly “calling the shots” on the high official’s “fund-raising activities.“

“The article is not correct because the extended affidavit has not been submitted… We will wait for the evaluation of the justice secretary who has been tasked by the President to look into it.”

Lacierda said a recommendation, if any, would be passed on to the ombudsman who would make the necessary evaluation, apart from the Department of Justice, on whether certain persons would be examined, after which the case would be submitted to the Sandiganbayan for final resolution,” Lacierda said.

Due process

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the President had made it clear that members of his official family must be given due process.

In an interview, Aquino said “one of the key tenets in our laws (from the Bill of Rights in the Constitution) is the right to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty.”

“It is my obligation to the people to ensure that when the government files a case, the evidence is strong so that the guilty will be punished. If we apply the opposite principle, filing weak cases based on speculation or unsupported by concrete proof will give the guilty a perpetual ‘get-out-of-jail’ card.”

“It is wrong to criticize and say, ‘we must immediately remove Cabinet secretaries’ whose names have been or are being mentioned in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam.’ What is most important is: Is there concrete evidence?” Aquino said.

Aside from Abad, those being implicated in the pork barrel scam are Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director-general Joel Villanueva.

FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

Janet scooped up 37 bank accounts By Macon Ramos-Araneta, Rey E. Requejo | May. 31, 2014 at 12:01am

P591.45 m withdrawn in just over 6 months

ACCUSED pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles had 37 accounts in several branches of Metrobank with total deposits of P678.45 million at the start of 2010 but withdrew P591.45 million over six months, records show.

A ledger taken from the hard drive of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy showed Napoles had only P87 million left on July 5, 2010 just after the elections in that year.


Napoles

The records said Napoles had deposits in the Magdalena (15 accounts), Jose Abad Santos-Mayhaligue (seven accounts) and Ortigas (two accounts) branches of Metrobank.

She also had 13 other accounts in other Metrobank branches all over Metro Manila.

The accounts were under the names of bogus non-government organizations and foundations set up by Napoles to serve as conduits for lawmakers’ pork barrel. The money went to ghost projects and kickbacks to the lawmakers.

The bogus NGOs and foundations used by Napoles to conceal the pork barrel funds were Saganang Buhay, Karangyaan, Micro Agri Business, Gintong Pangkabuhayan, Abundant Harvest (Magda), Philippine Agri (Magdalena), Ginintuan Alay (Magdalena), Kaupdanan (Magdalena), Tanglaw, Bukirin Tanglaw, Social Development, Dalangpan San Amon, Masaganang Buhay, Kasaganahan. Countrywide Agri and Economic, Agricultura, Agri and Economic, Ginintuang Alayt, PSDFI, POPDF, MAMFI, and Abundant Harvest.

Listed under the heading “Other Accounts” were deposits made in 13 other branches of Metrobank. These were Gintong Aral Pub, Gintong Arab Pub (checking), Magdalena Luy Lim, 1 Kapuso ng Pilipino, Dragon 1.5 Mega Phils. Asia Pacific Gun Club.

Written below the account were: Sotto Office- P10 million, June 29, 2010; P425,000-“Bulaklak”, P5 million- “POGI”, P1.6 million-ALLAN; P3.8 M/1 M/ 5.5 M—LANETE; 2.4 M- CHIONGBIAN; 3.7 M- PLAZA; 2.1M – Valdez.; P50 M- RUBY.

Luy’s files also showed that Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, then a congressman of Pateros-Taguig, made advances for his project involving a P3 million “supply of communication equipment” with the Department of the Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

The entry read as follows: Proponent: Cong. Allan Peter Cayetano; District: Pateros-Taguig; Project: Supply of Communication Equipment; Agency: DOTC; Amount: P3,000,000.00; SARO: RELEASED.

The entry also indicated that Cayetano made a total of five cash advances from April 25, 2003 up to Sept. 8, 2003. The dates and the cash advances made by Cayetano were : 4/25.2003-P500,000; 4/28/2003- P50,000; P8/25/2003- 2003; 8/25/2003- 37,500 and 9/8/2003- P27,125.00.

Cayetano has denied ever dealing with Napoles or the DOTC project, and said the portions of her affidavit dealing with him were inconsistent and vague.

He also denied as absolutely false the allegation that he received campaign contributions from her.

Cayetano said he suspects that the Justice Department already has a deal with Napoles.

“Why will you sign an affidavit admitting guilt if there is still no deal or there is no guarantee that there is a deal? I can’t answer this, but for me, that’s very obvious,” Cayetano said.

He said Napoles included his name and bogus details because she wanted him to be on the defensive and stop investigating her.

Cayetano who was among the 20 former and incumbent senators named by Napoles in her “final” affidavit submitted to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

In an earlier affidavit, Napoles said Cayetano’s uncle, Tito Boy, acted as his agent in a project with the DOTC.

But the project did not push through because she could not afford the “rebates” demanded by Cayetano’s uncle, she said.

Napoles also divulged in her affidavit she contributed to the campaign funds of Cayetano when he sought re-election in the 2013 polls. She said they met at SLICE Restaurant in Fort Bonifacio, Global City, where she personally handed her financial support to Cayetano.

She did not say how much she gave him, however.

Cayetano said Napoles’ affidavit was an admission of guilt.

“That affidavit alone will be enough to convict her of plunder,” he said.

He added that her affidavit was “tailor-fit” for her defense and her appeal for immunity.

While the names of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., all facing plunder at the Sandiganbayan, were always mentioned, the names of

other allies of Malacanang also appeared in the list.

Luy’s files included a draft, unsigned letter without a letterhead with the name of Senate President Franklin Drilon, then Senate finance committee chairman.

Drilon’s name was in a draft, unsigned endorsement letter addressed to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad requesting P100 million in financial assistance to the Department of Agrarian Reform for “livelihood projects.”

“The amount will cover the implementation of livelihood projects in various local government units in support to agrarian reform farmers beneficiaries nationwide,” it said.

“SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON AND FAMILY” also appeared in the list of guests for “MLL 4TH BIRTHDAY IN HEAVEN,” which purportedly refers to the fourth death anniversary of Napoles’ mother.

Drilon had earlier denied knowing Napoles. Later, when a photo surfaced showing him and his wife Mila beside Napoles, he admitted that she was a social acquaintance.

Also in that guest list was “SEC RENE VILLA AND FAMILY,” a possible reference to Drilon ally Rene Villa, who resigned as acting chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration after he was linked to Napoles. An entry dated 2/24/10 also listed, “Sec. Villa-Office (15 Instruction) – 500,000.00.”

Candaba, Pampanga Mayor Rene Maglanque frequently appeared in Luy’s kickback ledger, supposedly receiving funds ranging from cash advances to legal fees.

Sandra Cam, president of the Whistleblowers’ Association of the Philippines, said it was Maglanque who introduced Napoles to Drilon, a charge Drilon denies.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Teofisto Guingona III released to the media Luy’s files after they were submitted to him by the National Bureau of Investigfation on May 28.

State auditors have started to validate Napoles’ claims.

Commission on Audit chairwoman Grace Pulido-Tan said Friday her office has initiated an investigation into the details of the two affidavits submitted recently by Napoles to the Justice Department, extending the scope of its earlier special audit on PDAF allocations from 2007 to 2009.

“We’re validating (Napoles’ claims) against our records,” Tan said, when interviewed by reporters after she faced the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) for her application to the lone vacancy in the Supreme

Court vacated by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who reached his mandatory retirement age of 70 on May 22.

FROM PHILSTAR

In her own words: How Janet Napoles started, her "fateful meeting" with Abad  By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated May 27, 2014 - 4:20pm 12 39 googleplus0 0


Janet Lim Napoles shares what she says is the "truth" about the pork barrel and Malampaya fund scandals in her notarized and sworn affidavit. file photos

MANILA, Philippines — From humble beginnings to being an 'ordinary' businesswoman; from scam player to 'scapegoat' of lawmakers

"Pork barrel" scam operator Janet Lim Napoles only reached high school but her simple background and education did not deter her from pursuing her "dreams."

"Bata pa lamang ako ay natuto na 'kong maghanap-buhay. Sa biyaya ng Diyos, sa aking tiyaga, sipag at pawis, at sa tulong ng mga taong nakilala ko, ito ay aking napalago hanggang sa aking narating ngayon," Napoles said in her signed extended affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday.

She said her drive to help others and work hard was inspired by her late mother, Magdalena Lim. Her remains now lie in a mausoleum at Heritage Park reportedly worth P30 million.

Napoles said she entered various small businesses, specializing in sales, before she was able to buy her own company.

Among her first ventures was as an exclusive distributor in the Philippines of Nutrigrowth, a manufacturer of liquid foliar fertilizers.

She later bought the Philippine arm of the company after a few years, but abandoned the brand after it ran into some "problems." Napoles then put up another fertilizer company called Dragon 1.5 Mega Philippines.

A fateful meeting

The entrepreneur was looking for ways to expand her products and business "just like any other businesswoman" would, when she claimed to be introduced to then Batanes Rep. Florencio "Butch" Abad, now Budget secretary, around 2000.

She alleged that Abad offered her P10 million for a livelihood project where she would be a supplier.

In the meeting, Abad received an initial P2 million from Napoles, who doubled the amount when a cash allocation notice was released for the project.

"Afterwards, when we talked about the implementation, he asked me if I had an NGO (non-government organization). When I told him I did not have an NGO, he told me he would take care of it," Napoles claimed.

Abad, however, returned the P4 million he received and padded it with an additional P2 million when the project was implemented under the Batanes Electric Cooperative based in Basco town.

"That is when I started to transact using the PDAF," Napoles said, referring to lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund allocation.

In the 33-page document, Napoles decried being called the "mastermind" of the multibillion-peso government fund scam as she is only a "victim" of a corrupt system.

"Akala ko noon ay normal at tama at naaayon sa batas, dahil ito ay naging kalakaran na sa mahabang panahon," Napoles said.

"Ang akala ko po, ang lahat ng aking ginagawa ay naaayon sa batas sapagkat ang mga kausap ko ay mga mambabatas, kanilang mga kinatawan at matataas na opisyal ng ating bansa at marami rin naman ang gumagawa ng ganitong transaksyon," she added.

In her first sworn statement submitted to the DOJ earlier this month, Napoles claimed she does not have to skill to run a "complicated scheme" such as in embezzling PDAF given her humble beginnings.

"I am only an ordinary private businesswoman," she claimed.

"I neither have the power nor the authority to order the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release documents as well as command the implementing agencies to choose any foundation or non-governmental organization," Napoles added.

Associating with NGOs

Napoles said that she was surprised, though confused at the same time, that government implementing agencies do not grant projects to companies, but only to foundations.

The NGOs were controlled by officials in the agencies, offering them "for rent."

Dennis Cunanan, a ranking official at conduit agency Technology Resource Center, was allegedly among those who rented out foundations to companies.

Napoles, however, feared that she would get in trouble if the the NGOS-for-rent would be deemed fake and decided to "associate" herself with legal ones.

"I heard the incorporators they use are either dead or not existing," she said.

"That's why as far as I know, the NGOs I am associated with strictly complied with the registration and other requirements of the law," Napoles claimed.

The detained businesswoman did not mention if she established the NGOs herself.

She also denied that the NGOs she was with are bogus, belying reports that she is linked to more than 70 NGOs.

Transacting with lawmakers' agents

Representatives of lawmakers and other officials began offering her projects for a guaranteed amount of "rebate" or commission for them and their bosses ranging from 5 to 10 percent of the total project cost.

Some agents, such as PDAF-linked plunder case state witness Ruby Tuason and former Agrarian Reform Assistant Secretary Catherine May Santos, would demand a share of over 15 percent for themselves and another 40 percent in kickbacks for the requesting senator or congressman.

"I really have no say as to the amount, since if I don't agree, they would just offer the project to someone else," Napoles said.

"The rebate used to be just 20 percent, which later on became 30 percent until 50 percent depending on what they demand," she continued.

She also explained that the requesting legislator would also choose which agency the funds would be coursed through.

Napoles said that Patricia Gay Tan, another supposed agent, was also engaged in projects, which she later on discovered to have irregularities.

"I also found out that she would use the NGOs associated with me, so I would be the one to have problems," Napoles said.

She alleged that Tan is behind the ZNAC Rubber Estate Corporation and Pangkabuhayan Foundation anomalies detected by the Commission on Audit.

Napoles insisted that she is being used by lawmakers and officials as a "scapegoat" to drive public scrutiny away from them.

"Hindi po ako ang 'mastermind' ng pork barrel [scam], sapagkat hindi ako ang nagpasimula nito at matagal na ang ganitong kalakaran o sistema," she said in the extended affidavit.

"Sumunod lang ako sa mga alituntunin, pamamaraan at patakaran ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno," Napoles added.

FROM THE MANILA DAILY BULLETIN

Priests told: Return tainted ‘pork’ money by Leslie Ann Aquino May 26, 2014


Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz

‘Thou shall not steal,’ former CBCP head reminds clergy. Return cash donations, including the stipend.

The call was made yesterday by a former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) addressed to priests who received donations and stipend from groups or personalities linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said priests should return the donations as well as the stipend given by certain personalities or groups as the money could have come from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of some lawmakers. The stipend is the fixed sum of money given for a specific church service such as baptism among others.

The P10-billion pork barrel scam involves the alleged diversion of the PDAF of some lawmakers to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGO) for ghost projects in the past years.

Cruz reminded his fellow priests about the meaning of the Seventh Commandment “Thou shall not steal.”

“It means one neither steals nor receives stolen money,” he said.

“When they received the money it is certain they did not know it’s tainted. Now that they know, they should return the money if they can still do it,” Cruz said.

On Thursday, former Quiapo Church rector Msgr. Josefino Ramirez admitted to have received cash donations from a foundation linked to Napoles on behalf of his charity group.

But, he said, the donations were received “in utmost good faith and without any knowledge as to the source of the funds.”

The priest also admitted that Napoles gave P2 million to Caritas Salve Savings and Livelihood with Values Education Credit and that some priests and nuns were given stipend when invited during special occasions.

Cruz advised bishops and priests to be more prudent when accepting donations or favors. “You have to be careful because sometimes they ask for a return favor which you cannot give. That’s why you have to be prudent,” he said.

He recalled that in 2011, some bishops were accused of receiving luxury cars from former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO). The bishops returned the cars they got from the PCSO because although the cars were not stolen, “they were given for dubious reasons,” Cruz said.

NAPOLES KIDS’ FATE

“The lady justice is blind.” This was how Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., chairman of the House committee on justice, countered the plea made by Napoles.

Joining the list of lawmakers who rejected Napoles’ appeal to spare her children from criminal prosecution, Tupas said the “strength of the evidence” on the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam would determine the fate of the suspected pork scam mastermind and her children – Jo Christine, James Christopher, and Jeane.

“While the request to spare family members from prosecution appeals to emotion, lady justice is blind. She does not look into other consideration except to weight the evidence on record. Ultimately, it would depend on the strength of the evidence,” said Tupas, who led the prosecution panel during the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“The objective of the DOJ (Department of Justice) and later on the courts is to serve the ends of justice,” he pointed out.

Tupas’ fellow House leaders– Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna of the Citizens Battle against Corruption party-list and Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. — asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to reject outright Napoles’ request.

The DOJ is still assessing whether or not Napoles should be granted immunity in exchange for her testimony in the scam.

DEMORALIZED SOLONS

Meanwhile, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian said while the “Napolist” issue has demoralized some House members, it is not enough to dampen the spirits of neophyte lawmakers to further work hard in keeping the legislative mill grinding.

“Maraming tao ang gustong manilbihan ng sinsero at tingin ko dapat huwag naman lahatin ng kongresista at mga senador,” he said.

Gatchalian said the government should not allow Napoles’ camp to sow confusion in the legislative institution, adding that it would be better to wait for the investigation of the DOJ and Ombudsman before judging the entire Congress members. (With a report from Charissa M. Luci)

EDITORIAL FROM THE TRIBUNE

Isn’t it where the truth leads? Written by Tribune Editorial Tuesday, 27 May 2014 00:00



MANILA  -The double standard on the pork barrel controversy is becoming too glaring as Noynoy immediately absolved two close associates, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and Agriculture Secretary Procy Alcala, from their involvement in the scam despite being named in a credible document coming from an official within his circle.

The two officials were absolved from involvement in the pork scam through the mere indication of Noynoy that he continues to have trust and confidence in both.

Such expression of Noynoy’s trust was enough for the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman not to pursue any investigation on both.

In the documents that Rehabilitation czar former Sen. Panfilo Lacson surrendered to the Senate blue ribbon committee, the narration of events of alleged pork barrel scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles, it was clearly indicated that Abad was her mentor in setting up the syndicate to pilfer legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

She said it was from Abad that she learned the setting up of foundations or non-government organizations (NGO) which she extensively used as conduits in the diversion of the PDAF.

“In 2000, Butch Abad was introduced to JLN (Janet Lim-Napoles). Abad was lent by JLN money which was returned with interest. When JLN asked how the money earned, she was introduced to foundations. JLN got curious and eventually JLN was taught how to form foundations. She bought the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. to be able to comply with the requirement that a non-government organization has a track record,” according to the narration on how the Napoles syndicate started.

Another source of The Tribune earlier recounted a similar confession from Napoles, only more detailed, on Abad being the originator of the scam but added there is a higher ranking official in the Executive Department.

Abad was even given a “code name” which is “straight” because when he allegedly gets his kickbacks, “these go straight to his pocket and straight to a Singapore bank.”

The content of the confession was allegedly the cause of the delay in the signing of the affidavit since the Palace wanted it sanitized but the wily Napoles had sought concession for her to agree to sign the document.

Also in the list is the name of Senate President Franklin Drilon, who, as claimed never had messed around with his PDAF, as he was more careful, but it was pointed out by a reliable source that Drilon instead got all his kickbacks from congressional insertions and commissions from hard projects.

The Tribune the other day reported that a similar public money vacuum cleaner is being run right inside the Palace through three aides of a Palace high official collectively called the “Tres Marias.”

The group allegedly processes the raising of funds in Malacañang, including from the budget.

The existence of the Palace syndicate was also the reason for the frantic efforts to clean up the Napoles testimony to remove any reference to the “Tres Marias.”

Noynoy’s cover up for his men in the pork barrel scandal only indicates that he has complete knowledge of what is going on within his circle and that the scheme that was conceived to pin down his three target senator had spun out of control and is now engulfing even his key officials.

The public was promised that those implicated in the scandal would be prosecuted and the trail would be followed wherever the truth leads.

Now that it appears that the pieces of evidence are all heading the road toward the Palace, it looks like every means is being employed for cover up operations.

When we talk of Noynoy’s straight path, we should be talking of the shortest distance between two points.

It has been more than a month since Napoles and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima first met but the content of the infamous Napoles confession has yet to be divulged.

The protection of Noynoy and his allies is of paramount importance for their political survival.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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