NBI says Napoles’ 2 affidavits not backed by evidence

MANILA — Without supporting evidence, the two affidavits of alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles are mere scraps of paper, National Bureau of Investigation Director Virgilio Mendez said on Saturday.

Mendez also said the NBI Special Task Force tasked to investigate the P10-billion pork barrel scam would ask Napoles to produce her alleged “red book” in which the whistle-blowers Benhur Luy and Marina Sula said they saw her recording her transactions with lawmakers and government officials.

“The affidavits should have corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. We can ask her to submit her supposed red book to support her statements in her affidavits,” Mendez told the Inquirer.

Seeking government protection in exchange for disclosing all she knows about the P10-billion pork barrel scam that is being accused of, Napoles submitted two affidavits to the Department of Justice, which in turn gave copies to the Senate blue ribbon committee that is investigating the scandal.

Combined, the two affidavits have 93 pages. Lawyers of the whistle-blowers described the affidavits as “blame all” instead of the “tell-all” that Napoles had promised to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

In those affidavits, she tagged 20 senators and 100 congressmen, agents and conduits among those who worked with her bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs), which served as depositories for lawmakers’ allocations from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for financing ghost rural projects.

Senators, House members

Stephen Cascollan, lawyer for Sula and other whistle-blowers said Napoles failed to identify members of her staff who are now witnesses in her prosecution.

“Why is she saying their statements were false?” Cascollan said in a text message to the Inquirer.

In the affidavit in which she offered to serve as state witness, Napoles also asked that her children James Christopher and Jo-Christine be excluded from suit, as they had no participation in her operations, Cascollan said.

The whistle-blowers stated in their own affidavits that James Christopher, Jo-Christine and all the members of the Napoles household forged lists of beneficiaries (sometimes culled phone books) from of phantom projects to be financed with funds from the lawmakers’ PDAF allocations.

Jo-Christine Co., named after Napoles’ daughter, received hundreds of millions of pesos in deposits for pork barrel-funded projects, they said.

Immunity from suit

Napoles also asked the Ombudsman for immunity from suit for her trusted aide Evelyn de Leon, her nephew Ronald John Lim, her longtime employees John Raymond de Asis and Eulogio Rodriguez.

Cascollan said he met De Asis and Rodriguez along with other witnesses last year and asked them to cooperate with the authorities.

“They made the decision to stand by Janet and her resources. Their manifested intent to cooperate is suspicious,” Cascollan said.

He said the affidavits of Napoles should be compared with the affidavits of the whistle-blowers to see if she was telling the truth.

The first affidavit of Napoles, consisting of 53 pages was written in English and signed on May 12. The second had 33 pages, written in Filipino and signed on May 26.

Napoles submitted with the affidavits photocopies of four Metrobank checks written out to Ruby Tuason, Carl Dominic Labayen and Dennis Cunanan.

Her lawyers submitted the English affidavit as her reply to the complaint filed by the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation in the Office of the Ombudsman last year naming her as one of the respondents in 17-plus cases of plunder and graft for the pork barrel scam.

 

Kickbacks for lawmakers

In that affidavit, she detailed how and when she delivered millions of pesos in kickbacks to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. and lawyer Gigi Reyes, former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

 

She also detailed how much and when she delivered kickbacks to Ruby Tuason, Richard Cambe (a member of Revilla’s staff), Alexis Sevidal of the National Livelihood Development Center, Rhodora Mendoza, and Allan Javellana of the National Agri-business Corp. (Nabcor), Pauline Labayen (a member of  Estrada’s staff), Jen Corpuz (media consultant of Sen. Vicente Sotto), Dennis Cunanan, Antonio Ortiz and others.

She also narrated her transactions with several members of the House and their staff who were also charged by the NBI in the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman has yet to announce its resolution on the alleged involvement of House members in the pork barrel scam.

Napoles denied her pork barrel-funded projects were fictitious.

In their testimony, the whistle-blowers claimed that Napoles’ pork barrel-funded projects were either fictitious or highly overpriced.

The projects financed with P900 million from the Malampaya Fund, supposedly intended for victims of two typhoons, were fictitious, the whistle-blowers said.

Her cut: 35 percent

Napoles also claimed she got “3 to 10 percent of the total appropriation” for projects, which she shared with the NGO presidents and paid for operational costs.

But the whistle-blowers, in their own testimony, said Napoles got at least 35 percent of the total cost of projects and asked for an additional 5 percent from lawmakers allegedly, she had told them, to cover taxes.

Napoles denied that she was the mastermind of the PDAF and Malampaya scams, saying she did not have the “skill to run such complicated schemes.”

She also said that it was Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who gave her the idea of using NGOs for her business.

Abad denied knowing Napoles and teaching her how to access the PDAF.

Napoles claimed that her NGOs complied with all legal requirements.

But the whistle-blowers testified that on Napoles’ orders, they named “drivers, household helps, their relatives and other coemployees” as incorporators and heads of the bogus NGOs.

Deals with agents only

Cascollan noted that Napoles merely pointed to agents and conduits and claimed she did not personally know the lawmakers.

Mendez said the NBI submitted Luy’s digital files containing 31,700 pages to the Office of the Ombudsman last week.

He said a soft copy of the files was submitted to the Ombudsman in February.