She asked for a meeting with this reporter at Tiara Oriental Hotel in Makati City. She arrived in a white Land Cruiser without plate numbers.
Wearing a red blouse, slacks and a gold chain dangling from her neck, the first words Janet Lim-Napoles blurted out in Filipino, “Hey, Ochoa has nothing to do with this case.”
She was referring to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, one of the founding partners of the MOST Law Office. Ochoa divested himself of interests in the law firm after he joined the Aquino administration in 2010.
“MOST is not my lawyer,” said the 49-year-old president and CEO of JLN Corp., which is alleged to be behind a P10-billion scam involving mostly funds from the priority assistance development fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, of senators and congressmen.
MOST stands for Marcos (Liza Marcos, wife of Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Ochoa, Edward Serapio and Joseph Tan).
Affidavits she had executed for the National Bureau of Investigation, which is looking into her activities, carried the imprint of MOST.
For the next 75 minutes, Napoles ranted against her main whistle-blower, Benhur K. Luy, calling him a “drug addict,” and “thief.” She carried photographs of a naked Luy with some men. Luy is a distant cousin of Napoles and was her personal assistant until their falling out last December.
Napoles repeated her denials in an affidavit and letter to President Aquino that she had Luy kidnapped, and his allegations that she had engaged in shady deals described by an NBI agent as the “mother of all scams.”
“There has been no case filed against us, the kidnapping case had been dropped, we are being tried through media,” she said, accompanied to the interview by her 25-year-old son, a nephew, a close friend and a female aide.
Napoles also denied allegations she operated dummy NGOs and offered commissions to lawmakers for the liquidation of their pork barrels. She named a certain Patricia Gay Tan as the one who perpetrated the alleged scams.
“Why are they blaming this on me when there is Patricia Gay Tan,” she said. She declined to provide details but promised she would provide papers from the Commission on Audit implicating Tan in the supposed rackets.
Napoles said some politicians were behind the bad publicity she was getting, but declined to name them.
“Maybe this is about 2016, where these supposed senators who were named as involved in the scam are being made victims of a demolition job,” Napoles said, referring to the forthcoming presidential elections. “It is embarrassing for the senators. The accusations are not true.”
Napoles thanked the INQUIRER for publishing on its front page on Friday her photograph showing her in an elegant sari with the caption: “On a magic carpet ride in April last year on her 30th wedding anniversary with an Indian motif and Bollywood-style hoopla.”
She liked that.