Law firm denies lawyering for businesswoman in alleged pork barrel scam
MANILA, Philippines—A law firm has denied lawyering for Janet Lim-Napoles, the businesswoman who has been linked to an alleged scam involving the diversion of pork barrel funds into dummy nongovernment organizations purportedly for ghost projects worth P10 billion.
In a memo dated July 12, 2013, but which was only sent to media Monday, the MOST law firm said Napoles’ statement that MOST is not her lawyer in relation to the alleged scam “is true.’’
MOST stands for Marcos (Liza Marcos, wife of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.), Ochoa (Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.), Edward Serapio and Joseph Tan.
In its memo, MOST said Napoles, president and CEO of JLN Corp., asked the law firm on April 1, 2013, to collaborate with her lawyer, Atty. Alfredo L. Villamor, regarding a kidnapping case that she was allegedly involved in.
“She asked the firm to assist Atty. Villamor in the preparation of Counter-Affidavits for her and her brother (Reynaldo “Jojo” Lim), who was then under hospital arrest. According to Ms. Napoles, since Atty. Freddie Villamor was in the hospital conferring with her brother most of the time, he needed help with the said Counter-Affidavits,” the memo read.
The memo continued: ‘‘The firm’s written engagement with Ms. Napoles was limited only to handling the preliminary investigation stage. It was agreed that should the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommend the filing of the kidnapping case against Ms. Napoles and her brother, the firm would have to determine whether or not it would continue to represent her at the trial stage.’’
The law firm said it provided the following services for Ms. Napoles in the kidnapping case:
1. Reviewed her Counter-Affidavit which was initially prepared by Atty. Villamor;
2. Reviewed her Manifestation which was initially prepared by Atty. Villamor;
3. Attended two hearings before the DOJ during the preliminary investigation stage.
MOST said that since the firm only acted as collaborating counsel, it did not formally enter its appearance in the kidnapping case. “However, because we reviewed the abovementioned documents, there are 3 pleadings bearing the signature of one of the lawyers of the firm,’’ the memo read.
It added that after the aforementioned pleadings were submitted to the DOJ, and even before the DOJ issued its resolution dismissing the complaint, MOST withdrew from the kidnapping case.
“Since the kidnapping case was already dismissed by the DOJ, it would be prudent to direct all inquiries regarding this and other collateral matters to Atty. Villamor,” the memo said.— INQUIRER.net