CEBU CITY—Janet Lim-Napoles had a consultant from Cebu who was linked to the Estradas before the pork barrel scandal erupted.
Napoles hired Cheryl Jimenea earlier this year as her consultant, said Jimenea’s elder sister, Thelma Chiong. Jimenea is a former secretary of ex-President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Chiong, of the Crusade Against Violence whose two daughters were kidnapped, raped and killed by heirs to some prominent families here in 1997, confirmed that her younger sister was a close friend of Napoles.
“Janet Napoles recently hired her (Jimenea) as a consultant because they are friends. She (Jimenea) is called (by Napoles) only when she is needed,” Chiong said in an interview on radio dyLA.
Chiong could not say, however, what exactly Jimenea did for Napoles.
But according to the general information sheet of the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained by the Inquirer, Jimenea is an officer and director of JLN Corp. as of May 2013.
One of the whistle-blowers in the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Napoles claimed that Jimenea called her and the other presidents of bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to a meeting at a restaurant in Trinoma, Quezon City, hours before Napoles surrendered to President Aquino last Wednesday night.
The witness said Jimenea came to the meeting with a lawyer who told her and the other NGO presidents to blame the scam on Benhur Luy, the principal witness. Jimenea gave each of them P20,000, the witness said.
Chiong defended her sister, saying that story was not true.
Not all news reports are true and some are lies, she added.
According to Chiong, Jimenea was a victim of envy by other people who worked for Napoles.
“The people of Jimmy Napoles (husband of Napoles) envy Cheryl and they want to implicate her because she is close to Janet Napoles. They (Jimenea and Napoles) have been friends for a long time,” Chiong said.
She said the reports implicating her sister in the pork barrel scam were unfair.
“We are not afraid because Cheryl is not involved. The witness is lying. Other people only envied Cheryl, that’s why she is being implicated,” Chiong said.
She claimed that Luy was just making accusations “because of his extortion activities.”
Napoles claimed that Luy, through his lawyer, demanded P30 million in exchange for the dropping of the serious illegal detention suit he had brought against her.
Luy, through his lawyer, denied Napoles’ accusation.
Chiong said that when the pork barrel scandal erupted, Jimenea was in Cebu because their mother was sick.
Worked for Estradas
Chiong said Napoles knew former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and his son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
She said Jimenea also worked in the office of Senator Estrada.
“You know, rich people like to approach politicians so they (Napoles and Jimenea) became friends,” Chiong said.
Napoles, who comes from Basilan, speaks Cebuano so she could talk with Jimenea, Chiong added.
When Napoles learned that Jimenea had resigned and was no longer working for Senator Estrada, she hired Jimenea as a consultant earlier this year, Chiong said.
Chiong said she met Napoles once or twice in Manila earlier this year when she accompanied her sister to a meeting with Napoles.
“She is simple. She was wearing a T-shirt, [denim jeans] and rubber shoes,” she said.