2 Napoles children liable in Malampaya Fund scam
The alleged looting of P900 million from the Malampaya Fund, which was officially meant to help victims of massive flooding in Luzon four years ago, appeared to be a “family business.”
A daughter and son of detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles forged the signatures of the supposed beneficiaries of the fund, according to a whistle-blower.
One of Napoles’ brothers and a nephew also served as presidents of two of the 12 dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that were used to allegedly steal all the P900 million.
Levito Baligod, lawyer of witnesses in the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Napoles, said he would file an amendment to the plunder charges filed by the National Bureau of Investigation in the Office of the Ombudsman to include Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles.
Jo Christine and James Christopher were called “Neneng” and “Butsoy,” respectively, by their mother’s employees.
Baligod said the two would be included in the plunder case for “direct involvement in the falsification and liquidation of documents” involving the P900 million from the Malampaya Fund that was coursed through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
The money was earmarked for agrarian reform beneficiaries who were adversely affected by the back-to-back Tropical Storms “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” in 2009, but the P900 million ended up in dubious NGOs that Napoles had formed.
According to Baligod, the two Napoles siblings would join their mother Janet, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, three of her Cabinet secretaries—former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, former Budget Secretary and now Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman—in the case that the NBI filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on Oct. 3 against 24 people.
Baligod said the father of the siblings, retired Marine Maj. Jaime “Jimmy” Napoles, would not be included in the case because the testimony and evidence did not show his direct involvement in the scam.
Baligod, lawyer of pork scam whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas, said the former Reform the Armed Forces Movement officer was seen only as “enjoying the luxuries.”
The Inquirer on Sunday called up Lorna Kapunan, lawyer of Napoles, to get her side but got no reply as of press time.
In his affidavit, Luy said Janet’s youngest child, Jeane, was just a recipient of her mother’s earnings as she was studying in the United States.
Luy claimed that Janet was a heavy buyer of dollars in the black market. “She uses these dollars to pay for taxes or buy properties abroad. These dollars are also used by Jeane Napoles and (Janet’s brother) Reynald Lim who are residing abroad,” he said.
Suñas, who started working for Janet’s trading firm, Jo Chris Trading, after her retirement from Philippine Navy Naval Construction Corp. in 2000, said she was entrusted by Janet to handle the documentation and liquidation of DAR documents for the Malampaya Fund at a meeting of JLN employees in July 2009.
The meeting was held three months before Arroyo and Ermita sent orders for the release of the P900 million to help farmer-beneficiaries recover from their losses from Ondoy and Pepeng.
Also at meeting
Suñas said Jo Christine and James Christopher were present at the meeting in which their mother and her employees plotted how to profit from the P900 million earmarked for the DAR.
Aside from their mother and her JLN employees, the siblings took part in forging the signatures of the supposed beneficiaries of the Malampaya Fund, according to Suñas.
“Truth be told, those that we could not finish signing in the JLN Corp. office were brought by Madame Janet Napoles to her house where they continued the signing of the documents along with the house help, drivers and security [guards],” the whistle-blower said.
Suñas said Jo Christine and James Christopher had helped in faking the documents as the siblings were top officers of JLN Corp. Jo Christine was vice president for administration and finance of JLN Corp. while her brother was vice president for operations.
The siblings held office on the 25th floor of Discovery Center in Pasig City.
Suñas said Jaime served only as “consultant” at JLN Corp. although Luy claimed that the former military officer had often served as his wife’s driver.
Suñas said Napoles also tapped her brothers Reynald Lim and Ronald Francisco Lim, and a nephew, Ronald John Lim Jr., as officers of JLN. Ronald Francisco was vice president for special projects and Reynald was in charge of information technology.
Ronald Francisco and John Ronald who were among those charged with plunder last week, served as presidents of two of the dubious NGOs that were used in allegedly stealing all the P900 million.
Luy claimed that Jo Christine had also received part of the funds remitted to the dubious NGOs whenever her mother was not at their home on the 18th floor of the north wing of the Pacific Plaza Tower in Taguig City.
Luy said Jo Christine and James Christopher were aware of the code names given by Napoles to lawmakers whom she had regularly dealt with.
“Tanda” was Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile; “Pogi” was Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.; “Sexy,” “anak” or “kuya” referred to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.
“Guerrera” was former Rep. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete (now Masbate governor); “Bonjing” was former Agusan del Sur Rep. Rodolfo Plaza; “Bulaklak” was former Benguet Rep. Samuel Dangwa; “Suha” was former South Cotabato Rep. Arthur Pingoy; and “Kuryente” was former Apec Rep. Edgar Valdez.
Suñas said that apart from the beneficiaries, the signatures of 97 town mayors in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (the areas pummeled by Ondoy and Pepeng) were also forged.
“JLN Corp. had on file the previous requests for financial assistance with the Department of Agriculture and we copied their signatures (from these documents) in the (97) letter requests (addressed to Pangandaman) and MOA (or memoranda of agreement given to DAR),” Suñas said.
Luy noted that the P900 million from the Malampaya Fund was the second time Janet raided DAR funds.
In 2007, Janet’s NGOs took P200 million from DAR funds intended for land reform beneficiaries.