Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada attended Napoles’ mom burial—whistleblowers
MANILA, Philippines—Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada attended the burial and subsequent death anniversaries of the mother of accused pork barrel scam suspect Janet Lim-Napoles, a whistleblower told the Sandiganbayan on Thursday.
Mary Arlene Balthazar, Napoles’ bookkeeper in JLN Corp., took the witness stand during Revilla’s bail hearing on plunder over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
She told the court that she saw Revilla and Estrada on Magdalena Luy Lim’s burial on February 28, 2009, as well as on her subsequent death anniversaries from 2010 to 2012.
“(I have seen) Senators Revilla and Estrada… (It was) during the burial of Magdalena Luy and the death anniversaries,” Balthazar said.
Also taking the witness stand was whistleblower Marina Sula, Napoles’ janitress in JLN Corp., who said she had seen photos of Napoles with lawmakers—among them Revilla, Estrada and even Senate President Franklin Drilon—in her parties.
Sula was quick to say she does not know of Drilon’s transactions with JLN Corp.
Sula also testified that she saw Revilla and his wife Cavite Representative Lani Mercado-Revilla during the death anniversary of Napoles’ mother at the Heritage Park.
The Revilla couple, who attended the bail hearing, looked stern as they heard Sula’s testimony that they had been seen with Napoles.
When the defense asked her why she didn’t personally ask Revilla during the event about his supposed kickbacks given to him through his legislative officer Atty. Richard Cambe, another co-accused, Sula said: “It’s not the proper venue to ask him.”
“We don’t talk about receiving commissions during those events,” Sula said in Filipino.
She added that she never personally talked to Revilla about the alleged kickbacks, and that it was only Napoles who had allegedly done so.
After the hearing, Senator Revilla evaded questions about being seen with Napoles.
“No comment muna diyan. We’ll leave it to the lawyers,” Revilla said.
Revilla, Estrada and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile face plunder and graft charges for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam, the purported diversion of senators’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks. Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, while Enrile is in the PNP General Hospital while under custody pending his motion for hospital arrest.
Napoles, meanwhile, also faces plunder raps over the scam. She is detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa female dormitory with Atty. Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, Enrile’s resigned chief of staff and a co-accused in the plunder case.
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