Napoles employed double, says witness
MANILA, Philippines–A double?
Janet Lim-Napoles allowed an employee to use her name in dealing with officials of state agencies that acted as conduits in her alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam, the Sandiganbayan was told on Monday.
On her return to the witness stand, Mary Arlene Baltazar, a former bookkeeper of Napoles, narrated the work she and her former coworkers did for the detained businesswoman at the continuation of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s bail hearing in the antigraft court’s Fifth Division.
Questioned by Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo, Baltazar detailed the daily routine of the employees of Napoles’s JLN Corp. in their office on the 25th floor of the posh Discovery Suites building in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
Baltazar said one of her erstwhile colleagues, Evelyn de Leon, met with officials of implementing agencies and identified herself as Napoles.
“Evelyn de Leon is like a Janet Napoles Junior,” Baltazar said, eliciting giggles in the courtroom.
“Why? Is there a senior?” Gesmundo asked the witness.
Baltazar answered: “Yes. It’s Madam Janet Napoles.”
Told by Gesmundo why she described De Leon as such, she replied: “Because she introduced herself as Janet Napoles to the implementing agencies.”
“She claimed to be Napoles and some of the officials of the implementing agencies knew her as Napoles,” the witness added.
Baltazar, however, did not explain why De Leon had to pretend to be Napoles.
De Leon is facing 15 counts of graft in the Sandiganbayan Third Division in connection with the alleged misuse of some P345 million from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotments of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.
She was also charged with one count of graft involving the alleged funneling of P450 million in PDAF allocation of Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. to the fake nongovernment organizations (NGOs) that Napoles allegedly founded.
De Leon was the registered president of Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc., one of the fake NGOs used in the PDAF scam.
Stephen David, one of Napoles’ lawyers, played down Baltazar’s testimony. “That’s her invention. It’s just according to her,” David said in an interview with reporters.
“In fact, it’s only now that we have heard that revelation about (Napoles) junior,” he added.
In her testimony, Baltazar said she used to keep the documents of Napoles’ various companies. She said she also did several errands for her, including the payment of the real property taxes of Napoles’ properties.
When she joined JLN Corp. in 2006, Baltazar said she took over the tasks that Napoles previously assigned to Marina Sula, one of the whistle-blowers.