Whistleblower admits receiving Innova from Napoles
MANILA, Philippines — A whistleblower in the pork barrel scam told the Sandiganbayan on Friday that accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles gave her an Innova that was allegedly purchased using proceeds from the scam.
During Napoles’ bail hearing on plunder charges, Marina Sula, who worked for Napoles’ JLN Corp., said an Innova 2010 model was given to her as a debt of service during the 2009 anniversary of Napoles’ company.
Sula said the car was still under Napoles’ name despite the fact that Napoles changed her mind and deducted half of the car’s P1.1 million purchase price from Sula’s kickbacks in the scam.
The whisteblower said she is willing to return the Innova to the government since the vehicle was allegedly bought using public funds.
“I will not return it to Napoles. I will return it to government because it came from Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) proceeds,” Sula said in Filipino.
Justice Samuel Martires asked Sula if she is happy that she is still in possession of the vehicle, which Sula said is now being used by her husband.
Sula said: “In a sense, happy kasi nagagamit pero hindi happy kasi galing to sa PDAF proceeds.”
She also said the the Anti-Money Laundering Council did not stop her from using the vehicle even though the Innova is part of the freeze order in connection with the forfeiture case against Napoles before the Manila Regional Trial Court.
“Basta kapag hindi pa po nakukuha ng gobyerno, pwede pa rin po namin gamitin,” Sula said.
When asked how she would react if the public judges her for using a vehicle bought using taxpayers’ money, she said: “Ang mahalaga po ang aking pagkatao at paano ko gamitin (ang Innova).”
In a rare interview after the hearing, Napoles denied giving Sula a car. Napoles also dismissed claims that the car was bought using PDAF. She said it was her company that paid for the car.
Napoles said Sula’s husband, who she knows from the Philippine Navy, borrowed the car from her but he never returned it after the alleged scam erupted.
“Hiniram ang sasakyan na yan para sa Alay Lakad. Unfortunately hindi na binalik kasi nagkaproblema na kami,” Napoles said.
Napoles faces plunder and graft charges for allegedly masterminding the elaborate scheme diverting lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds to ghost projects for kickbacks. She is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa female ward.
The hearing over the scam has also resulted in the detention for plunder of Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.
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