Napoles bail plea nears resolution
The bail petition of Janet Lim-Napoles in the plunder case of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile nears resolution after the prosecution finished its presentation of evidence.
Its last witness, socialite Ruby Tuason, concluded her testimony on Tuesday against Napoles, the accused architect of the pork barrel scam.
Tuason has testified that she received the kickbacks for Enrile from Napoles in her office at JLN Corp.
The former social secretary of former President Joseph Estrada also said she delivered Enrile’s kickbacks to his chief of staff Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, who either picked the money up from Tuason’s house or at restaurants over lunch.
In her testimony on Tuesday, Tuason said Enrile sometimes joins them in the restaurant and invites them for coffee.
When asked by Associate Justice Samuel Martires if she ever saw Reyes give any money from the supposed kickbacks to Enrile, Tuason said: “No, I did not.”
Tuason said Reyes picked up Enrile’s kickbacks from her house several times. Asked about the exact number, Tuason said she could not remember.
Tuason said she and Reyes met over lunch in restaurants at least five times.
Tuason said while she was in hiding in California, either the Ombudsman or the National Bureau of Investigation sent her a copy of star witness Benhur Luy’s financial ledger, which detailed the alleged kickbacks to lawmakers and the whistleblowers’ affidavits.
She said she needed Luy’s ledger to guide her in the alleged kickbacks she gave to Reyes for Enrile. Luy is Napoles’ finance officer who turned against her when she detained him on suspicions of starting his own scam.
Tuason said from what she remembered in her dealings as agent for Enrile and another accused Senator Jinggoy Estrada, she had delivered more kickbacks compared to what Luy had recorded.
“I was being guided by the ledger. I didn’t know the exact amounts. I remember giving more than that as far as this is concerned,” Tuason said.
Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang gave the prosecution 10 days to submit its formal offer of evidence, and another 10 days for the defense to comment upon receipt of the prosecution’s formal offer.
The court set the next court hearing at Aug. 28 for the defense to decide if it would present its witness.
If Napoles would want to present her own witnesses, the court set Aug. 28, Sept. 2, 3 and 4 for the presentation of the defense witness.
“After submitting the formal offer of evidence, the bail petition shall be deemed submitted for resolution,” Tang said.
Enrile is under hospital detention and Reyes is detained at the female dormitory of Camp Bagong Diwa for their alleged involvement in the purported scheme of pilfering the senator’s Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks.
In its information against Enrile, the Ombudsman said Enrile received P172 million in commissions in his PDAF from 2004 to 2010.
Tuason, a socialite and social secretary of former President Joseph Estrada, fled the country on Aug. 2013 and returned Feb. 2014 bothered by her conscience to turn into state witness.
She admitted before the court that she served as Estrada’s agent in 2004 and in 2008 and as Enrile’s agent from 2004 to 2009.
Tuason said she received five to 10 percent commissions from Estrada and Enrile’s pork barrel projects.
She returned at least P40 million to government as part of her loot in the scam in exchange for immunity from suit.
Napoles is serving life sentence for the serious illegal detention of her entrusted financial officer Luy.
Tuason is also being investigated for her alleged involvement in the Malampaya fund scam, where at least P900 million in aid for storm victims were instead pilfered into the bogus foundations of Napoles. The Ombudsman has yet to give her immunity from suit.
Napoles had been denied bail in the plunder case of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. Meanwhile, her bail plea as co-accused in Estrada’s plunder case is pending.
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