WHAT WENT BEFORE: Napoles and the pork barrel scam
In July 2013, the Inquirer broke the story of the P10-billion pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Using nongovernment organizations, the scheme involved the channeling of Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations of lawmakers into ghost projects in over 10 years.
The racket came to light when Napoles’ cousin, Benhur Luy, blew the lid on the scam after he was detained, allegedly by the businesswoman. Luy said Napoles had gotten wind of his plan to break away from her group.
In June 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman indicted then Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. for plunder and multiple counts of graft in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Napoles was named a coaccused. She is currently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
In April 2015, Napoles and her brother, Reynald “Jojo” Lim, were convicted in the illegal detention case filed by Luy, but in May 2017, the Court of Appeals, with backing from Solicitor General Jose Calida, overturned the conviction.
Lim was identified by the US Department of Justice as the administrator of properties in the United States of Napoles, allegedly derived from the fruits of the pork barrel scam.
In July 2015, the US justice department filed a civil forfeiture complaint in Los Angeles Federal District Court to gain control of Napoles’ assets in the United States, which are estimated to be worth $12.5 million.
Based on the information filed by the US justice department, Lim holds both US and Philippine passports and operates under the alias Reynaldo Francisco, while his wife, Ana Marie, uses the alias Ana Marie B. Dulguime.
The couple were convicted by the Sandiganbayan in 2010 for falsification of public documents in a separate case involving the delivery of fake Kevlar helmets to the Philippine Marines, but did not serve jail time.
In December 2016, Napoles and children Jo Christine and James Christopher, along with several other government officials, were charged in connection with the misuse of P900 million from the Malampaya Fund.
Royalties from the Malampaya gas wells meant for agrarian reform beneficiaries who were affected by Tropical Storm “Ondoy” and Typhoon “Pepeng” in 2009 were allegedly funneled to ghost livelihood projects.
The Napoleses were accused of forging the request letters from the mayors of 97 municipalities and cities in Luzon.
They face two counts of plunder, 97 counts of malversation through falsification of public documents, and 97 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
At the height of the pork barrel controversy, Napoles’ daughter, Jeane Catherine, was cast into the limelight after her lavish lifestyle was publicized.
A tax evasion case was filed against Jeane for failing to pay P17.88 million in taxes on her Ritz-Carlton apartment in California in 2011 and a farm lot in Pangasinan province in 2012. In December 2017, however, the Court of Tax Appeals dismissed the case against her due to “insufficiency of evidence.”
SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES