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Court freezes Napoles assets

/ 04:00 PM April 03, 2014

Janet Lim-Napoles. PNP-PIO FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila City Regional Trial Court Branch 22 has indefinitely frozen the assets of Janet Lim Napoles, her family and other people linked in the pork barrel scam.

Total among in the bank accounts covered by the Asset Preservation Order is worth P119.917 million while the total dollar account covered by the APO is $696,635.02.

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The APO was issued after the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) sought the forfeiture of assets after their investigation showed that despite absence of legitimate income, there was a spike in the bank accounts and other monetary instruments during the period of the pork barrel scam.

Covered by the APO, aside from Janet Lim-Napoles, are her husband Jaime and their children Jo Christine, James Christopher, Jeane Catherine, Jane Catherine and John Christian; and Napoles’ brother Reynald Lim, also her co-accused in the serious illegal detention case pending before a Makati Regional Trial court.

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The APO is effective during the entire pendency of the forfeiture case.

Also covered by the APO are assets of the following:

* Arthur Luy

* Gertrudes Luy

* William Lim

* Simonette Briones

* Ruby Tuason

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* Benhur Luy

* Edgar Tan

* Patricia Tan

* Erwin Cagas Dangwa

* Florante Nacor

* Flordeliz Escalera Galido

* Francis Palmones Jr.

* Hector Ang

* Jacquelina Ang

* Rodolfo Plaza

* Shirley Marie Plaza

* Maria Isabel Plaza

* Energy Regulatory Commission chair Zenaida Cruz-Ducut

* Ana Marie Lim

* Agrikultura Para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc.

* Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc.

* Bukirin Tanglaw Foundation

* Countrywide Agricultural and Rural Economic Development Foundation

* Masaganang Buhay Foundation Inc.

* People’s Organization for Progress and Dev’t Foundation Inc.

* Social Dev’t Program for Farmers Foundation Inc.,

* JLN Construction and Dev’t Corp.

*  JLN Corporation

* Jo-Christine Trading

* JCLN Global Properties Devt Corp.

* JCLN Real Estate Consortium Inc.

* ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp.

Meanwhile, respondents argued that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) violated the Bank Secrecy Law when it conducted an investigation on their bank accounts.

But the court said “the right to financial privacy is not absolute because the law never meant to shield criminals from prosecution and punishment.”

“Under the police power of the state, public interest i.e. the right of the government to protect society against crime and the right of society to demand such protection from the government is of paramount importance than individual rights, more specifically, the right to secrecy of bank deposits,” the court, through Executive Judge Marino Dela Cruz Jr. said.

The order prohibits the “transaction, transfer, removal, conversion, concealment or other disposition” of the subject accounts, assets and properties.

The court also said that the evidence presented by the Napoles family and their companies “failed to overcome the probable cause finding of the Court that their bank accounts and other properties are linked to the predicate crimes alleged in the petition and to prove their claim that the funds in the bank and the properties subject of the PAPO (Provisional Asset Preservation Order) were legitimately acquired.”

“A perusal of the allegations of the petition would show that the source of their bank deposits originated from the NGOs which were the recipients of the government funds (Priority Development Assistance Fund),” the court added.

“That a study of the transactional behavior of the subject accounts would show significant increases or spikes during said period; that the subject real properties and motor vehicles are not only registered in the names of the individuals and/or entities link to the pork barrel scam but were also acquired and/or registered during the material dates of the Pork Barrel Scam,” the AMLC said in their petition.

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Originally posted at 2:04 p.m.

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TAGS: Janet Lim Napoles, Judiciary, Manila RTC, pork barrel scam
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