Napoles used ‘plainbeauty’ as password to secret transactions
MANILA, Philippines–Suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles kept records and copies of documents of her transactions with lawmakers in a desktop computer with the password “plainbeauty,” principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy told the Sandiganbayan on Thursday.
Taking the witness stand for the prosecution, Luy testified about the elaborate scheme which Napoles allegedly designed to hoodwink the government billions of pesos in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations of senators and representatives.
Answering questions from the prosecution during his direct examination, Luy maintained that it was Napoles who ordered him and other employees of JLN Corp. to process various documents pertaining to public funds which were funneled into the bogus nongovernment organizations established by Napoles.
He also accused detained Sen. Bong Revilla of endorsing Napoles-linked NGOs as recipients of his PDAF allocations and authorizing lawyer Richard Cambe to collect his “rebates” or kickbacks on the senator’s behalf.
“I was responsible for recording the day-to-day transactions of JLN Corporation. I also prepared a summary of disbursement reports,” Luy told the Sandiganbayan First Division at the continuation of the hearing on Revilla’s bail petition.
“There were records encoded in an iMac computer which has a password of ‘plainbeauty,’” he said, eliciting giggles from those inside the courtroom, including Revilla and his wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado.
He said he personally saw Cambe deliver copies of notice of cash allocations (NCAs) and special allotment release orders (Saros) from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as part of the requirement for the initial payment of Revilla’s share.
Money in trolley bags
He said the senator, who was seated just a few feet away, got 25 percent of the total project cost as initial payment. Another 25 percent was given to Revilla upon the receipt of the Saro from the DBM.
“We placed the money in trolley bags and boxes. I personally saw Cambe count the money in front of (Napoles),” Luy told the court.
“There are also endorsement letters signed by Senator Revilla designating the NGOs of (Napoles) as recipient of his PDAF,” Luy said.
He said Revilla also authorized Cambe, who he said had identified himself as the senator’s chief political officer and acting chief of staff, to collect the money from Napoles’ office at Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center in Pasig City.
Revilla, however, just laughed off Luy’s testimony, saying it was part of a “bad script.”
At times during the court proceedings, the senator shook his head in an apparent show of disagreement with Luy’s testimony. He also stared blankly at the whistle-blower.
“It’s a bad script. I can’t agree with what he said,” Revilla, an actor, told reporters during a break in the hearing.
After the hearing, the senator said: “I can see that I’m close to being released from detention.”
Revilla’s lawyer, Joel Bodegon, blocked the attempt of government prosecutor Joefferson Toribio to let Luy identify the Saro which Cambe allegedly furnished Napoles, arguing Luy was not competent to testify on the validity of the documents.
“It’s immaterial and baseless. The witness is not even an employee of the DBM,” Bodegon told the three-member First Division chaired by Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz.
De la Cruz upheld Bodegon’s objection but thumbed down his request to expunge Luy’s testimony from official records.
Luy also disclosed that documents detailing the pork barrel racket were shredded by Ma. Arlene Baltazar and Merlita Suñas purportedly upon the orders of Napoles.
Revilla’s defense lawyers protested, saying Luy’s claim was “hearsay” since he only learned about it from Baltazar and Suñas.
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