Napoles transacted with Jinggoy’s conduit Juan Ng – witness
MANILA, Philippines – Whistleblower Merlina Sunas on Monday told the Sandiganbayan about the alleged transactions of pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles with Juan Ng, the alleged conduit of detained Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
During Estrada’s bail hearing for plunder, Sunas, an employee of Napoles, said she transferred at least P10 million in funds from the account of Agri-Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (AEPFFI), a Napoles-linked foundation said to have been used to implement the ghost projects for kickbacks.
“There are times when I transferred funds to other lawyers such as Juan Ng,” Sunas told the court.
When asked what the amount was, Sunas said it was P10 million deposited to Ng in 2010.
Sunas was apparently leading off to the inquiry report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the witness from which Estrada’s defense team has vehemently opposed to testify in court.
The report said at least P10 million was deposited to Ng’s Metrobank account on March 31,2010, and the deposit slip indicated a check number that was drawn from the Metrobank account of AEPFFI.
A debit memo of P10 million was also registered in the statement of account of AEPFFI for the purchase of a cashier’s check on March 30, 2010.
Asked who authorized the fund transfer, Sunas said it was Napoles.
Asked where she got the account number of Ng, Sunas said she obtained it from principal whistleblower Benhur Luy, whom Napoles called up to relay the information.
Sunas said she encoded the information for the fund transfer.
“Si Napoles tumawag sa office para ibigay ang account number ni Juan Ng. Hindi ako ang tinawagan, si Benhur Luy lang. Ako ang pumirma ng fund transfer,” Sunas said.
Estrada and Napoles’ lawyers objected to Sunas’ testimony, saying she is not competent to testify about the alleged transaction.
“There’s a difference between fund transfer and withdrawal of funds. We move to strike it out,” Estrada’s lawyer Noel Malaya said.
“She has no basis and is incompetent because she is not Mrs. Napoles,” Napoles’ lawyer Dennis Buenaventura said.
Despite the objections, the court allowed Sunas to continue her testimony during the next hearing.
Principal whistleblower Benhur Luy had mentioned on his ledger that P10 million from AEPFFI was given to Ng as Estrada’s kickbacks in the scam on March 30, 2010, or around the time, the amount was transferred to Ng’s bank account.
The 90-page AMLC report shows how Estrada purportedly hid his wealth in his Statements of Assets and Liabilities Networth and how he received kickbacks through conduits from Napoles.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Estrada was unfazed by Sunas’ testimony pinning Ng before the court.
Estrada has admitted knowing Ng, a steel roofing businessman in San Juan where Estrada served as mayor, but he denied using Ng as channel for kickbacks.
“They were laying the basis or the predicate para ma-link si Mr. Ng doon sa AMLC report. I have nothing to do with it. Siguro may transaksyon sila na hindi ko alam,” Estrada said.
He said he is ready to face the allegations against him due to the AMLC report.
“Matagal ko nang sinasabi sa inyo na palabasin na nila ang pinakamalakas na testigo nila,” Estrada said.
Estrada and Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center as they face plunder and graft charges over the pork barrel scam. Meanwhile, accused senator Juan Ponce Enrile is under hospital detention. Accused mastermind Napoles is also detained for plunder at the Camp Bagong Diwa female dormitory.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.