Whistleblower: Napoles often cursed us, broke promises of ‘pork’ kickbacks
MANILA, Philippines — Not only did accused pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles break her promise of giving kickbacks to her employees, she also cursed them while she was their employer in the course of the alleged scam, whistleblower Merlina Suñas told the Sandiganbayan Monday.
During the bail hearing of Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Suñas said Napoles failed to give her what she promised as commissions from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) projects of around one percent.
Napoles’ all-around assistant said that as president of a Napoles-controlled nongovernment organization since 2003, she could have raked in P2 million in commissions from the P200 million funds coursed through the bogus People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation.
While Napoles said some of the kickbacks were spent for other perks such as cars she gave to employees as loyalty gifts, Suñas said half of that one percent was pooled in to serve as back-up funds for legal fees in case the foundations get caught in corruption complaints due to the scam.
“Hindi po lahat ng bagay mapagkakatiwalaan si Napoles… (Tulad nang) bibigyan niya kami ng one percent na komisyon. Hinahati niya to half percent ‘yun at iipunin para sa mga abogado kapag ang mga foundation niya ay nagkakaso sa Ombudsman,” Suñas said, which elicited laughter from the audience dominated by defense and government lawyers.
(Napoles can’t be trusted in all things…such as giving us 1-percent commission. She cut it by half and told us she would save it for legal fees if suits are filed against her foundations with the Ombudsman.)
Napoles was also not particularly nice to her employees, Suñas said, recalling that when she borrows money from Napoles, her boss would say unnecessary foul words against her.
“May mga pagkakataon na minumura niya kami… Pagbibigyan ka po pero may mga dagdag sa mga salita (There were times when she would curse us after giving us money),” Suñas said.
Suñas even recounted Napoles cursing her entrusted finance officer Benhur Luy in a meeting with what she called the “Magic Four.”
Suñas said she, Luy, Evelyn de Leon and Ronald John Lim were part of the group which was directly in charge of preparing and delivering transaction documents pertaining to the scam. De Leon faces graft raps, while Lim is at large for plunder.
She said that in that particular meeting, Napoles caught hold of Luy’s cellphone and read text messages with a certain “Flor” about hidden transactions in an attempt to create their own scam.
“’P*tang ina mo, Benhur, kaya pala ako nawawalan ng pondo,’” Suñas quoted Napoles as telling Luy, who Napoles allegedly detained on suspicions of starting his own scam.
After his rescue by the National Bureau of Investigation, Luy turned state witness and blew the lid on the millions of kickbacks to lawmakers.
Napoles is detained for multiple charges of plunder for being the accused mastermind of pilfering lawmakers’ funds to ghost projects for kickbacks.
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