MALACAÑANG on Monday said the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) must look into reports that alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles still keeps millions worth of hidden assets.
Reacting to The Manila Times report on Napoles’ supposed hidden wealth, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said AMLC is mandated to track these pieces of property and bank accounts.
“We are confident that AMLC will abide by its mandate and look into the alleged accounts of Mrs. Napoles should there [be]sufficient proof based on its investigation,” Coloma added.
In an interview on Sunday, Raji Mendoza, lawyer for principal witness Benhur Luy, said whistleblowers in the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam were aware that their former boss had stashed her money and jewelry in a safe place.
”The witnesses know that there are in fact personal [pieces of property]that are unaccounted for. At least one of these is worth P200 million,” Mendoza said.
Luy was the first to blow the whistle on the scam.
His lawyer noted that AMLC has been sitting on the information rather than acting on it.
“We already told them about this and the witnesses are willing to help but AMLC has no reply,” Mendoza said.
Coloma said the Palace will verify Mendoza’s claims with AMLC.
Luy’s lawyer said his client is “unhappy” over the freezing of his assets.
“The law protects them also under the WPP [Witness Protection Program]. [They should be] protected from forfeiture. The court ordered the submission of memoranda on our position to discharge his assets. Three weeks probably, hopefully, [that is fast enough],” Mendoza said.
Two months ago, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 22 issued an assets preservation order, which froze the bank accounts of Luy’s family and assets that they acquired in the last decade.
In his motion, Luy said the court should immediately lift the order because the money in his bank accounts came from legitimate sources, including his salaries during his 10-year employment with Napoles.
Covered by the assets preservation order were Luy’s dollar account with BPI containing $15,008, as well as his peso accounts with Metrobank and United Coconut Planters Bank; his brother Arthur’s BDO account containing P940,000; and their mother Gertrudes’ Metrobank account.
Among the frozen pieces of property were a 2013 Mitsubishi Lancer belonging to Arthur, as well as Benhur’s Eastworld Mox motorcycle, 2010 Mitsubishi Montero Sport G and a 2004 Toyota Corolla Altis.