FROM being an influential businesswoman to being tagged as “pork barrel queen,” Janet Lim-Napoles is now noting but a butt of jokes.
No less than President Benigno Aquino 3rd cracked the Napoles joke on Friday in Malacanang which elicited laughter from local and foreign diplomats.
During the courtesy call of the “Winter Escapade—It’s More Fun In The Philippines” Tour in the Palace, Aquino said somebody sent him a text message last week that contained the joke that he shared to everyone present.
“You know we are known to be the ‘text capital’. And last week I received a text about the issue on PDAF [priority development assistance fund]where allegedly there were some government officials who abused this and pocketed [funds],” the president said.
Turning to a jokingly mood, Aquino said the text told of a story of how television producers of “Maalaala Mo Kaya”, a long-running drama program aired over ABS-CBN, planned to make an episode depicting the life of Napoles.
“So natural ho, dumating ‘yong mga scriptwriter, in-interview si Mrs. Napoles at itinanong ng iba-ibang detalye. Sa bawat tanong po ng mga scriptwriter ang sinasabi raw ho ni Mrs. Napoles ay ‘Hindi ko maalala ‘yan’,” the president said, drawing loud laughs from the audience.
“May tinanong na ibang bagay, ‘Wala akong maalalang ganyan.’ Pagkatapos po ng 5 o 6 na oras sa kaka-interview, wala pa hong nasusulat ang scripwriter, hindi na po matutuloy raw ‘yong episode ng “Maalaala Mo Kaya’,” he added.
In the audience were Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder and his wife, Senator Tobias Enverga and his wife, Ambassador Leslie Gatan, Undersecretary Maria Theresa Martinez, Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta and participants of the 2014 Winter Escapade.
Napoles was said to be the mastermind in the P10 billion PDAF scam which saw huge government funds finding their way into the pockets of corrupt politicians and government officials. Napoles allegedly put up fake foundations that siphoned off money from the government coffers to their bank accounts.
Three senators— Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.— have been charged with plunder in connection with the scam. Several congressmen were also slapped with the same charges.
Napoles remains incarcerated inside Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna province for illegal detention charges. The PDAF scam is presently being investigated by Congress.