DOJ poised to seek freezing of Napoles’ assets

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) is on its way in seeking a freeze order on the bank accounts of Janet Napoles, the businesswoman who allegedly benefited from the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund of lawmakers thru her bogus nongovernment organizations, it was learned Tuesday.

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Justice Secretary Leila de Lima made the disclosure at the sidelines of the launch of the House Bill 2300 or Philippine Code of Crimes which will replace the Revised Penal Code.

“We cannot be commenting on the fine details about that at this point because of the ongoing investigation. It would not be advisable to announce such moves in advance, but we are working on it,” de Lima told reporters.

In securing a freeze order, the Justice department would have to make a request before the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). The AMLC will then evaluate if such move has enough merit for them to ask a freeze order before a court.

Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Dasmariñas Cavite earlier urged the Department of Justice to push for the freezing of Napoles’ assets, considering that the Justice department has already placed Napoles and her children under the Bureau of Immigration watch list.

“They should file a petition for the issuance of freeze order in so far as the bank accounts of Napoles and other NGOs are concerned and if necessary, file a writ of attachment against Napoles and her cohorts on the basis of the testimonies of their whistleblowers,” Barzaga, Chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements, pointed out.

“Without taking these legal steps, the government may not be able to recover anything from Napoles. It would not be farfetched to conclude that right now, there might already be some disposition of her properties, Barzaga added.

In addition, de Lima called on the 97 Mayors—whose signatures were forged by the JLN employees and staff by making it appear that these Mayors benefited from the P900 million Malampaya fund mess—to come out and clear their name before the Justice department.

JLN Inc. is a company owned by Janet Lim-Napoles and was identified as the mother unit of the fake nongovernment organizations which allegedly benefited from the P10 billion PDAF of lawmakers in the last decade.

“We invited them because we need them to tell us that they really have nothing to do with this, that they never made a request for JLN or to any member of Congress, thru the Malampaya fund,” de Lima said.

“We need their statements as corroborative evidence,” de Lima added. LLANESCA T. PANTI

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