Names of the successful Bar examinees in 2007 or 2008 were included in the list of supposed beneficiaries of projects funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel of some lawmakers, Merlina Suñas, one of the PDAF witnesses, said on Monday.
Suñas, who testified in the hearing on the petition for bail filed by Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, said they culled names of alleged beneficiaries of ghost livelihood and agricultural projects from newspapers and the yellow pages.
Estrada is facing plunder and graft charges at the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division.
“It so happened na lumabas ang Bar exams during that time at dun kami kumuha ng pangalan [It so happened that the Bar exam results were released during that time and we got the names there],” Suñas said, drawing laughter from those present, including the associate justices.
She added that even Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen was listed as one of the beneficiaries.
“[The name of a Supreme Court [justice], [Marvic Leonen] was included,” Suñas said, adding that she does not know where the name came from.
Leonen, who was named as the government’s chief negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2010, is the youngest magistrate in the High Court.
When asked by Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo who gave them the idea to use the names of the Bar passers, Suñas replied that it was the househelp of Janet Lim-Napoles who gave the suggestion because she happened to see the list of Bar passers in a newspaper.
The witness said Napoles urged her employees, bodyguards and househelp to fabricate names of beneficiaries.
Napoles is also named as a respondent in the plunder and graft complaint filed against Estrada. She is detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City (Metro Manila).