Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles had transactions with another former Masbate lawmaker, pork barrel scam witness Benhur Luy told the Sandigan-bayan’s Fourth Division.
The graft court is hearing the bail petition of former Masbate Representative and now Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, who is detained in a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig over a plunder charge in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Luy testified that in 2003, he first met Lanete’s aide Jose Sumalpong in the Serendipity Lounge at the 22nd floor of Discovery Suites along with Napoles, a certain Nathaniel Tan “and that lawmaker sir.”
The witness at first was not answering who the lawmaker was.
Later he said, “It is a former,” and he made the sign of the cross before continuing, “the late former Congressman Fausto Seachon, the brother of Rizalina Seachon-Lanete.”
Seachon was assassinated in 2007 outside his house in Caloocan City.
Prosecutor Jacinto Dela Cruz asked the witness what the relation of Seachon was to Napoles.
“The Congressman is the client of Mrs. Napoles sir. She’s dealing with the PDAF of the former Congressman also your honor,” Luy said, adding that Sumalpong was also the late lawmaker’s aide.
It was through Sumalpong that Lanete came to have transactions with Napoles, he said at an earlier part in the hearing. The congresswoman allegedly had transactions from 2004 to 2010.
The documents were project listing, endorsement letter, Special Allotment Release Order (Saro), and Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA).
In 2004, Luy said, Napoles and he met with Sumalpong to discuss the percentage of kickback to be allegedly given to Lanete and that they agreed at 60 percent.
The witness also testified that there were two phone conversations with Lanete in 2007.
During the first phone call, Luy said he called Lanete’s district staff Jeanette Dela Cruz who passed on the phone to the lawmaker.
Luy told the court that Lanete informed him that she was the congresswoman and to call her “Dayang.” He added that Lanete asked “kung pwede yung items na idedeliver namin kulay orange color [if the items we will deliver can be of the color orange]” which he said he thought was the lawmaker’s favorite color.
Lanete, who was present in the courtroom, can be seen shaking her head.
The Office of the Ombudsman filed the plunder and graft charges against Lanete last February, alleging that her PDAF allocation was never used for the intended agricultural and livelihood projects.
She allegedly received kickbacks totaling P108.405 million by pouring her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocation to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) allegedly run by Napoles.