IF her affidavit were to be believed, suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles was duped by some lawmakers and their agents who ran away with cash advances for projects that were never given to her.
In the affidavit, which she submitted to the Justice department and eventually to the Senate, Napoles claimed that there were numerous incidents where she was apparently cheated by her contacts, who either ran away with her money or luxury cars that were “borrowed” from her.
She said the agents would ask for vehicles instead of cash as their “cash advance.”
Napoles, who had denied being the brains of the pork barrel scam that misused the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of senators and congressmen, was known for giving huge cash advances to lawmakers and agents. These were part of “kickbacks” or commissions from mostly bogus projects funded by the pork barrel of lawmakers.
In her affidavit, Napoles narrated 18 instances where she was cheated, including her transaction with Ruby Tuason, to whom she gave millions in exchange for a project involving the Malampaya fund.
Tuason is now a government witness in the pork barrel and Malamapaya fund scam. She returned P40 million to government, representing the amount of kickbacks she supposedly got from her illicit transactions.
Napoles claimed that Bataan Rep. Antonio Roman, through his agents Allen Ruste and a “Mayor Payumo,” got more than P2 million in cash advances. But she said the project promised to her was given to another contractor.
Also, Quezon City Rep. Nanette Daza demanded a cash advance of P3 million for a project that was eventually awarded to a different contractor. Around that time, Napoles said Daza even asked for a lechon baka (roast beef) for an event.
The late Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo also got cash advances through Tuason, according to Napoles, but the P10-million project that was supposed to be hers was “sold” by Arroyo’s chief of staff to a different contractor.
Catherine Mae “Maya” Santos, a former official of the Agriculture department who also reportedly acted as agent for the projects of Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Loren Legarda, got away with P5 million in cash advance using a “fake” special allotment release order (Saro).
Napoles narrated that Santos offered her a P100-million supply project but when she went to follow up the document, she was told that the Sro was fake. The P5 million was never returned.
In the same fashion, Rep. Maria Valentian Plaza, through her agent Chris Lindo, allegedly took 30 percent of a P15-million PDAF project.
Then Rep. Jose Solis, through agent Cora Gonzales, sought a cash advance of P1.75 million in 2004. When the project did not push through, Napoles said she expected
the money to be returned to her but it was not.
Johnny Roxas, a representative of a “Congressman Romero,” meanwhile, borrowed a Honda CRV (WES 643). The vehicle was never returned and Napoles wondered how Roxas managed to transfer the ownership of the car to himself.
Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, through Maite Defensor, herself a local politician in Quezon City, allegedly got P1 million in cash advance but the money was not returned despite the cancelation of the project.
Rep. Recom Echiverri also got P1 million in cash advance besides some P800 worth of radio transmitters. Napoles said Echiverri returned P500,000 to her.
Tet De Joya also demanded two cars—a Toyota Camry and a Honda CRV—in advance for a project. Napoles claimed the project was given not to her but to Patricia Agana Tan and Baby Villanueva.
Like Echiverri, former Rep. Eduardo Zialcita returned only a portion of his P5 million cash advance while the uncle of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, identified only by Napoles as “Tito Boy,” returned funds much less than what she gave him.
The other officials who got advance payments from the businesswoman for botched projects were Edgar Espinosa, who got 40 percent in rebates from previous projects; Julieta Cortuna, P2 million; former Speaker Prospero Nograles, P500,000; and Roger Mercado, P1 million.