AT least 97 local chief executives who supposedly benefited from the Malampaya gas fund scam were spared from criminal charges by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in exchange for their support for her senatorial bid in the 2016 elections, according to an unsigned affidavit made by Janet Lim-Napoles.
Napoles, in her 30-page affidavit submitted by former senator Panfilo Lacson to the Senate, claimed that lawyer Levito Baligod, who used to represent Benhur Luy, talked to the 97 mayors implicated in the Malampaya fund scam and told them that they will be excluded from the charges if they will support the Senate dream of de Lima.
The P900-million Malampaya fund released by the government in 2009 was intended to assist local government units affected by typhoons.
The fund represents royalties of the Philippine government from the natural gas exploration project in western Palawan province.
It was Ruby Tuason who allegedly approached Napoles in 2009 and told her that she will get money from Malacañang from the Malampaya fund and that a portion of the money will be used for the 2010 elections.
Tuason has since turned state witness against the alleged pork scammers.
Napoles in her unsigned affidavit narrated that Tuason was asking for a 60 percent commission from the transaction that she intends to share with other individuals.
The businesswoman agreed to the proposal as she expected to get five percent commission from the P900-million fund excluding the 35 percent production cost for agricultural equipment that will be distributed to local government units affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
Napoles said it was Tuason who provided her the list of 97 mayors and their respective municipalities.
“There is an urgent need to release the Malampaya fund before the end of the year  because of the 2010 elections. We are also pressured to do it considering that we have given the advance payment of 60 percent commission as agreed upon,” she stated in her affidavit.
When the group of Napoles was ready to deliver the supposed materials to the local chief executives, Tuason said the deliveries should be made in cash instead because the mayors would use the money to fund their campaign.
Napoles initially refused but was later prompted to comply because she has to make sure that she will get her investment back, meaning the cash advances she had released to Tuason.
After the Malampaya fund transaction was completed, Tuason was able to build a house in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City amounting to P300 million, she said.
“Aside from the P900-million Malampaya fund, Ruby was also able to bring in different project insertions of other politicians amounting to P50 million and P300 million,” the affidavit said without elaborating.
Napoles found out later that none of the 97 local chief executives who supposedly benefited from the Malampaya fund were included in the case filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) before the Office of the Ombudsman.
She was referring to the plunder complaint filed by the DOJ in October 2013 against 22 individuals including former President Gloria Arroyo, her former executive secretary Eduardo Ermita and Napoles in connection with their supposed involvement in the Malampaya fund mess.
Also included in the complaint were former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman, his former Undersecretary Narciso Nieto and finance officer Teresita Panlilio and several heads of non-government organizations (NGOs) linked to Napoles.
But Baligod in a chance interview at the Senate said the affidavit was full of lies and deceit.
He denied Napoles’ claims that he talked to the 97 mayors and asked them to support de Lima on her plan to run for the Senate.
In fact, Baligod said, field investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman personally visited the 97 municipalities and their respective chief executives who supposedly benefited from the Malampaya fund scandal and found that their signatures were forged.