The P2 billion that Janet Lim-Napoles reportedly offered to return to the government is “puny” because the businesswoman pocketed a far bigger amount from her pork barrel transactions with lawmakers, Raji Mendoza, counsel of Benhur Luy, said on Wednesday.
Mendoza urged Napoles to return all of her loot, not just the P2 billion.
The lawyer noted that the businesswoman raked in more than P2 billion if her commissions from pork barrel and Malampaya transactions and from the fertilizer fund scam are put together.
“Mukhang binabarat tayo dito [She is being stingy],” Mendoza told The Manila Times.
Napoles had offered to return P100 million to P200 million but recent reports say the amount ballooned to P2 billion. The businesswoman had claimed that she only got 10 percent commission from projects awarded to her non-government organizations (NGOs) funded by the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of lawmakers.
But Mendoza disputed this.
“Our witnesses claimed that she got 35 percent to 40 percent [commission from the transactions],” he countered.
“Because of this, we can see that she’s still holding back. Hangga’t pwede pa may itago [if she will be allowed to hide her wealth]she will. Tuso [She is wily],” Mendoza said.
He noted that Napoles may have deposited much of her money in foreign banks or used some of it to purchase assets abroad.
“Dapat lang isauli niya, pero higit pa sa ino-offer niya [It’s only right that she return the money, but it should be more that what she is offering]. JLN already deposited large amounts of money in the United States and most of these were already invested in real estate, jewelry and luxury cars,” Mendoza said of the businesswoman, using her initials.
Moreover, he added, Napoles’ “income” from various anomalous transactions could have grown if she invested her money here and abroad.
Luy, a former employee of Napoles, earlier said the businesswoman kept millions in cold cash in her house, that is why she was able to give advance “commissions” to lawmakers who promised to give her projects funded by their PDAF.
A freeze order was issued against Napoles but this only covered property and bank accounts registered in her name.
Luy’s camp claimed that some of Napoles’ assets were invested in companies or placed in accounts named after other people.
‘We don’t need Napoles’
Mendoza vowed to block any move to make Napoles a state witness.
“We will not adhere to the idea of her being one. Luy and the whistleblowers are enough to convict the guilty,” he told The Times.
“We don’t need Janet Napoles. Wala pa po siyang naidagdag para makatulong sa kaso [She has not contributed anything to strengthen the case against those involved in pork scam]. In fact ginulo pa niya [she made it muddier],” Mendoza said.
The lawyer maintained that Napoles is confusing everybody by implicating so many people even if she has no evidence to prove her claims.
“Her credibility is an issue. She implicated some legislators without any proof,” Mendoza said.
He noted that this could be part of Napoles’ strategy to delay the plunder complaint filed against her and other respondents.
The lawyer said the “evidence” that Napoles may be talking about could be Luy’s digital files. He stressed that Luy has all the documents and records of the pork barrel transactions.
“Her affidavit has no value and she just wants to save herself,” Mendoza said.