TRADER Janet Lim Napoles is ready to face any investigation regarding the alleged release of P10 billion in lawmakers’ pork barrel to ghost agencies, her camp said on Wednesday.
Napoles’ counsel Bruce Rivera called a press conference yesterday to deny that his client knew any of the senators and congressmen implicated in the reported P10 billion pork barrel scam. Rivera said Napoles is willing to confront her accusers.
Rivera claimed that Levito Baligod, lawyer of whistleblower Benhur Luy, tried to extort P300 million from Napoles in exchange for the dropping of the serious illegal detention charges they filed against her and her brother, Reynald.
A statement issued by Napoles said that she met Baligod on March 27, 2013.
“I received the biggest shock in my life when he tried to extort almost P300 million in exchange for the dropping of charges and a quiet life afterwards,” she said.
She added that the lawyer “also demanded I facilitate the issuance of Canadian visas for all the Luy family plus a pocket money amounting to $1.5 million and the setting up of a pharmacy that will serve as the business of the youngest Luy sibling who is not going to Canada.”
“It is clear that the extortion and blackmail are the motive behind the series of articles, which appeared in (a newspaper) and was no doubt fed by unidentified NBI agents who are wittingly being used by Atty. Baligod and the Luy family for their own selfish motives,” Napoles said.
According to Rivera, Napoles, owner of JLN Corp., is willing to be investigated but at the proper forum.
“If it is a formal charge there will at least be proof and evidence involved,” he said.
But the lawyer refused to reveal the whereabouts of Napoles citing security concerns.
Napoles was investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for the alleged illegal detention of Benhur Luy.
But the case was dismissed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Rivera said they are considering filing charges against the whistle-blowers and a newspaper that run a series of stories about Napoles.
“We are at a PR (public relations) challenge. We are still trying to fix what has been devastated,” he said.
Rivera said Napoles is appealing for fairness from the media. She also assailed the credibility of Luy whom she referred to as a self-confessed drug addict.
Also yesterday, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) urged the DOJ to file charges against Napoles.
In a press briefing at Club Filipino in San Juan City, PLM chairman Sonny Melencio said they will be holding a picket rally to urge the DOJ to arrest Napoles.
Melencio said they will also go to the NBI to express their support to the whistleblowers.
“We are calling for the investigation of all the senators and congressmen na na-implicate dito, mga 28 yan pero marami pa yan. We want also to investigate the P10 million that was given to the Liberal Party, lahat sila tahimik dyan,” he added.
The PLM chair also called on the DOJ to include Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa in its investigation.