Businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles cried at Friday’s hearing
on her petition for bail, after pork barrel scam witness Marina Sula made unfavorable statements about former Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s Third Division.
Despite the tears, Napoles, alleged scam brains, denied that Ong was a friend of hers.
“Hindi ko siya kaibigan. Kasi kung kaibigan ko, wala sanang kaso [He is not my friend. If he is, then I will have no case before his sala].”
Napoles was referring to the suit involving allegedly questionable purchase of 500 Kevlar helmets by the Philippine Marines in 1998.
The case was handled by the court’s Fourth Division, which Ong then headed.
He was investigated and subsequently dismissed from the judiciary by the Supreme Court early this year in part for his alleged ties with Napoles.
It was pork scam witnesses Sula and Benhur Luy who had claimed that Ong was Napoles’ contact in the anti-graft court.
Napoles is facing a P172-million plunder charge with Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in the Third Division in connection with the pork barrel racket.
“[I pity Ong, whose name Marina Sula often mentions. Justice Ong did not get even a peso from me],” she told reporters.
Napoles called Sula a “liar.”
During her testimony, the prosecution’s witness said her former boss Napoles had kept citing the magistrate’s name.
After a five-minute break, defense lawyer Stephen David stood to tell the court that his client wanted to say something.
Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice and Third Division Chairman Amparo Cabotaje-Tang told him that Napoles can do so at the proper time if the defense were to present her as a witness for herself.
As David told the court that his client was “sad that an innocent person is being dragged [into the bail hearing],” Napoles was heard sobbing from her seat. David sat, his hands on his temples, crying as well.
Before the break, the matter was brought up when Tang asked Sula whether she knew that forging documents was wrong.
The prosecution’s witness had testified that they forged signatures in various documents related to the implementation of the pork barrel-funded projects (for example, list of beneficiaries) under the instructions of Napoles.
“Opo, alam ko po na mali pero sabi po sa amin ni Madam [Napoles] wag kayong mag-alala, ako ang bahala sa inyo. Tignan niyo ung nangyari sa Kevlar case na-dismiss ung kaso ko [Yes, I knew it was wrong to forge signatures but Mrs. Napoles told us not to worry about it because she will take care of us. She also told us that, look, the Kevlar case was dismissed],” Sula said.
Associate Justice Samuel Martires later asked Sula if she believed that Napoles can buy all the justices of the Sandiganbayan.
“That is the name [Ong’s] that she always mentions and she said that he is her contact in the Sandiganbayan,” the prosecution witness replied.
Tang later told defense lawyer Lanee David, who was cross-examining the witness, to proceed to another matter as she pointed out that the Kevlar case is not the issue in the hearing.
Martires then asked if Napoles mentioned other names. “[She only spoke of] Justice Gregory Ong,” Sula said.
But after the hearing, Napoles told reporters, “God knows, [even if I died, I would still say that I did not give Gregory Ong even a peso].”
She said, “Gusto ko talagang sabunutan e ["I just want to pull her hair],” referring to Sula.
The SC dismissed Ong last September for gross misconduct, dishonesty and impropriety, saying his links to Napoles dragged the judiciary into the pork barrel controversy.
Meanwhile, Napoles refused to comment on her children.
Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles are also respondents in the graft cases leveled against Enrile in connection with the pork barrel scam. They were read charges last Wednesday.