The Philippine government welcomed the help of the United States in recovering the assets of Janet Napoles, the suspected mastermind of a grand scheme that involved the illegal diversion of millions of pesos in public funds.
In a radio interview, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte noted the Philippines enjoys good working relations with the United States.
She cited the case of retired Philippine Army Major General Carlos Garcia whose assets were seized from his family members and forfeited in the US.
“Siyempre po, we welcome all efforts, especially when it comes to matters like these. Nagkaroon na po tayo ng magandang working relationship with the United States,” Valte told government-run dzRB radio.
According to her, the US is swift in initiating forfeiture proceedings.
“Alam kong malaki po ang magiging tulong nila, especially mas mabilis po silang mag-initiate ng forfeiture proceedings,” Valte said.
On Tuesday, July 14, the US justice department moved to seize $12.5 million (P565 million) in assets of Napoles.
It filed a civil forfeiture complaint to gain control over her assets that include a unit at the ritzy Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles estimated to be worth P80 million, a motel near Disneyland, and a Porsche Boxter purchased for her daughter.
Napoles is believed to have masterminded the scheme that involved siphoning lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel to fake non-governmental organizations associated with her. Both Napoles and lawmakers collected commissions from the transactions.
Napoles is currently detained at the Correctional Institution for Women after being found guilty in April 2015 of serious illegal detention of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy. He had worked for her as chief finance officer in her own company, JLN Corporation.
She also faces five counts of plunder, 74 counts of graft, and 14 counts of malversation before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.