• Sula did not see Lanete at JLN

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    Witness Marina Sula said she never saw former Masbate Representative and now Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete in any special occasion at JLN Corporation nor sign any documents.

    Sula, Janet Lim Napoles’ former employee-turned witness, testified on Tuesday before the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division which is hearing Lanete’s bail petition over a plunder charge in connection with the pork barrel scam.

    Lanete’s lawyer Laurence Arroyo told reporters after the hearing that “the most important admission was she never saw Congresswoman Lanete sign any document.”

    “In fact, she also mentioned she never saw [former]Cong-resswoman Lanete at any of the parties or special occasions at JLN Corporation or any party or event hosted by Mrs. Napoles all through these years,” Arroyo said.

    In last week’s hearing, Sula testified Lanete’s aide Jose Sumalpong went to JLN’s office “a lot of times” during 2006 to 2013 to allegedly talk to Napoles and submit documents.

    Asked how she knows Lanete had transactions, the witness replied, “When I see Sumalpong at the office.”

    Sula claimed she heard Sumalpong ask then JLN finance officer Benhur Luy if the money was available, but admitted that she was not privy to the money.

    On Tuesday’s hearing, Arroyo quizzed Sula about statements she had made regarding personalities who were allegedly at JLN events.

    The witness explained she mentioned Sumalpong as among those personalities in an August 2013 statement, but not in a statement executed before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), because those in the latter statement were the only persons she can remember at the time.

    “I was nervous at the time,” she said, adding that it was her first time to face an NBI agent.

    Sula said she was also “scared” when she received a letter of summons from the NBI.

    Arroyo asked her if it was because she did something wrong and forged documents to which she replied, “Yes sir, I knew about the forging.”

    Sula said she realized it was wrong “when they signed me above the name of the trustees [of an NGO]” in 2003.

    Associate Justice Alex Quiroz then tested her and asked how much, more or less, were her commissions.

    It was “more or less P4 million” since 2004, she told the court, “big enough” for her family. Sula has two children.

    Napoles allegedly promised her one-percent commission for every transaction, but did not fulfill her promise and gave only half or 0.5 percent.

    Sula said that she testified because she did not want to go to prison.

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