Janet Lim Napoles is indeed a very powerful and well-connected woman. So powerful, she was able to stop the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee from investigating her not just once but twice.
The first time was in 2006 and is well documented by various media outlets.
The second time – in late 2008 to early 2009 – is not so well known.
The Napoles pork scandal may have lifted the veil on why in a sea of poverty, a few Filipinos are super-wealthy.
If true, today’s testimony of Ruby Tuason is a shocking tale of greed. It calls to mind what Mario Puzo in The Godfather wrote paraphrasing Honoré de Balzac – that “behind every great fortune there is a crime.”
Tuason sheds a bit more light on why then Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon simply stopped investigating Janet Lim Napoles on the fertilizer fund scam from 2008 to 2009.
The pork suspect-turned-whistleblower narrated today under oath how Napoles tried to persuade her to use her connections to stop Gordon’s 2008-2009 investigation:
“I was in the States at that time. She (Janet Lim Napoles) kept on bugging me to come back to help her. I said I can’t.”
But apparently, Napoles found a way without Tuason’s help. It turned out, she no longer needed Tuason.
And Napoles continued to corner senators’ pork in bigger and bigger amounts, until she made the mistake of quarreling with her assistant Benhur Luy and forcing him to go on a “spiritual retreat” – which Luy claimed was another word for kidnapping.
Just to put my narration in context, let me go back to 2006 when the Senate Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee conducted a joint investigation of the fertilizer fund scam of Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante.
According to Senate Agriculture Committee chair Ramon “Jun” Magsaysay, Janet Lim Napoles was about to testify on her part in the scam when her appearance was overtaken by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s order barring all government officials under the executive department from attending congressional probes without Arroyo’s consent. Magsaysay was quoted by radio station DZMM as saying that
“She (Janet Lim Napoles) was not summoned to the first five hearings but on the 6th one, which was supposed to be on February 25, (2006), na kasama siya, walang dumating because of Executive Order 464 from Malacañang.”
It would take another two years before the Senate would investigate the fertilizer scam once more. Shortly before Christmas of 2008, Senator Richard Gordon gave Janet Lim Napoles a nasty Christmas gift. Gordon issued the following press release saying he had issued a subpoena against Janet Lim Napoles, the government’s second largest supplier of fertilizer on record.
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