MANILA - Before moving on to senators, businesswoman and alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles first offered her services to members of the House of Representatives after getting an introduction from actor Mat Ranillo, a lawyer of the pork scam whistle-blowers said Wednesday.
Lawyer Levito Baligod said his client, Benhur Luy, told him that Ranillo introduced Napoles to members of the House of Representatives. Napoles would then offer hefty kickbacks to the congressmen for every pork barrel-funded project that the lawmakers would funnel to her foundations.
Baligod said Ranillo and Napoles had a falling-out since the businesswoman no longer needed the actor after he made the introductions.
"Nung mga congressman pa lang ang kanyang kliyente, si Matt Ranillo na po ang nagpakilala. Ang unang mga kliyente ni Mrs. Napoles ay mga congressman. Nagkaroon sila ng alitan dahil nung nalaman na ni Mrs. Napoles yung congressman, siya ay dumederecho at na etsa puwera na si Mat Ranillo," he said in a radio DZMM interview.
Ranillo was also linked to the scam by Ruby Tuason, former social secretary of former president Joseph Estrada and the alleged conduit of pork barrel kickbacks for Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile.
In her affidavit filed before the National Bureau of Investigation, Tuason said Ranillo delivered P11,970,000 in kickbacks to a house at No. 1564 Mahogany Street, Dasmariñas Village in Makati City. She said Justa Tantoco, who is identified as a member of the MARE Foundation of former senator Loi Estrada, lives in that place.
Napoles is accused of setting up fake non-government organizations that acted as conduits for ghost projects funded by the priority development assistance funds of lawmakers. Whistle-blowers earlier said Mrs. Napoles offered as much as 50% in kickbacks to lawmakers who funneled their funds to her foundations.
A Commission on Audit report earlier said some P2.157 billion in PDAF went to Napoles-linked NGOs from 2007-2009.
Napoles, Senators Estrada, Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr., and 34 others are facing a plunder complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged links to the scam.