Mat Ranillo raised alarm on Napoles, lawyer says
MANILA – Actor Mat Ranillo III sounded the alarm on the alleged illegal activities of Janet Lim Napoles as early as 2007, but no one listened to him, his lawyer said.
“As early as 2007, inalarma na ni Mr. Ranillo ang ating mga mambabatas tungkol sa mga aktibidades ni Mrs. Napoles, pero anong nangyari? Walang nakinig sa kanya,” Atty. Morel Callueng said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News' North America Bureau.
Ranillo, after finding out that was been linked by whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Ruby Tuason to the pork barrel scam, expressed dismay and disappointment, according to Callueng.
He said Ranillo and Napoles met some time in 2004, where Napoles offered to help the actor in his candidacy for Zamboanga congressman.
Ranillo also returned in 2007 whatever he earned from his transactions with Napoles, Callueng said.
Asked if they have documents supporting this claim, Callueng said: “Meron. Sasabihin namin yon, ipre-presenta namin yon in due time.”
Ranillo allegedly decided to migrate to the US with family in 2009 after failing to find someone in the government to listen to his expose about Napoles.
"I see actors, I see politicians na wala lang. 'Di kagaya sa atin, it's a big deal. Dito (US) parang everybody's pantay-pantay lang,” Ranillo allegedly said.
Now, following Tuason’s testimony, Ranillo might be summoned by Senate to shed light on his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
The NBI, meantime, is still studying Ranillo’s role in the controversy.
Ranillo's lawyer said they have yet to receive any communication from any government agency, but the actor is willing to return to the country to help in the investigation.
“So in due time, pag naaral naming lahat at ayos ang seguridad nya at pwede syang umuwi, bakit hindi?” Callueng said.
His lawyer said Ranillo has a clean conscience, and is ready to answer the public's questions, when the time comes.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier said the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into the possible involvement of actor Mat Ranillo in the scam.
In her affidavit submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation, socialite and former Palace aide Ruby Tuason claimed Ranillo delivered over P11 million in alleged pork barrel kickbacks to a friend of the Estrada family identified as Justa Tantoco.
Tuason claimed the money was meant for Sen. Jinggoy Estrada as kickbacks from his pork barrel funds that were funneled to non-government organizations set up by Napoles.
De Lima said Ranillo also received payment vouchers from JLN Corporation, which is owned by Napoles.
Levito Baligod, the lawyer of the pork scam whistle-blowers, earlier said he received information that it was Ranillo who introduced Napoles to some lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
He said Ranillo and Napoles had a falling-out after the businesswoman decided she no longer needed the actor after he made the introductions.
Fashion designer Eddie Baddeo, who was among the first whistleblowers to come out against Napoles, also alleged that Ranillo was involved in the scam.
Baddeo said Napoles asked him to focus on officials in Central Luzon, while Ranillo was tasked to talk to other officials.
ABS-CBN News has acquired copies of disbursement vouchers showing alleged commissions of Ranillo from JLN Corporation.
Whistleblower Benhur Luy said the actor still has the vouchers used in his transactions with Napoles.
In voucher number 4289, Ranillo got more than P1 million in commission in 2005, from a P30-million project allegedly under the name of Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
That same year, Ranillo also got more than P1 million from a P71-million project allegedly under the name of Estrada's mother, then-Senator Loi Ejercito, based on voucher number 5472.
Still in 2005, Ranillo supposedly received almost P500,000 from a P10-million project also allegedly under Mrs. Ejercito's name, in voucher number 5787.
In another voucher, there's a combined P15-million project of a certain "Inay" and "Anak" in 2006 wherein Ranillo also got a commission.
The vouchers were submitted by the actor to a Marikina court in 2007 to prove that he was already paying for a vehicle he bought from Napoles through amounts which were being deducted from his commissions.
Napoles filed charges against Ranillo to recover the vehicle -- a case eventually dismissed after the parties reached a settlement.