Napoles sent millions of dollars to US: documents

Exclusive report by Henry Omaga-Diaz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2014 09:17 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2014 05:54 AM

MANILA - Janet Lim Napoles allegedly sent millions of dollars to the United States which were deposited in banks and used for investments, according to documents belonging to state witnesses in the pork barrel scam.

In the records alone of key whistleblower Benhur Luy, dollar remittances ranging anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 were made almost every week in 2011.

In one instance, Napoles supposedly sent $1 million to the US.

The lawyer of one whistleblower claimed that Napoles has dollar investments.

Based on the documents and affidavits of the whistleblower, Napoles had some P15 billion in accumulated transactions in different banks over some 10 years.
 
She is also said to own 74 condominium units, houses, and lots in posh subdivisions.

Her daughter Jeane earlier claimed that her parents own the properties she was reported to possess, including a P54.73 million condominium unit at the Ritz Carlton in Los Angeles.

A company belonging to the Napoles family also owns the $7.4-million Anaheim Express Inn near Disneyland in California.

Along with 3 senators, Napoles is facing plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan.

If she is found guilty, the government's next step is to recover all her assets.

RECOVERY NOT EASY

However, it is not going to be easy, according to Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chair Andy Bautista.
 
"Kakasuhan iyan, iko-korte. Ang daming mga appeal, maraming mga petitions for certiorari na every interlocutory order that will be issued by the court. Talagang matatagalan," he said.

Formed in 1986, the PCGG is mandated to recover the Marcos family's stolen wealth accumulated during the 20 years of the Marcos dictatorship.
 
It has dragged on because of the late strongman's highly intricate and secretive network of accounts and the expensive international court battle to uncover them.
 
The PCGG has slapped the Marcoses and their cronies with more than 200 civil cases for the recovery and forfeiture of ill-gotten assets including real estate amounting anywhere from P30 billion to P40 billion.
 
Bautista said the government still has a lot more to recover after nearly 30 years. But some other assets could not be located.
 
"Kasi nga iyung ating mga prosecutor, medyo overworked. Masyadong maraming ginagawa, hindi nabibigyan ng kaukulang pansin or misan din naman, nagkakaroon ng sabwatan," he said. "Same thing also pagka nag-file ka na ng kaso sa korte."

"Kaya nga kami sa PCGG, mayroon kaming mga kaso, in fact, over 200 cases, hanggang ngayon, nakabinbin pa sa ating mga korte," he said.

According to Bautista, the law is more protective of pieces of property owned by private individuals like Napoles.

"Kung sino man ang may-ari nung ari-arian, siya talaga ang may-ari noon. Para kunin mo iyon, mahirap. Mas mahirap pa kung iyung ari-arian ay itinago nga sa ibang pangalan at kalimitan, sa iba pang bansa," he said.

Bautista said it's possible the court would enter into a settlement agreement with the accused.
 
But it is not at all impossible to recover the Napoles billions, according to Bautista, especially if the next administration would pursue the cases against her.

'NAPOLES CAN'T AFFORD NEW LAWYER'

Napoles's lawyer, however, is disputing the whistleblowers' allegations and claimed on Tuesday that his client can't even afford to hire a new legal counsel to defend her against the serious illegal detention charge filed by Luy.

"If people will claim that she has money, then she can afford high- paying lawyers. Ako lang yung abugado nya and I'm farthest from the high-paying lawyer that people know. Bakit sya magtitiyaga sa akin kung may pambayad siya?" Atty. Bruce Rivera said.

Rivera also wonders why the issue on Napoles wealth is being revived.

"I do not really know what is the motive for mentioning it again. Maybe it is to anger the Filipino people," he said.

Rivera also said they're not losing hope Napoles can be given immunity from criminal prosecution.

"She's not the most guilty, she did not get the lions' share," Rivera said. - with reports from Doris Bigornia, ABS-CBN News; ANC