PNoy: Plunder case vs Napoles to be filed by Monday

By Nina Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 10 2013 03:08 PM | Updated as of Sep 11 2013 07:27 AM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - President Aquino said on Tuesday the plunder case against businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles will be filed not later than Monday (September 16).

In an interview after the 7th ASEAN Navy Chief's Meeting in Makati, Aquino said: "Iyong the first charges with regards to this issue, I understand, will be filed not later than Monday. There is a possibility it can be filed by Friday."

He said he will soon be briefed on the case.

"I will be given--as I promised you all ‘di ba--a briefing on what the lawyers called the theory of the case, the evidence that supports the theory of the case.

"Iyong theory is what transpired? Evidence is what proves that this thing that we alleged transpired, happened. Then pati iyong analyses and possible defenses that can be brought to the court.

Aquino also denied knowing businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the P10 billion pork barrel scam.

Aquino said he tried to recall if he ever met Napoles when he was still a congressman.

Napoles surrendered to President Aquino last August 28 after a warrant was issued on August 14 for her arrest over a serious illegal detention case.

"I looked at her. I can't remember her," Aquino said, recalling the encounter when Napoles was brought to Malacanang after she surrendered.

The President said he might have shaken hands with her in the past but does not even recall saying hi to her.

"I tried to recall her name. I hope I'm not turning senile but I can't recall her name," he said.

Napoles is accused of setting up fake non-governmental organizations to act as conduits of lawmakers' pork barrel funds.

Plunder is defined as the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth of at least P50 million through a series of criminal acts by any public officer in connivance with subordinates or associates. It is a non-bailable crime.

Kapunan welcomes PNoy's announcement

Napoles' lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, welcomed the President's announcement but said those who revealed the irregularities should also be charged.

Kapunan told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview she expected that a punder charge will be filed against Napoles.

"Bottomline there is nagpapasalamat kami at finally, nandiyan na iyung plunder charge," she said.

"Tignan natin iyung COA report. There are 82 NGOs. If we are to believe the whistleblowers, 7 or 8 lang sa 82 na iyan ang Napoles-related NGOs," she said.

On the whistleblowers, she had this to say: "Maybe the least guilty and they appear to be the ones who personally have knowledge about the senators, the accounts,  the modus operandi, I think they should be charged as well."

'Airtight case'

Meantime, documentary evidence collated by whistle-blowers in the P10 billion pork barrel scam is now undergoing further review before being submitted to the Department of Justice, the whistle-blowers' lawyer said Tuesday.

Assistant Regional Director Rolando Argabioso, head of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) team tasked to probe the scam, and Atty. Levito Baligod, counsel for the whistleblowers, met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima Tuesday afternoon at the DOJ in another case conference.

Baligod bared that he has yet to submit to the NBI, within the day, all the documentary evidence collated by the whistleblowers.

"We are conducting a third review of the figures because the documents are replete with numerical figures, kung mag-mistake kami sa isang figure, it will no longer match the bank account, for example, of the legislators or the SARO (Special Allotment Release Order) number," he said.

Baligod said that apart from Napoles, the alleged architect behind the scam, at least 5 individuals will be charged with plunder and malversation of public funds.

Baligod said there are six witnesses who can testify against those who will be charged.

The witnesses/whistle-blowers are in possession of accounting records such as check numbers of legislators, and the dates money was deposited in these accounts.

"We have to the check numbers, the dates and other details. That's why AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council) is undertaking bank inquiry proceedings now, so that the government will match the results of the AMLC inquiry with the accounting record of Benhur (Luy)," Baligod said. -- with reports from Ina Reformina and Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News