Napoles, Luy bankrolled Pasig bet, party-list group

By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 12 2013 02:59 AM | Updated as of Sep 12 2013 10:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Janet Lim-Napoles and whistle-blower Benhur Luy contributed to the campaign war chests of a losing congressional bet in Pasig City and an unsuccessful party-list group during the 2007 elections, respectively, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) revealed yesterday.

“We found some in the 2007 elections but they were not elected. They are actually not even popular,” Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said.

Brillantes made the statement when asked about the review being conducted by Comelec on the Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) filed by the candidates in the 2007, 2010 and 2013 polls.

The Comelec has been evaluating the financial statements to determine if Napoles or any of the questionable non-government organizations linked to her have contributed to the campaign of any candidate.

“The losing congressional candidate had received P30,000 from Mr. and Mrs. Napoles,” Brillantes said.

The poll body chief refused to name the losing candidate he described as “unknown” and obtained only around 4,000 votes.

Records of the Comelec showed the 2007 congressional race in Pasig was won by now-incumbent Rep. Roman Romulo, who had Napoles as one of 22 sponsors in his wedding to former Valenzuela City councilor Shalani Soledad.

Romulo had defeated rivals Noel Cariño, Jose Tatco Jr., Orlando Salabastre, Fernando Melendrez, and Esmeraldo Batacan.

Luy, on the other hand, had contributed P200,000 to the campaign of defeated party-list group Ang Samahan ng mga Mangangalakal Para sa Ikakaunlad ng Lokal na Ekonomiya Inc. (A-Smile), according to Brillantes.

It turned out that A-Smile was mentioned twice by former Comelec official Virgilio Garcillano, the poll official in the wiretap tapes talking to a woman believed to be former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the 2004 elections. Garcillano reportedly claimed some people behind the group were seeking his help to manipulate the poll results.

Brillantes said none among the senatorial candidates in the 2007 polls had received contributions from Napoles or her NGOs.

He added Comelec has not completed review of the 2010 elections but gave assurance that none of the presidential and vice-presidential bets benefited from Napoles.

While Napoles is now mired in the pork barrel scam, Brillantes pointed out she had not committed any violation when she made campaign contributions.

“Our concern is whether or not the candidates have reported to us their contributions and expenditures on time and truthfully,” Brillantes said.