Thursday, August 15, 2013

Where is Napoles now? - Inquirer.net

Analysis By Amando Doronila
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The controversy over the alleged diversion of P10 billion in congressional pork barrel funds to a group of  dummy NGOs headed by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles took a dramatic turn on Wednesday with the issuance of warrants for her and her brother's arrest on charges of serious illegal detention of Benhur Luy, the key whistle-blower in the corruption scandal. The offense is nonbailable.

The arrest orders acquired an overtone of urgency, as the National Bureau of Investigation agents who were to serve the warrants issued by the Makati Regional Trial Court returned empty-handed: Napoles could not be found in her condominium unit at Pacific Plaza Tower in Taguig City. There were hints that she might have taken flight out of the country.

On July 15, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima issued an "alert lookout bulletin" to the Bureau of Immigration ordering its officers to monitor Napoles' and her brother Reynald Lim's international travels. De Lima told reporters that she issued the order due to the "gravity" of the allegations against the siblings and "the Napoleses' financial capacity" under investigation by the NBI, Department of Justice, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Office of the Ombudsman, and Commission on Audit. The importance of Napoles' presence was underscored by the instruction of De Lima to immigration officers to be "discreet" in their surveillance so as not to "jeopardize" the NBI's inquiry into Napoles' alleged involvement in the pork barrel diversion.

The arrest warrants were issued on the basis of the complaint of the parents of Luy, a former employee of Napoles. The complaint alleged that Napoles and her brother detained Luy for three months starting last Dec. 20 until an NBI task force rescued him from an apartment owned by Napoles at Pacific Tower Plaza on March 22. After his rescue, Luy submitted an affidavit to the NBI saying that he had been working for Napoles' JLN Corp. and that she had set up a clutch of dummy NGOs into which funds from the pork barrel of five senators and 23 congressmen were funneled by JLN for ghost projects.


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