Apr 062014
State witness Ruby Tuason reads her opening statement during the Feb. 13, 2014 Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged pork barrel scam as Justice Secretary Leila del Lima (right) and whistle-blower Benhur Luy (left) listen. (MNS photo)

State witness Ruby Tuason reads her opening statement during the Feb. 13, 2014 Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged pork barrel scam as Justice Secretary Leila del Lima (right) and whistle-blower Benhur Luy (left) listen. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The camp of Ruby Tuason plans to appeal her application for immunity from lawsuit before the Office of the Ombudsman after she was indicted for plunder charges.

Tuason’s lawer Dennis Manalo said they were not surprised by the Ombudsman’s ruling given Tuason’s admission that she was involved in the pork barrel scam.

He said they have five days to file a motion for reconsideration to resolve her pending application for immunity.

Tuason, who is under the witness protection program on a provisional basis, is currently out of the country.

“We are hoping that in the assessment and evaluation of Tuason’s application for immunity, things will turn around for the better insofar as she’s concerned,” Manalo said.

“It is Mrs. Tuason herself who said a crime was committed and she was involved in the commission of that crime. She admits probable cause but what she is saying is that she is entitled to benefits of immunity as provided for under the law because she voluntarily stepped forward with her statement and cooperated with government in the prosecution of this case,” he added.(MNS)

Feb 172014
No direct ‘pork’ talks with Enrile, only with his former aide – Ruby Tuason

State witness Ruby Tuason reads her opening statement during the Feb. 13, 2014 Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged pork barrel scam as Justice Secretary Leila del Lima (right) and whistle-blower Benhur Luy (left) listen. (MNS photo) MANILA  (Mabuhay) – Potential pork barrel scam Ruby Tuason on Thursday said she never got to directly transact with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile involving pork barrel funds. During her testimony before the Senate blue ribbon committee, Tuason said she only discussed pork barrel transactions with Enrile’s former chief-of-staff, Gigi Reyes. “He [Enrile] never talked to me about PDAF [priority development assistance fund]. He would arrive, have coffee, and pick up Attorney Reyes,” Tuason said. Also, she said she often delivered pork commissions to Reyes at fancy restaurants, such as Mamou, Gourmand and L’Opera. On Monday, Enrile said he never authorized Reyes to discuss pork barrel transactions with anyone, including Tuason. He, however, admitted to meeting with Tuason in Mamou once over lunch either in late 2006 or early 2007. He said Reyes was present during the meeting “to record the details of what is being discussed.” Enrile, Tuason and Reyes are currently facing plunder raps before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly benefiting from the pork barrel scam supposedly engineered by controversial businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. (MNS)

Oct 302013
Resignation as Napoles' counsel was a 'collective decision', Kapunan says

Janet Lim-Napoles’ staunch defender, lawyer Lorna Kapunan, insisted Wednesday that her decision to resign as lead counsel was a “collective decision” she made with Napoles’ consent. In a report aired on “24 Oras” early Wednesday evening, Kapunan said she decided to resign as Napoles’ lawyer to speed up the resolution of the serious illegal detention case against the detained businesswoman. “[My decision to resign] was a collective decision [made by] Atty. (Alfredo) Villamor, Mrs. Napoles and myself. We must recall that this is a bail hearing, and the quicker she is released from detention on bail, the better,” she said. Kapunan said Villamor, formerly corroborating counsel in the case, will now have the primary responsibility of defending Napoles in court. She also expressed confidence that Villamor will handle the case well.  “Atty. Villamor is very familiar with Benhur and the circumstances of this case because siya yung nag-handle ng kaso sa investigation,” she said. Napoles is also facing two plunder charges at the Office of the Ombudsman for supposedly funneling billions in government money to ghost projects. She was arrested for allegedly detaining her former employee Benhur Luy, who eventually became a whistleblower and testified on her alleged anomalous deals with government officials. Kapunan accompanied Napoles when she surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III on August 28, and has been vigorously defending her client in various media appearances. The lawyer said her decision to leave did not mean she found her client guilty. She added that she is still open Read More …

Sep 162013
Plunder raps filed vs Napoles, three senators in pork scam

The Office of the Ombudsman received on Monday plunder raps against businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and at least three senators said to have benefitted in the P10 billion pork barrel scam.  The accused lawmakers are Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and former Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada. The Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation submitted the complaint around 3:30 p.m on Monday.  The pork barrel scam was allegedly led by Napoles, who turned fugitive after a court ordered her arrest over serious illegal detention of her employee and main scam whistleblower Benhur Luy. She surrendered two weeks later. Napoles was accused of being behind questionable NGOs that implemented ghost projects using pork funds, also known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund. The funds were supposedly siphoned to the pockets of Napoles and lawmakers. Luy in a Senate hearing said the division could reach up to 50-50.  Napoles is detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Laguna. —KG, GMA News

Sep 092013
Napoles arraignment reset to Sept. 23

Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras talks with fugitive businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, husband Jimmy and lawyer Atty. Lorna Kapunan at the President’s Hall Receiving Area of the Malacañan Palace Wednesday night (August 28). The surrender feeler was sent by Atty. Kapunan to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda hours after President Aquino announced a P10-million reward to anyone who can give information for the immediate arrest of the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam. (MNS photo) MANILA  (Mabuhay) -– The Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 has reset the arraignment of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to September 23 at 1:30 p.m. Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda granted the motion of the camp of Napoles which sought the postponement of the September 9 arraignment. Napoles is facing serious illegal detention case filed by key pork barrel scam whistleblower, Benhur Luy. Napoles’ camp sought the postponement of the arraignment since the businesswoman still has pending motions with the Court of Appeals and the Makati RTC Branch 150. Napoles is currently detained at Fort Santo Domingo in Laguna.(MNS)

Sep 062013
Erap recalls having met Napoles before

Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada admitted Friday that he was acquainted with Janet Lim Napoles, the detained businesswoman tagged as the mastermind of the P10 billion pork barrel scam. In a report aired on GMA News’  “24 Oras,” newscast, the former president said that although he had encountered Napoles in a number of social gatherings, he does not know her personally. “Na-meet ko siya sa isang party. Hindi ko nga nakausap eh. Baka nag-hi at hello kami, pero yun lang,” he said. Estrada also confirmed that Cheryl Jimenea and Ruby Tuason, the women named by two new whistleblowers as having ties with Napoles, were his former employees. Jimenea worked as his former appointments secretary while Tuason was his social secretary. The new whistleblowers, who came forward this week, said in an affidavit submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that they had met with Jimenea and Tuason in the past to make transactions on behalf of Napoles. Estrada said that he has not communicated with either of the two women since they resigned from work. “Ang alam ko [si Jimenea] pumasok sandali kay Jinggoy pagkaalis sa akin pero hindi rin siya nagtagal doon at umalis din. Pero si Ms. Tuason, hindi ko na nabalitaan kung kanino siya napunta. Syempre kapag may umalis akong empleyado, papasok sila sa ibang trabaho. Hindi ko na inaalam kung saan sila namamasukan,” Estrada said. Jinggoy Estrada, the former president’s son, is one of the five senators identified by the Commission on Audit as those Read More …

Aug 052013
Napoles fights back, to file flurry of raps vs. accusers

(Updated 12:52 p.m.) Months after being embroiled in a supposed scam involving the pork barrel of lawmakers, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles decided to fight back by hurling a flurry of charges against her accusers. Napoles’ lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, told GMA News Online on Tuesday that they would be filing within the day separate cases of perjury, libel, disbarment, and illegal arrest in Quezon City, Makati, and Taguig City. She said they would file perjury complaints against supposed whistleblowers Benhur Luy and Merlina Suñas for allegedly accusing Napoles of soliciting money from lawmakers’ pork barrel — or Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) — for non-existent projects through fictitious foundations. Luy’s family will also be included in the perjury complaint, Kapunan said. A disbarment case, meanwhile, would also be lodged against Luy’s lawyer, Levito Baligod, before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for allegedly extorting money from the Napoles camp in exchange for his client clearing Napoles’ name in the issue. Tri-media campaign? Kapunan said their camp will also slap the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Rappler with charges of libel for its “disregard for the truth” and for “abusing the word ‘allegedly’” in its reports on the controversy. Kapunan said the Inquirer will be slapped with charges for the series of reports it did on the fund mess, while Rappler will be sued for its story on the lavish lifestyle of Napoles’ daughter, Jeane. “We want to test this so-called good faith in reporting. Kapag sinabi mong alleged at ipi-print mo, that in Read More …

Jul 122013
Businesswoman implicated in alleged scams involving billions of pesos denies charges 

The businesswoman implicated in multi-billion peso ghost projects being probed by the National Bureau of Investigation has refuted accusations an alleged former employee leveled against her, her brother and her company, JLN Corporation. Janet Lim Napoles said in an affidavit she submitted to the Department of Justice that her accuser, Benhur Luy, was not her employee and that the “JLN Group of Companies” Luy has identified is not her JLN Corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Napoles’ affidavit was filed last June, but the Department of Justice released it only on Friday. “JLN has never transacted business or closed deals with the government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, much less the government offices which Benhur mentioned and especially those enumerated by (Luy’s relatives) Arturo, Gertrudes, Arthur, and Annabelle… in their joint sworn statement,” Napoles said. Her company was alleged to have been tapped in ghost projects of the government allegedly pegged in one report as totalling P10 billion worth of projects, including the fertilizer fund scam, the Malampaya fund scam, and anomalies in the implementation of several PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund)-funded projects. She did acknowledge that trading in construction materials is among the concerns of her JLN Corp. “I certainly was not involved in any of the high profile scams which occured during the previous administration,” Napoles said in an affidavit she submitted to the Department of Justice. The businesswoman said the fact her name and that of her company were never mentioned in a Read More …

Jul 122013
De Lima: NBI probe on P10B fund scam may include lawmakers

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is studying the possibility of including in its investigation several lawmakers being implicated in the P10-billion fund scam by a syndicate allegedly using “pork barrel” in ghost projects. This was according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who confirmed on Friday that the NBI is in the middle of probing a fund scam being allegedly carried out by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, owner of JLN Group of Companies. Her firm was allegedly tapped for government-funded projects that were later found questionable, including the P728-million fund for a fertilizer project for poor farmers that were allegedly diverted to benefit politicians and a sitting president. “Whether or not lawmakers are or will be part of the NBI probe or whether or not there’s need to issue a look out bulletin will depend on results of the evaluation of the evidence,” De Lima said. De Lima refused to give further details on the ongoing NBI probe on the fund scam. She also refused to identify the lawmakers who would be investigated. “Given the gravity of the allegations, we’re keeping such investigation under wraps until the NBI completes its evidence gathering and evaluation,” she said. Napoles and her brother Reynaldo Lim were earlier charged by the NBI for illegally detaining Benhur Luy, a lead employee of JLN Group of Companies and a probable witnesses in the fund scam. The Department of Justice (DOJ), however, dismissed the complaint for lack of probable cause. The NBI has already moved for Read More …