BY ROGER M. BALANZA
The amount of cash money that pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles kept in her room is so huge that even a bathtub is used as bank vault for the stacks of crisp P1000 bills her bogus Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) skimmed off from government projects funded by the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Napoles had so much money that it could no longer fit in a vault so she had to keep them in the most unlikely of places, according to state witness Benhur Luy.
“Hindi kasya ang pera sa vault kaya minsan nilalagay namin ang pera niya sa bathtub, patong-patong pero nasa bag siya,” Luy said.
Luy also revealed on Septemer 12 during the Senate probe on the pork barrel scam what he described as the many dirty deeds of the person he described as the lone mastermind of the country’s biggest scam yet.
Luy hesitated to say how many solons were involved in the pork barrel scam but he willingly recounted the measures Janet Napoles did to get away with obtaining funds from fake NGOs and splitting on them with senators.
His decision to keep silent on the number of senators involved, aside from naming names, was due to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s counsel as she said it could wait until charges are filed next Monday, Sept. 16.
“Madalas ko pong naririnig na may kausap sa telepono si Mrs. Napoles na mga pulitiko,” Luy told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee as he narrated how he was originally hired by Napoles to work for a drug testing company.
Eventually, after Napoles saw how he had the potential to liquidate reports, Luy said she immediately got him to work for JLN Corporation.
“Alalay ako ni Mrs. Napoles to the point na pati paghawak ng pera niya, pina-pahandle niya sa akin,” Luy said, explaining how it was Napoles herself who called politicians and implementing agencies while he did follow-ups.
Luy said about 40 to 50 percent of the total amount of a project allegedly landed in the hands of lawmakers who assigned part of the pork barrel to fake NGOs.
He even had the bank account number of all legislators, and/or their chiefs of staff to prove it.
“(Siya) ang nakikipag-usap sa lawmakers, kung ano napagkasunduan nila, let’s say 50 percent. Sometimes, mga lawmakers tatawag sa kanya,” he said.
“Bago nila makuha ang remaining 50 percent balance, mayroon silang endorsement letter, then memorandum of agreement and project proposal signed by the lawmaker or whoever assigned by the lawmaker,” Luy said.
He explained that while they would be the one to draft the endorsement letter, the lawmakers would sign it.
After submission of documents to IAs, Napoles will pay the lawmaker in cash or in check.
Napoles had so much money, Luy said, that it could no longer fit in a vault so she had to keep them in the most unlikely of places.
“Hindi kasya ang pera sa vault kaya minsan nilalagay namin ang pera niya sa bathtub, patong-patong pero nasa bag siya,” he said.
“Kapag kailangan nya pera, halimbawa P75 million, withdraw namin at dalhin sa opisina or sa bahay ni Madam,” he added.
“Karamihan ng personal accounts (ni Napoles), nasa Metrobank.”
Although he sensed that what he had gotten into wasn’t what he signed up for, Luy admitted that it was only until the company received a report from the Commission on Audit sometime in 2011 when he realized that something was indeed wrong.
“Nung napadalhan na kami ng sulat ng COA, saka lang namin na-realize na mali ang ginagawa namin,” Luy said. “(May) pagkakataon po na pinepeke ang pirma ng ibang lawmakers depende sa sasabihin ni Napoles.”
The hearing which lasted for nearly five hours ended when Blue Ribbon Committee chair, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III suspended the hearing pending further notice.
“We will sit down and assess until Monday (Sept 16) if Napoles will be asked to attend Senate probe,” Guingona said.
Guingona also that that he believed that there was reasonable basis to conclude that there was either malversation of public funds or plunder committed by some legislators. (with PNA report)