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Scam witness links Loren, Marcos Jr. to ghost projects case

A female witness in a case involving the alleged defrauding of the government in billions of pesos’ worth of ghost projects has dropped the names of two senators in the ongoing investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) .
Senators Loren Legarda and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. were named  in the affidavit of Merlina Pablo Sunas, one of  six witnesses  in the scam that had implicated Janet Lim Napoles of JLN Group of Companies.
Sunas, Napoles’  employee whom she had appointed president of a  bogus non-government organization called  People’s Organization for
Progress and Development Foundation Inc. (POPDFI), claimed that a certain “Ma’am Maya” served as JLN’s “coordinator for Senators Legarda and Marcos.”
She however declined to give details of the two lawmakers’ alleged involvement.
She told NBI investigators  it was a “concealed deal” with the coordinator by Benhur Luy, Napoles’ personal assistant who was rescued by agents last March 22, that angered the businesswoman and led to the filing of kidnapping charges.
Sunas alleged that Napoles discovered that “the reason the amount of the PDAF (priority development assistance fund) given to her by a certain senator was small because Benhur had hidden transactions.” and  narrated that Luy’s hidden transactions were discovered by Napoles during a meeting on Dec. 19, 2012 at their office in Discovery Center in Ortigas, Pasig City.
Sunas claimed  Napoles put up their foundations to receive government funds that were  remitted to her many bank accounts.
She alleged that the NGOs benefitted from the P900-million Malampaya Fund but “no deliveries of supplies were ever made and that fake liquidation papers were submitted by the implementing agencies.”
She said the same modus operandi was applied in the P728-million Fertilizer Fund.
Luy, Sunas and the other whistleblowers further alleged that JLN forged signatures of “fictitious individuals” in organizing POPDFI and other NGOs, including Kaupdanan Para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Social Foundation, Pangkabuhayan Foundation and Masaganang Ani Foundation, for this racket.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the NBI probe on the alleged scam is  an offshoot of Luy’s kidnapping charges against Napoles that was already dismissed by the investigating prosecutor.
She said records of earlier congressional inquiries into the fertilizer fund scam were already obtained by the NBI for review.
But she refused to give more details: “Given the gravity of the allegations, we’re keeping such investigation under wraps until the NBI completes its evidence gathering and evaluation.”
The DoJ, in a resolution last month, junked the kidnapping charges against Napoles and said the DoJ chief was “misled” into initiating the actions against the businesswoman.
Napoles had already appeared before the DoJ last April in a preliminary investigation of the serious illegal detention charges filed against her by Luy.
Her lawyer Jean-Paul Acut said Napoles was “neither involved in the fertilizer fund scam nor does she have anything to do with the alleged forging of signatures of fictitious elements nor the formation of the NGOs enumerated in the news articles.”   
The lawyer said the issue “was unfortunately blown out of proportion by unscrupulous individuals who have taken advantage of this private squabble and twisted the facts in an insidious attempt to extort money from our clients so that the present criminal complaint for serious illegal detention would not be filed.

1 comment

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    chat line Friday, 07 February 2014 02:48 Comment Link

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