The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently submitted a request to the American Embassy asking the United States to freeze pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ assets. The request stated that, if proven to be illegally acquired, the assets rightfully belong to the Philippine government.
An anonymous source revealed that freezing Napoles’ assets will ensure that any stolen money will be returned to the Philippine Treasury once the properties are proven to be bought illegally.
The source said ‘All identified assets here and abroad should be frozen pending the resolution of the cases.’ The request was based on the plunder case the DOJ has filed against Napoles before the Ombudsman. Napoles is accused of conniving with local officials in diverting billions of pesos in pork barrel funds into dummy nongovernment organisations listed under her name.
Napoles’ assets in America is mainly real estate - but they form only a part of the vast property holdings she has, which is estimated at Php5 billion as per the documents that her former bookkeeper submitted to the DOJ.
The Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles.
Among her properties are a unit the Ritz-Carlton at 900 Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, California and the Anaheim Express Inn at 620 W Orangewood Avenue, Anaheim, California. Her properties are listed under various names.
Whistleblower Benhur Luy said the businesswoman acquired most of her assets when she got Php900 million in 2009 from the Malampaya fund. Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has also been implicated in the alleged misuse of the said funds.
Senate president Franklin Drilon announced earlier this week that he will be signing the subpoena that will force Napoles to attend a Senate hearing into the Php10-billion pork barrel scam. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said that if Napoles wanted justice, she should tell all regardless of whoever will be implicated.
‘[I] Advise her to tell everything that she knows and the whole truth because she will never find peace of heart and mind, she will not have redemption, and the Napoles family will not have peace if she will not say all the things she knows.’