Janet Lim-Napoles amassed millions of dollars from two local money changers and sent them to the United States, without central bank approval, either through bank-to-bank transfers or hand-carried in suitcases that were cleared through US airports by Filipino contacts there, the Inquirer has learned.
The dollars were acquired to purchase properties in the United States, supply the needs of lawmakers traveling abroad, and provide allowances for Napoles’ family on their frequent trips overseas, according to Stephen Cascolan, counsel for a group of whistle-blowers who were former employees of the businesswoman.
Cascolan said Napoles, the alleged brains of a P10-billion racket that turned allocations from the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or pork barrel, into ghost projects and kickbacks, had “millions of dollars abroad to purchase prime properties.”
The government has asked the US Embassy in Manila to freeze assets of Napoles in the United States and turn these over if proven to have been illegally obtained.
Cascolan said the method purportedly employed by Napoles to remit money abroad in violation of Philippine laws penalizing the salting of foreign exchange abroad would form part of the evidence to be submitted to Washington to recover her illegally acquired properties in the United States.
Napoles is facing plunder charges, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and 34 other people.
Affidavits executed by the whistle-blowers and submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation said Napoles bought dollars from money changers identified as Hector Ang and Michael Ty.
“Transactions of dollar conversions and purchases from them were paid through their accounts in Metrobank with the equivalent peso value,” said Marina Sula, a former Napoles employee.
In his affidavit, Benhur Luy, a former Napoles aide who was detained by the businesswoman in a bid to prevent him from revealing the scam, said Napoles would give orders to him and other employees to contact either Ang or Ty and purchase dollars from them. see more