The allegations of the “rags to riches” of Janet Nqpoles filled the media in recent weeks. The story Rappler is on, for example is her decades long involvement with scam after scam. Rappler also talked about “Janet Napoles’ tragic past” It seemed from the Rappler work that the rise of Napoles involved series of scam after scam after scam with the PDAF case just the latest and perhaps greatest of the crimes allegedly committed. It culminated with the arrest warrant filed against Napoles and her brother, Reynald Lim. The arrest warrant is for the illegal detention of whistleblower Benhur Luy. And that alleged crime led to Napoles being implicated in a series of pork barrel scam of fake Non-governmental organizations, and the signatures of government officials allegedly also being faked. On a side note, Janet Napoles in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer says Benhur has another boss higher than her. Now, when the news broke out people have been screaming left and right that this is yet another example of how idiotic the administration is. Napoles is being charged with illegal detention— not about her alleged involvedment with the Priority Development Assistance Fund.
It would seem that whistleblower Benhur Luy deserves justice, does he not? He came out because Napoles allegedly detained him. That friction brought about him running and fighting back. If people believe the Napoles scam, then one ought to believe that Luy was a victim. How can you not expect justice to be served for that person?
There is much to go on. The Bureau of Internal Revenue’s involvement with the case is a welcome one. The Department of Justice released a list of 30 vehicles owned by JNL Corporation, with a request to call the NBI hotline if they see any. Rappler on the other hand published documents that they got from the Securities and Exchanged Commission on how much Napoles’ business dealings made. This after, Napoles argued, when she took to the floor over at the Philippine Daily Inquirer that her businesses are legitimate and are earning for her and her family. It also comes after the disclosure of mulit-million dollar properties owned by Napoles’ daughter at posh Ritz-Carlton Residences in Los Angeles, and an estimated 400 million pesos worth of properties in the United States. That incident, Luis Teodoro aptly described as “Napoles loses it.”
Another angle being looked into is the allegation of that Janet Napoles tricked officials or falsified documents to get government funds. If Napoles stole government funds, or tricked officials then her wealth would definitely be astronomical. Did she pay taxes? One article from Interaksyon was on the BiR looking into this from that perspective. Could the government “get her” by proving tax evasion? This strategy is similar to the one employed by the United States Government against mobster Al Capone. They didnt get him for other crimes, they got him for tax evasion.
The Napoles story of course is even more complex. The involvement of politicians— Rappler implies that at least one Senator or his kin is involved. So the Napoles story doesn’t stop at the monies she claim was stolen from the public coffers.
The Janet Napoles story is a complex one. It means unravelling years of the Napoles life and putting the pieces together. It irks some people for example that the first charge against Mrs. Napoles and her brother was illegal detention. Far from the crimes she has allegedly perpetuated. They forget that a crime was claim to have been committed against a Benhur Luy and that deserves its day in court. They also forget that this perhaps, is the easiest of the cases. And it does make Napoles a fugitive while the government builds on its case with respect to the other asserted crimes. They are not building a case to write on media, they are building a case for reasonable doubt. After all, doesn’t Janet Napoles (while a fugitive at the time of this writing) remain innocent until proven otherwise has the right to face the law to clear her name. The second thing the warrant of arrest does is to send a message to the public that the weeks of silence from the government is paying out. That they are doing something with respect to the Napoles scam. At the end of the day, how this plays out in the weeks to come brings a strong message that Daang Matuwid is on the right track, or it is not.