Court freezes bank account of Napoles, others-A A +A
Friday, August 16, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- Businesswoman Janet Napoles could no longer access and withdraw money from her 107 financial accounts after the Court of Appeals (CA) granted the government's petition on Friday.
Also covered by the six-month freeze order issued by the CA Second Division were accounts of Napoles’ children and brother Reynald Lim, other relatives and staff, as well as those of the 28 non-government organizations (NGOs) identified with JLN Corp., Napoles’ trading firm.
Overall, more than 400 accounts were seized by the government to avoid being withdrawn and placed beyond reach of authorities. The petition was filed by the Office of the Solicitor General on behalf of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
"As per AMLC and the OSG, all concerned banks have been served with copy of the freeze order this Friday afternoon," said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in a text message.
The court order surprised Napoles’ counsel Lorna Kapunan, chiding De Lima for being “despotic” and denying her client due process.
"This shows that Secretary De Lima has exceeded her bounds. This is clearly despotic. She should be giving us the benefit of the doubt," said Kapunan, while welcoming the inclusion of questionable NGOs as this will help them prove that these are not owned by Napoles.
Napoles has accounts in the Bank of the Philippine Islands-Tektite; BDO Unibank Inc.; BDO Elite Savings Bank Inc.; Citibank, NA; Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp; HSBC Savings Bank (Phils) Inc.; Land Bank of the Philippines-Greenhills; Metrobank Card Corp; and United Coconut Planters Bank; and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (38 accounts).
Completing the list were Air Materiel Wing Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AMWSLAI), Insular Life Assurance Co Ltd, Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp., Philippine American Life & General Insurance Co. Inc., and Sun Life of Canada (Philippines).
Accounts of whistleblower Benhur Luy in the BPI, Metrobank, UCPB and AMWSLAI were also frozen by the CA as he was the beneficiary of manager’s checks purchased by JLN Corp., which reportedly used fake NGOs to corner priority development assistance fund (PDAF) of some lawmakers.
"More importantly, Napoles’ principal cohorts like Benhur Luy (ex-personal assistant), Merlina Suñas and Gertrude Uy have turned ‘whistleblowers’ and have bared Napoles’ fraudulent and illegal schemes. Gleaned from the foregoing, there is probable cause to believe that the bank accounts belonging to the name Janet Lim Napoles and other persons, corporations/business entities… may be related to unlawful activities that may constitute predicate crimes under Republic Act 9160 (Anti-Money Laundering Act), as amended,” read the order penned by Associate Justice Manuel Barrios.
Napoles, who is wanted by authorities along with Lim for serious illegal detention of Luy, denied having a single transaction with government.
But the Commission on Audit (COA) said in a special report that 10 NGOs linked to Napoles received P2.157 billion in pork barrel from 2007 to 2009.
Napoles said her wealth came from inheritance and coal mining business in Indonesia. She declined to state the name of the coal firm to protect its Indonesian investors. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)