A family of bandits?

Posted at 05/17/2014 12:58 AM

Why Janet Napoles, husband, 3 children can be charged in the pork scam

The multibillion-peso corruption scandal was a Napoles family affair, documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show.

The Office of the Ombudsman has charged self-confessed pork scam queen Janet Lim Napoles and two of her three children – James Christopher and Jo Christine – as co-accused in the plunder raps it filed a month ago against three senators – former Senator President Juan Ponce Enrile, former Senate President pro-tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Bong Revilla.

Janet Napoles’ husband Jaime (nicknamed Jimmy) and her luxury brand and Hollywood-loving daughter Jeane Catherine were not included in the charge sheets.

However, a close examination of the financial documents filed by Napoles’ flagship company JLN Corporation show rock solid grounds for charging father and daughter, Jimmy and Jeane. In fact, for charging the entire Napoles family of being co-conspirators in the plunder cases filed against the three senators.

The Ombudsman only indicted Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles for “working for Napoles and (because they) served as officers of her NGOs which were selected and endorsed by Senator Enrile to implement his projects.”

But they were not indicted for their role inside JLN Corporation which was one of the mechanisms used to launder the pork.

Even under the Anti-Money Laundering Law, the Napoles family can collectively be charged because this law states that “if the offender is a corporation, association, partnership or any juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the responsible officers, as the case may be, who participated in the commission of the crime or who shall have knowingly permitted or failed to prevent its commission.”

One of the “unlawful activities” punished by this law is theft of public money. The penalty ranges from seven to 14 years in jail plus a fine of “not less than P3 million but not more than twice the value” of the stolen loot.

But the Ombudsman appears intent on prosecuting the senators and their co-conspirators for the more serious crime of plunder which carries a life term. For instance, in indicting Enrile, together with Janet Lim Napoles and two of her children, the Ombudsman said that “probable cause for plunder exists.”

However, Enrile – in his counter-affidavit submitted to the Ombudsman – appears willing to let Janet Lim Napoles take the rap without him. The Ombudsman quoted Enrile as saying that “it was Napoles and her cohorts ‘who persuaded and influenced the implementing agencies to violate their duties and functions’ ” without his participation.

An examination of the bank records and transactions of JLN might reveal a lot about the illicit transactions.

When the con was unraveling last year, Janet Lim Napoles started shuffling a lot of papers.

For instance, the financial documents filed by JLN to the SEC showed that something curious happened inside the JLN company that coincided with the period when Benhur Luy was detained by Napoles and her brother Reynald.