Napoles asks court to lift freeze order on accounts

Rappler.com
Napoles asks court to lift freeze order on accounts
Janet Napoles, through her lawyer, claims she and her family are being used as scapegoats of the supposed whistle-blowers who actually earned from the pork barrel scam

MANILA, Philippines – In a move to lift the freeze order on her bank accounts, Janet Lim Napoles, through her lawyer, claimed she and her family are being used as scapegoats of the supposed whistle-blowers who actually earned from the pork barrel scam.

 

Napoles’ counsel Stephen David told the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Friday, November 7, that the credibility of the whistle-blowers – whose testimonies were used by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) as the basis for the freeze order – is still questionable.

“It is not far-fetched to state that these ‘whistleblowers’ themselves are the actual perpetrators of the crimes being alleged and are conveniently using the respondents (Napoleses) as scapegoats in order to evade the law,” David said.

He added that the testimonies of the whistle-blowers should not be regarded as “gospel truth,” and that their testimonies have to be subjected to thorough evaluation.

The Napoles camp is seeking to lift the freeze order on the almost P11-million worth of bank accounts at the Air Material Wing Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AMWSLAI). These are among the 413 accounts ordered frozen by the Court of Appeals in August 2013 based on the request of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

AMLC used as basis the testimonies of whistle-blowers and witnesses Benhur Luy, Merlina Suñas, Gertrudes Luy, and Annabelle Luy Reario in seeking for the freeze order. The whistle-blowers and witnesses gave details of the bank accounts in their testimonies. (READ: Navigating the PDAF scam affidavits)

AMLC action illegal

David also stated that the AMLC has no authority to inquire and examine the AMWSLAI accounts. He claims that out of the 19 bank accounts subject to an asset preservation order (APO) by the Manila Court, the Court of Appeals (CA) authorized the examination of only 5 bank accounts.

“AMLC obviously exceeded its authority when it included in the [petition] the other 14 accounts notwithstanding the absence of its authority to inquire into and examine such accounts. By doing so, the AMLC acted in utter bad faith as it cannot deny its knowledge that the accounts which it included in its [petition] are not included in the Court of Appeals resolution,” he said.

David aded that AMLC should also be dismissed because it violated the due process clause of the Constitution. He pointed out that a property may only be forfeited as a consequence of a criminal act, yet the government failed to show that the funds from the AMWSLAI account came from unlawful activities.

A freeze order was also imposed on the accounts of several personalities involved in the pork barrel scandal as well that of the bogus NGOs that Napoles ordered set up for her scheme.  Rappler.com

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