How is Janet Napoles hiding her properties?

Natashya Gutierrez

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How is Janet Napoles linked to La Roca Enterprises Inc, the company that owns two Makati properties believed to be hers?

FORBES PROPERTY. This is the Forbes house owned by Janet Lim-Napoles Msgr Josefino Ramirez is renting according to documents. Photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Janet Lim Napoles likes to cover her tracks.

In the same way Napoles did not personally sign ownership documents of her bogus non-government organizations and companies — often choosing to use names of family members, employees or other associates instead of her own — Napoles also took extra effort to acquire properties under different names.

READ: How Janet Lim-Napoles got away

On September 5, tax chief Kim Henares told reporters that most properties whistleblowers tagged as belonging to Napoles were not under her name.

Rappler’s own investigation reveals one technique Napoles used in acquiring properties. According to documents obtained by Rappler, two Makati properties owned by Napoles — a house in Forbes Park and another in Magallanes — are under one name: La Roca Enterprises Inc.

While La Roca documents do not bear Napoles’ name, evidence shows Napoles purchased the company and used it to acquire properties. Whistleblowers have said she owns both Makati residences.

Napoles is the alleged mastermind of a multi-billion pork barrel scam which involved her conniving with lawmakers to pocket government funds. She is currently detained for serious illegal detention of her cousin and aide, Benhur Luy.

Luy has since turned into a state witness against Napoles, revealing to investigators her involvement in the scam and the scheme’s intricate details.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been probing Napoles’ role in the scam.

Forbes property

Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) documents show La Roca was a “general import and export business” established in July 1980.

Its Articles of Incorporation lists names of 5 incorporators: Pacifico M. Castro, Ma. Teresa R. Castro, Eliseo P. Santos, Mariano M. Castro, and Benjamin E. Rodriguez.

According to a source close to one of the original incorporators of La Roca, Napoles bought the company in 2008 to acquire 9 Narra Avenue in South Forbes, Makati. The sprawling 4,000 square-meter property was owned by La Roca.

SEC records show a change in La Roca’s stockholders sometime between 2008-2009, corroborating the source’s claim that Napoles bought the company in 2008. La Roca failed to file its General Information Sheets (GIS) in those two years, but by the time it filed a GIS in 2010, the names of stockholders had already changed from its 2007 list.

By buying the entire La Roca company instead of just the property, Napoles was able to save money because it would have cost her more to buy the property from La Roca and then transfer the title to her name.

Napoles chose not to transfer the property under her name, and has instead kept it under La Roca’s name. 

Buying Magallanes

In 2010, Napoles acquired another property in Magallanes— 52 Lapu-Lapu St, known also as “Bahay ni San Jose,” a residential facility for priests.

The Transfer Certificate of Title of the property shows it was transferred to La Roca Enterprises Inc, as entered into Makati’s records on Nov 17, 2010.

LA ROCA PURCHASE. This Magallanes property owned by Janet Lim-Napoles is also under La Roca Enterprises Inc. Photo by Rappler

Luy, through his lawyer Levi Baligod, confirmed to Rappler “the Magallanes house was bought by Napoles through La Roca from [a certain] Liza Ong” around that time.

Because the property was under the name of La Roca, Napoles did not appear to be its owner.

In April 2013, she submitted documents to the court to challenge the kidnapping claims of Luy. In his sworn affidavit, Luy cited the Magallanes property as being the place where he was detained by Napoles for most of the 3 months he was kidnapped.

In her affidavit, Napoles said Luy’s March 2013 sworn statement alleging she owns Bahay ni San Jose “is absolutely not true.”

“The registered owner of this property is the La Roca Enterprises Inc, a domestic corporation registered in the SEC,” Napoles said.

To bolster her claim, she provided official documents to the court: a copy of the property’s TCT which listed La Roca as owner, La Roca’s Articles of Incorporation, and its latest GIS — none of which bore her name.

But while her name does not appear in La Roca’s documents, the GIS indicated links between Napoles and the corporation.

Lying to the court?

La Roca’s GIS dated April 5, 2013 and which Napoles submitted to the court, lists its 7 current officers and stockholders. These are: Annie Uy-Tan, Genevieve Uy, Anthony Dequina, Rosita Kawson Co, William F Lim, Stephen Tee Tan, and Flordeliza Luy Tan.

Five of the 7 — Uy-Tan, Uy, Deqina, Co and Lim — had previously appeared as incorporators of companies set up by Napoles herself or other family members.

Also in her court affidavit denying she owned the Magallanes property, Napoles said, “It is being used by Monsignor [Josefino] Ramirez as his residence, along with the Chinese priests.”

In later media interviews, Napoles herself admitted to supporting Ramirez and other poor priests from China, upon the request of her late mother Magdalena, a devotee of the Divine Mercy headed by Ramirez.

Even Napoles’ own lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, admitted to Karen Davila on Headstart, aired on ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, on Tuesday, September 3, that her client owned a home in Magallanes.

No denying Forbes

In addition to Magallanes, Kapunan also told Davila that Napoles’ only other properties are two units at the Pacific Plaza in the Fort.

But there are indications even the Forbes property is also hers.

READ: Priest rents Napoles’ Forbes house

A November 2008 Delegation of Authority signed by one of La Roca’s original incorporators, Teresa R. Castro-Alba, asks Forbes Park to give Gertrudes Luy, mother of Benhur and a former Napoles employee, full power over the property. This signals the turnover of the property to Napoles.

The document bears Gertrudes Luy’s signature. Luy said Napoles asked her to sign it, and was made to sign other administrative documents pertaining to the property.

Besides being the nanny of Napoles’ daughter, Getrudes, has also been used several times by her as an incorporator of her companies without her knowledge. The two are distant relatives.

Additionally, the current listed tenant of the property is Ramirez. Retired and diabetic, Ramirez is unable to afford the P280,000 per month rental of the property. Gertrudes said Ramirez is supported financially by Napoles. –

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.