TIMELINE: Pork barrel scam ‘queen’ Janet Napoles since her detention

TIMELINE: Pork barrel scam ‘queen’ Janet Napoles since her detention
(3rd UPDATE) See how the cases against Janet Lim Napoles have progressed

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Janet Lim Napoles has been embroiled in legal battles since the scam involving the misuse of lawmakers’ pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) unraveled in 2013.

The exposé led to the surrender of Napoles, the scam’s alleged mastermind, in August 2013. She testified at the Senate a few months later. (TIMELINE: Janet Napoles from scandal to testimony)

Plunder and graft cases were then filed against Napoles and her cohorts, as well as certain lawmakers. Napoles also faced a separate but related serious illegal detention case, filed by her ex-employee turned whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

Napoles was detained in multiple facilities within the first year of her surrender. She was transferred from Makati to Laguna to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. (TIMELINE: The Napoles diary, a year after surrender)

Her conviction in the serious illegal detention case in April 2015 brought her to a correctional institution in Mandaluyong City. Her acquittal in May 2017 led to her transfer back to Camp Bagong Diwa.

Then, in a surprise move, the Department of Justice (DOJ) placed her under provisional coverage of the Witness Protection Program (WPP) in late February 2018. Her request to be moved to a safehouse was eventually denied by Sandiganbayan, followed by the DOJ’s decision to take her off the WPP.

In the timeline below, follow the status of her cases across two administrations, from her first detention at Camp Bagong Diwa until her return there, to her motion for transfer, to new cases filed here and abroad against her. (READ: Where do PH judicial bodies stand in the Napoles case?)


July 28 – Napoles is transferred to a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. This is after the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division on July 25 ordered her transfer there, from Fort Sto Domingo in Sta Rosa City, Laguna.

August 1 – Budget Director Carmencita Delantar of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) testifies that Napoles’ name never appeared on papers she processed for Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s PDAF. Delantar also says she never had a personal encounter with Napoles.

August 8 – Commission on Audit (COA) Assistant Commissioner Susan Garcia tells the court that Napoles had broken all the rules to receive pork barrel.

August 15 – Napoles’ suppliers were also either unregistered or unlicensed based on government records, says Garcia.

August 19 – Napoles withdraws her claims that she had transactions with Manila 5th District Representative Amado Bagatsing, more than two months after Bagatsing filed a perjury case against her.

September 5 – Napoles pleads not guilty to the graft charges filed against her, Senator Enrile, and his chief of staff Gigi Reyes. Enrile also pleads not guilty, while Reyes refuses to enter a plea. Back in June, Napoles likewise pleaded not guilty in separate plunder cases involving senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr and Jinggoy Estrada.

September 11 – The Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly approves the filing of a P17-million tax evasion case against Jeane Napoles, the pork barrel queen’s daughter.

September 12 – Napoles hopes her daughter Jeane would be spared from the tax evasion case. (READ: Napoles couple on tax evasion: Blame us, not Jeane)

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division junks Napoles’ motion to be excused from attending weekly bail hearings.

September 26 – Napoles downplays her ties to sacked Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong.

Meanwhile, lawyer and prosecution witness Ryan Medrano shows the court some IDs that may prove Napoles’ ownership of dummy non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the scam.

September 29 – The Sandiganbayan upholds the graft charges filed by the Ombudsman against Napoles’ children, Jo Christine and James Christopher.

October 2Stephen David, Napoles’ lawyer, claims the Ombudsman offered immunity to a number of accused personalities in the PDAF scam, in exchange for their testimony in a set of cases, then still in the making, over the Malampaya fund scam.

October 10 – The Sandiganbayan postpones the arraignment of Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles for graft.

October 16 – A lawyer-accountant for the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) says banks and bank officers who helped facilitate the embezzlement of pork barrel will not be spared from punishment.

November 7 – Napoles asks a Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to lift the freeze order on her bank accounts. Her lawyer argues that the credibility of the whistle-blowers – whose testimonies were the AMLC’s basis for the freeze order – is still questionable. (READ: Napoles family can’t touch assets – court)

GUILTY. In 2015, Janet Lim Napoles is sentenced to life in prison for illegally detaining Benhur Luy. File photo from PNP-PIO


March 9 – Napoles pleads not guilty in the plunder case that has former APEC party-list representative Edgar Valdez as co-accused. Valdez refuses to enter a plea, prompting the Sandiganbayan 5th Division to enter a not guilty plea on his behalf.

March 20 – The spokesperson of the Bureau of Immigration says Napoles’ daughter Jeane has been “allowed entry” in the Philippines “because there was no legal basis to prevent her entry.”

On the same day, the DOJ issues an immigration lookout bulletin against Jeane Napoles. 

March 24 – Rappler reports that in October 2014, Jeane Napoles attended the birthday party of the youngest daughter of Reynald Lim, Janet Napoles’ brother who has been at large since August 2013. The report says the party was held in Taguig City.

March 30 – The DOJ approves the filing of a P61-million tax evasion case against Janet and Jaime Napoles.

April 8 – Napoles pleads not guilty during the arraignment of her plunder case that has then-Masbate governor Rizalina Lanete as co-accused. Lanete likewise pleads not guilty to plunder and graft charges.

April 14 – Makati City RTC Branch 150 sentences Napoles to reclusion perpetua or a 40-year sentence, after it found her guilty in the serious illegal detention case filed by Benhur Luy.

April 16 – From Camp Bagong Diwa, Napoles is transferred to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, after her conviction in the serious illegal detention case.

April 24 – The Supreme Court (SC) approves the Sandiganbayan’s request to allow Napoles to leave the CIW for her bail hearings at the anti-graft court.

April 29 – The Court of Tax Appeals orders the arrest of Jeane Napoles after she failed to show up for her arraignment over the tax evasion case against her.

May 26 – Jo Christine and James Christopher Napoles ask the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division to reduce their P450,000 bail, claiming the amount is excessive.

June 24From a “congested” general ward, Janet Napoles is moved to the mother’s ward of the CIW.

July 14 – The United States Justice Department files a complaint before a Los Angeles federal district court, seeking to seize Napoles’ assets in the USwhich were worth $12.5 million.

November 8Napoles appeals to the Sandiganbayan to reconsider granting her bail in one of the plunder cases against her. This is weeks after the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division on October 16 denied her petition to post bail.

November 16Prosecution lawyers submit a 16-page comment seeking to deny the petitions for bail of Napoles and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.

DETENTION FACILITY. The Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City where pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles was previously jailed. File photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler


January 6The Sandiganbayan junks Napoles’ and Estrada’s petitions for bail. The court finds proof that Napoles and Estrada have “active participation” in the pork barrel scam.

January 18 – It is reported that after more than two years, the Taguig City Prosecutor’s Office dismisses Napoles’ libel case against Rappler reporter Natashya Gutierrez, saying that Gutierrez’s stories on Napoles were “neither defamatory nor malicious.” The prosecutor’s resolution is dated November 16, 2015.

March 15 – The SC upholds the plunder indictments of Napoles and Jessica “Gigi” Reyes over the pork barrel scam. It also affirms the indictment for plunder against Napoles’ driver, John Raymund de Asis, as well as the graft charges against Napoles’ children, Jo Christine and James Christopher.

April 13 – The Sandiganbayan grants bail to Napoles, Masbate Governor Lanete, and former APEC party-list representative Valdez. However, Napoles will stay behind bars as she is serving her sentence for illegally detaining Luy.

May 31 – The SC junks 3 petitions filed by Napoles against the Ombudsman, which found probable cause to indict her over the pork barrel scam.

August 21 – President Rodrigo Duterte says in a press conference in Davao City that Napoles’ list of lawmakers involved in the pork barrel scam deserves a second look. Duterte also links former justice secretary and current senator Leila de Lima to Napoles and the scam.

August 23 – De Lima responds to Duterte’s allegations, saying the issue is “rehashed” and “too unfair.”

August 30 – The SC upholds Napoles’ indictment in graft cases involving former Cagayan de Oro representative Constantino Jaraula. In its ruling, the SC denies separate petitions that challenged the Ombudsman’s decision to file these cases against Napoles and several others.

'PDAF SCAM QUEEN.' Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles appears at the Sandiganbayan on May 10, 2017. File photo by Rappler


January 11 – The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) recommends to the Court of Appeals (CA) the acquittal of Janet Napoles in the serious illegal detention case against her. 

February 15 – The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) publishes a report on the OSG’s recommendation.

Later, in a press conference, Solicitor General Jose Calida says his interest is “to see to it that justice is done.” He also says there is no deal between him and Napoles. (READ: SolGen parrots Napoles arguments in Luy case)

February 27 – Duterte says he supports Calida’s move to acquit Napoles in her serious illegal detention case.

March 6Napoles accuses De Lima of extortion, back when De Lima was justice secretary, over the serious illegal detention case. The senator denies the allegations. 

May 5 – The CA acquits Napoles in the serious illegal detention case filed by Luy. In reversing the decision of the Makati RTC, the CA says Napoles’ guilt was not proven beyond reasonable doubt. The decision is released to the media on May 8. 

May 10 – Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II announces that the DOJ will reopen the probe into the pork barrel scam. He also raises the possibility of Napoles becoming a state witness, explaining that one can qualify “as long as you can show that you’re not the most guilty.” 

Meanwhile, Napoles’ lawyer says their camp has asked the Sandiganbayan to order her transfer to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Custodial Center, citing threats to her life at her then-detention cell at the CIW in Mandaluyong City.

They also intend to file a new petition for bail, anchored on Napoles’ acquittal in the serious illegal detention case. (READ: After CA acquittal: What’s next for Janet Napoles?)

May 11 – Napoles’ lawyer meets with Aguirre for “exploratory talks” on the controversial PDAF cases. (FACT CHECK: What can Aguirre’s DOJ do in the Napoles case?)

Meanwhile, Aguirre says the DOJ’s reinvestigation will focus on the “instigator” of the pork barrel scam, alluding to former budget secretary Florencio Abad.

May 16 – From the CIW, Napoles is transferred back to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, as ordered the previous day by the Sandiganbayan 1st and 3rd Divisions. The anti-graft court denies Napoles’ plea to allow her transfer to the NBI Custodial Center. (IN PHOTOS: Napoles prepares for transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa)

On the same day, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales says Napoles will not become a state witness in the pork barrel scam cases.

May 22 – The Office of the Ombudsman, according to reports, files its comment with the Supreme Court, explaining why it is blocking Napoles’ attempt to be granted bail in the Enrile plunder case being heard by the Sandiganbayan.

May 29 – Napoles implicates opposition senators Franklin Drilon, Leila de Lima, and Antonio Trillanes IV in the pork barrel scam.

Trillanes and Drilon slam the allegation as “black propaganda.” De Lima, who is in detention over drug charges, has repeatedly denied all accusations against her.

June 20 – For the plunder trial of Revilla at the Sandiganbayan, Napoles files a motion to exclude from the proceedings her 2014 affidavit containing the list of lawmakers involved in the pork barrel scam.

Napoles explains the affidavit was made to support her application as state witness.

June 21 – The second division of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) junks the petition for review filed by Napoles’ daughter Jeane, questioning the basis of the tax evasion charges against her.

June 26 – Justice Secretary Aguirre creates a task force to reinvestigate the PDAF scam as well as to look into the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP implemented by the Aquino administration. It will be headed by Undersecretary Antonio Kho Jr, a fraternity brother of Aguirre and President Duterte.

June 29 – The CTA 3rd Division dismisses the motion of Jeane Napoles to junk the tax evasion charges against her.

July 6 – Napoles files her reply with the SC, requesting to be granted bail in the plunder case connected to Enrile.

August 30 – The Ombudsman drops plunder charges against Napoles and two ex-Cabinet members of the Arroyo administration over the Malampaya fund scam. Instead, the Ombudsman files 97 counts of graft against them.

September 18 – After the Sandiganbayan granted bail to Jinggoy Estrada, the Napoles and Revilla camps are reported to be preparing to request for bail as well.

November 7 – In a news briefing, SC Spokesman Theodore Te announces that the High Court denied Napoles’ petition for bail in the Enrile plunder case. “The Court found that the Sandiganbayan had not gravely abused its discretion in denying the petition,” says Te.

November 30 – It is reported that the Napoles and Revilla camps have begun moves at the Sandiganbayan to seek the outright dismissal of the plunder cases against them.

December 6 – The Court of Tax Appeals dismisses the tax evasion case against Jeane Napoles for “insufficiency of evidence.”

December 12 – Napoles’ two children, Jo Christine and James Christopher, ask the Sandiganbayan to reduce the amount of bail over graft and malversation charges in the Malampaya fund scam, from P22 million each to only P690,000 each.

PORK SCAM. Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles attends a hearing at the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler


February 6 – The SC denies Napoles’ motion for reconsideration in her bail petition in the Enrile plunder case.

February 13 – Napoles files a supplemental petition in the Revilla plunder case, saying she should be allowed bail because she is not the main plunderer. 

February 27 – The justice department puts Napoles under provisional coverage of the Witness Protection Program. The certification was used by Napoles’ lawyers as part of their motion for Napoles to be transferred from Camp Bagong Diwa to the WPP custody. (READ: FAQ: On becoming a state witness)

March 16 – The media gets hold of a copy of the DOJ certification.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales says the provisional witness protection granted to Napoles will have “no effect” on the cases under trial. 

Meanwhile, Aguirre argues that he sees “no reason” to resign as Justice Secretary despite controversies that have rocked his department.

March 19 – During a hearing on Napoles’ request to be moved to a safehouse, the Sandiganbayan 5th Division tells the DOJ to comment on threats to her life at Camp Bagong Diwa, after one of her lawyers said the department had such proof.

Meanwhile, 3rd Division Chairperson and Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje Tang also says the WPP law does not allow the DOJ to take Napoles into its custody.

At another hearing, Napoles lawyer Stephen David admits to the Sandiganbayan 3rd Division that he had “discussions” with Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea sometime in March about the requested transfer. Aguirre confirms the account, but Medialdea denies giving David “advice”.

March 20 – Justice Secretary Aguirre argues that the plunder charges against Napoles is a “defect” because it is a “charge against a government official.”

March 21 – Napoles submits to the court a report from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) detailing an October 2017 incident where she claims a greyhound or raiding team “harassed” her during a search of her cell.

March 27 – Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission member Greco Belgica believes that Napoles “is a willing beneficiary of corruption, but not the mastermind.” It’s the politicians who are, he adds.

April 5 – The Sandiganbayan 1st Division denies Napoles’ request to be moved out of Camp Bagong Diwa. The court says her request is “contrary to the clear and express import” of the law providing for the Witness Protection Program. The decision is released to the media on April 10.

With this ruling, she is effectively prevented from being moved out, despite similar pending motions in two other Sandiganbayan divisions.

Meanwhile, President Duterte announces that he has accepted Aguirre’s resignation as DOJ Secretary. He is replaced by Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

April 16 – The DOJ, now led by Guevarra, submits a comment to the Sandiganbayan saying that Napoles does not have a right to demand a transfer to a safehouse.

He argues that her application “is still pending,” and the provisional coverage provided to her “merely signifies that she has yet to complete all the requirements and/or that her application is still under evaluation.”

Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan 5th Division also denies Napoles’ request for the transfer.

May 5 – The Sandiganbayan 3rd Division ends Napoles’ transfer bid by denying her motion due to insufficient evidence.

May 25 – Following the court rulings, Guevarra ends Napoles’ provisional coverage in the WPP.

June 1 – In a text message to Rappler, Guevarra says that any new case or confession from Napoles will not affect her plunder cases before the Sandiganbayan.

July 23 – A new case against Janet Napoles: The Office of the Ombudsman announces that she and some regional officials of the Department of Agriculture are charged with graft and malversation of public funds over the “fertilizer fund scam” in 2004 in Surigao del Norte.

July 26 – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales’ 7-year term ends. President Duterte picks Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires as her replacement. (READ: Ombudsman Martires: I’m not out to please)

August 1 – The US Department of Justice announces that Janet Napoles and 3 of her children, her brother Reynald Luy Lim and his wife Ana Marie were indicted by a federal grand jury.

This is in connection with domestic and international money laundering and conspiracy for transferring $20 million of her alleged earnings from the pork barrel scam to the United States.

Guevarra argues that cases against her must be terminated first before Napoles can be extradited to the US. 

Tang agrees with this argument.

August 3 – Guevarra later says that besides waiting for the Napoles cases in the country to finish, another option is “temporarily surrendering her” to US authorities for the money laundering cases. (EXPLAINER: Can the Philippines extradite the Napoleses to U.S.?)

August 4 – News reports say that Janet’s daughter Jeane Napoles left the Philippines before the indictment of the US federal grand jury.

Later in the day, Jeane’s lawyer Ian Encarnacion says she is already back in Manila. Jeane was on a left for Indonesia on July 27 for a short trip and returned on August 3. He adds, “She is here in the Philippines and she will face all the cases against her, both here and abroad. ” – Michael Bueza and intern Khrizel Coronel/Rappler.com

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