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Cayetano: Start forfeiture proceedings vs Napoles, cohorts

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano said that forfeiture proceedings should be immediately initiated against the properties of Janet Lim-Napoles and those who have been charged in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, saying that Filipino families must get their money back.

“Kapag nakita mo na hindi proportional ang pera ng isang public official dun sa kanyang kita ay pwede ng kunin ng gobyerno ang properties na ito. Ang tanong ko nga, meron na ba tayong na-file na forfeiture cases sa mga senador? Easier ito sa graft at plunder; ito mas mabilis,” Cayetano pointed out.

Citing Republic Act 6770 and Republic Act 1379, Cayetano said the Ombudsman has the power to conduct a preliminary investigation on civil forfeiture upon a complaint filed by a citizen taxpayer.

A Manila Court has previously issued a freeze order on the bank accounts and properties Napoles following the petition for civil forfeiture of assets filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in February.

Cayetano said the freeze order should cover all her properties, including the pricey jewelry collection she purchased using pork barrel funds intended for Filipino families.

News reports show Napoles’ collection includes diamond necklaces and tennis bracelets, necklaces and bracelets with South Sea pearls, and other pieces with big precious stones.

It was also reported that Napoles has shares of stocks in several corporations, and holds memberships in exclusive clubs. Napoles likewise owns a Ritz Carlton Residences condominium unit in Los Angeles, a residential lot and preschool in California, and 20 other vehicles, all of which are yet to be included in the freeze order.

Cayetano also doubts the claim of Napoles that she pocketed only P2 billion from the scam.

“Bakit hindi nila ipakita yung computation? Paano naging P2 billion? Maraming pinakitang properties si Ms. Napoles na negosyo eh, may hotel sa Amerika, may sinasabi siyang coal firm sa Indonesia. Dapat isauli mo yung buo,” he said.

“Talagang inu-unti-unti nila yung pag-o-offer sa gobyerno. Parang naniniwala ako sa whistleblower na meron silang kausap para dito sa immunity o sa state witness at parang pa-unti-unti, pinapabango nila sarili nila. Kung isasauli, sino bang may ayaw? Kung yan ay sinauli, ilang notebook at classroom ang maibibigay sa ating mga kabataan,” Cayetano added. #

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