Kapunan: Napoles is scapegoat of corrupt lawmakers

MANILA, Philippines - Several weeks since news reports first tagged Janet Lim-Napoles as the alleged head of a syndicate behind a multimillion pork barrel scam, her lawyer Lorna Kapunan said her client has no idea where the allegations against her are coming from.

"She says that she doesn't have a single contract with the government so she does not know where the issues are coming from," Kapunan was quoted as saying by GMA News to Go's Twitter account, on its Tuesday, August 13 episode.

Kapunan told News to Go that Napoles had become a "convenient" scapegoat for politicians who have misused their Priority Development and Assistance Fund (PDAF). She said news reports linking Napoles to the pork barrel scam are merely an orchestrated media campaign to attack her client.

"Anything that is PDAF-related is now a Napoles scam," Kapunan said.

She also slammed the credibility of whistleblower Benhur Luy — Napoles' cousin and former personal assistant — saying he only started spilling the beans on Napoles when a warrant of arrest against him for qualified theft was released.

Luy has claimed he decided to talk to police after he was allegedly detained by Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim for 3 months to prevent him from putting up a similar scheme.

According to Luy and other whistleblowers' testimonies, Napoles is the beneficiary and mastermind of a massive pork barrel scam which funnels government money into ghost projects of fake foundations created by Napoles.

'Truth is her armor'

But Kapunan said Napoles' wealth is not from pocketing lawmakers' pork barrel but from "hard work" and good investments.

Kapunan insisted the family owns 40% of an Indonesia-based coal company but refused to name the corporation, and said that the Napoleses first made their money selling pork — the real one.

She also urged the public not to focus on the family and their wealth but on the misuse of pork barrel by lawmakers, adding, "Who is the real thief here?"

Kapunan appealed to the Inquirer, which first exposed Napoles,  to "please stop writing" about her client, calling the media reports "trial by publicity."

"Her armor is the truth. She wouldn't face [the Inquirer] without a lawyer if she wasn't telling the truth," she said.

Napoles had earlier visited the Inquirer office supposedly without her lawyer's knowledge, to personally respond to their questions and to ask them not to publish anything without first asking for her side. - Rappler.com