Witness tells Philippine senate: We formed foundations for ‘pork’ funds

Witness tells Philippine senate: We formed foundations for ‘pork’ funds

A former employee of Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the 10-billion-peso (S$285 million) pork barrel scam in the Philippines, was the first to take the witness stand Thursday and narrated how they formed different foundations where the legislators funds were funnelled.

Merlina Suñas, who worked for Napoles for about 13 years since 2000, told the committee she was among those who helped organised the foundations.

"Kasama ko po lahat ng employees ng JLN (Napoles' corporation), tulong-tulong po kami sa pagbuo ng mga foundations para magamit sa pag-transact , pagkuha ng pondo sa different t agencies ng gobyerno (Together with all employees of JLN, we worked together to form the foundations that would be used to transact, get funds from different government agencies)," Suñas told the Senate blue ribbon committee.

In fact, Suñas said, her cousin, Nemencio Pablo Jr., was even named president of one of Napoles' foundations.

Suñas said she later apologised to her cousin for using his name without his knowledge.

She said they prepared the letter request, memorandum of agreement and other documents needed to transact with government agencies.

When asked if she knew about the sharing scheme of the funds allegedly sourced from legislators' priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel funds, Suñas initially said she was not familiar about it.

But when asked again by Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, the witness said she knew about the scheme but did not know exactly where the money went.

Suñas was among the six whistle-blowers, including Benhur Luy, who were present at the hearing.

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