Filipino-Americans blocking sale of Napoles' US assets

Filipino-Americans blocking sale of Napoles' US assets
Jeane Napoles with President Benigno Aquino III.

LOS ANGELES-Filipino American community leaders are vehemently blocking the sale of the luxury condominium unit owned by Jeane Napoles, daughter of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, at the high-rise Ritz Carlton on suspicion it was acquired with ill-gotten money.

American realty websites listed the 1,500-square-foot condo unit with two bedrooms and two baths on Sept. 23, with an asking price of $1.475.

"Balitang America," which first reported the planned sale, said it was originally bought under the name of Jeane Napoles in July 2011 for $1.28 million (S$1.6 million).

Tainted money

Lawyer Arnedo Valera of the Washington, DC-based Migrant Heritage Commission, said the sale must be stopped because it was likely acquired with the use of "tainted money," noting that Jeane is a full-time student with no known source of income.

In media interviews, Napoles admitted she bought the condo unit located at the heart of L.A. using "our hard-earned money." She also admitted owning other US properties.

The elder Napoles, who voluntarily surrendered after President Aquino announced a P10-million reward for her arrest, is currently detained by Philippine authorities after a complaint of serious illegal detention had been filed against her at the Office of the Ombudsman.

San Francisco community leader Rodel Rodis told the FILAM STAR Tuesday that he would initiate legal moves, in coordination with fellow Fil-Am lawyers, to stop the sale because he said he was convinced the property "is the fruit of a very poisonous pork barrel tree."

"I think that property (condo unit) rightfully belongs to the Filipino people and should be returned to them," Rodis said in a phone interview.

"The Philippine government should take immediate steps to seize the condo unit and all Napoles-owned properties in the US to safeguard the interests of the Filipino people."

Valera said Fil-Ams should work together to unmask all Napoles properties in America to prevent unscrupulous persons from benefiting from them at the expense of Filipino taxpayers.

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