The Philippines has formally asked the United States to freeze the assets in the US of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, saying that the assets if proven to have been illegally obtained rightfully belonged to the Philippine government, a source privy to the discussions said on Friday.
The source, who talked to the Inquirer on condition that he will not be named, said Department of Justice (DOJ) officials recently went to the US Embassy in Manila to formally submit and discuss the request.
"The Philippine government requested that properties acquired by [Napoles] and her family be frozen pending resolution of the cases filed against them," the source said.
The source explained that the freezing of the assets was to ensure that the stolen money can be returned to the Philippine Treasury should the properties be proved to have been illegally acquired.
"All identified assets here and abroad should be frozen pending the resolution of the cases," the source said.
The US assets, mainly real estate, form part of the vast property holdings of Napoles estimated to be worth at least P5 billion based on the documents that a former bookkeeper of Napoles has submitted to the DOJ.
The request for the freezing of the Napoles assets was based on the plunder complaint that the DOJ has filed before the Ombudsman against Napoles, which is now in the preliminary stage, the source said.
Charged along with Napoles were three senators, five former House members, several dozen minor government officials and a few Napoles employees.
"These cases will then be filed in the Sandiganbayan where criminal trial and forfeiture proceedings will begin," the source explained.
List of US properties
Among the Napoles properties in the United States identified in the request was the Anaheim Express Inn registered under the Western Investment Corp. with address at 620 W Orangewood Avenue, Anaheim, California.