MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Ramon Revilla’s aide lawyer Richard Cambe went to the JLN Corporation’s offices to collect his and the lawmaker’s kickbacks from projects supposedly funded by Revilla’s multimillion-peso pork barrel allocations, whistleblower Merlina Suñas told the Sandiganbayan on Thursday.
The witness, however, said she never saw Revilla personally collect money in connection with the pork barrel scam allegedly masterminded by Janet Lim Napoles.
Suñas testified during the continuation of Revilla’s bail hearing. Revilla is facing plunder and graft charges in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Napoles is a co-accused in the plunder case.
Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada asked Suñas if she was present when money from the company’s vaults were removed, to which she replied in the affirmative. She added that she saw Cambe when he would get kickbacks for him and the senator.
“Galing yung pera (for the rebates) sa vault na naka assign kay Benhur. Dun ko lang nakikita si Atty. Cambe, pag kukuha ng rebates niya and ni Sen. Revilla,” Suñas said.
Suñas, however, admitted that she never saw Revilla personally receive money from Napoles.
“I only met Sen. Revilla during occasions like the death of Napoles’ mother nung February 2008,” she said.
Like principal whistleblower Benhur Luy, Suñas admitted that she received some P4 million to P5 million in total commissions from over her years of service to Napoles.
Suñas, however, said the amount didn’t amounty to the one percent from the cost of the projects that she and Napoles agreed on.
“One percent [dapat yun commission ko] pero di nasusunod yun. Kung anong binibigay niya, we accept. From 2004, mga P4 million to P5 million. Karamihan nilo-loan namin sa kaniya,” Suñas said.
Suñas said there were three vaults at the JLN Corporation office at the Discovery Suites in the Ortigas area. She said fellow former employee Luy held the key to the main office vault.
Ponferrada asked Suñas why she decided to speak up after more than a decade of loyal service to Napoles.
Suñas said she worked for Napoles for 12 years, before suddenly turning around and executing an affidavit that implicated her boss as the alleged pork barrel mastermind.
“If you’re loyal to Napoles, why are you testifying?” Ponferrada asked in open court.
Suñas replied that she felt she had to speak up, due to the illegal nature of the Napoles transactions.
“Naging loyal po ako sa kaniya. Ang tine-testify ko naman yung naging kalakaran. Marami na po akong nalalaman na hindi na dapat patagalin pa. Hindi karapat-dapat ang mga nangyari. Dapat ‘di na to mangyari sa ibang lawmakers,” Suñas said.
Revilla, along with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Jinggoy Estrada have been implicated in the scam that saw millions of pesos of lawmakers’ PDAF diverted to bogus NGOs.
In affidavits executed by Suñas in 2013, she claimed that she was tasked by Napoles to withdraw money in the millions, which were then given to lawmakers as “rebates.” (MNS)