By JUN RAMIREZ
The three luxury yachts purportedly owned by Janet Lim Napoles, alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, anchored at the Manila Yatch Club along Roxas Boulevard, Manila can no longer be located.
The disappearance of the boats raised suspicion that they were used by Napoles and her brother Reynald to flee the country.
Bureau of Immigration Officer-in-Charge Siegfred Mison said the boats went missing shortly after a Makati court ordered their arrest two weeks ago for allegedly kidnapping whistle-blower Benhur Luy.
Mison could not give the names of the vessels, saying he ordered immigration intelligence operatives to coordinate with the Philippine Coast Guard in locating the watercrafts.
He said his office has already coordinated with immigration authorities in Indonesia to help the BI in searching for the yachts and in arresting the siblings.
Mison disclosed there were intelligence reports that the yachts may have sailed to the Indonesian island of Marore, which is nearest to the Philippines.
The BI chief added that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also knew about the missing boats.
Mison said that if the suspects did use the boats in their escape, they could have gone from hopping for island to island from Manila Bay, then to Cebu and finally to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
He said they could not have possibly sailed north to Hongkong or nearby countries due to the continuing bad weather that made sea travel in the area dangerous.
Like Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Mison believed that the fugitives are still in the country.
He could not say whether the children of Napoles have already left the country, saying they were not on the BI’s hold departure order.