Pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles yesterday claimed that Senator Leila de Lima attempted to extort money from her when she was still justice secretary.
Napoles made the allegation at Sandiganbayan during an ambush interview.
Convicted of illegal detention, Napoles was supposed to attend the graft and plunder pre-trial of former senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada that failed to push through.
“Wala naman po talagang illegal detention na nangyari. Ito po ay extortion lamang. Dismissed na po ang kaso na ‘to sa DoJ noon pa,” she said.
When asked who was extorting from her, Napoles dropped the bombshell: “Isa si Secretary Leila de Lima.” She did not reveal the amount demanded from her, as well as the other personalities who made the extortion try.
The illegal detention case she was talking about involved the taking of her second cousin Benhur Luy, a witness in the pork barrel scam on December 19, 2012.
He was allegedly detained by Napoles and her brother, Reynald “Jojo” Lim in her Taguig condominium to make sure that they would not be tied to cases involving the fertilizer and Malampaya fund scam as well as the PDAF-funded projects.
Luy’s relatives wrote a letter to De Lima on March 1, 2013 seeking help, so National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents came to his aid on March 22 at the Pacific Plaza Tower. He had been detained there for three months.
Napoles denied the accusation, and even said that NBI agents involved in the case tried to extort money from her. The illegal detention case was dismissed on June 10, but after Luy appealed the DoJ’s decision, the dismissal was reversed. (Czarina Nicole Ong)