Napoles an investment scammer, caused my wife's death — Col. Ariel Querubin
Whenever retired Philippine Marines Col. Ariel Querubin hears or sees the name or face of Janet Lim-Napoles, he recalls the distress that he says claimed his wife's life when she could not recover money she invested in a Napoles venture.
"It was stress-related. Kung makita mo siya nung sa wake, wala ka makikita na trace na naghirap siya. Bigla lang siyang namatay," Querubin said as he recounted for GMA News' Kara David, the days leading to his wife Loreta's death.
The Medal of Valor honoree said in Kara David's report on "24 Oras" that his wife was rushed to the hospital after she visited Napoles to get her to return some money she invested. Loreta Querubin died the next day.
Napoles is accused of channeling pork barrel funds to bogus foundations for ghost projects allegedly used for kickbacks by lawmakers.
The former Janet Lim is the wife of retired Marine major Jaime Napoles. Loreta and Janet Lim-Napoles became friends in 1993, Col. Querubin said. Mrs. Napoles is a godmother or “ninang” of one of Querubin's children.
Querubin said Janet Lim-Napoles convinced his wife to invest in one of her ventures.
"Alam naman nating lahat na supplier siya. Meaning siguro ang tingin ko, may kontrata sila, kulang sa puhunan. Nagbigay sila ng pera. Binigay niya porsyento na 5 percent," Querubin said in the report.
But Napoles' checks to Mrs. Querubin bounced, the retired Marine said. The checks were supposedly for the return on investment in Napoles' venture.
Seeking to cut her losses, Col. Querubin said his wife tried to ask Napoles to return the money she had invested. Mrs. Querubin failed in that effort.
Coal mining in Indonesia
Napoles claims her wealth came from a coal mining business in Indonesia and that her husband manages the mining firm.
"So 1995, nakabili na raw sila ng minahan. And ang nagma-manage raw yung husband. How can the husband manage a mining company na nasa active service pa siya nung time na 'yun?" Querubin said.
"Mukhang padami ng padami ang inconsistencies," the retired marine observed.
Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares said they are taking a particular interest in Napoles' wealth - and that they will trace the very Indonesian firm in question.
"These are utterance against self-interest. So these are leads that lead us toward looking for those evidences. But we have to get the certificate showing ownership," Henares said.
In an interview with Malou Mangahas in the program "Investigative Documentaries," Napoles vehemently denied the allegations against her.
"'Yan ay pawang kasinungalingan. Sinasabi niya 'yan dapat siya ang magpatunay. Madali magsabi, Imposible naman na ang isang kongresista magpapagamit ng ganun kalaking porsyento. Paano naman mangyayari sa delivery nila?" Napoles said.
"Wala ho kaming alam niyan. Sila ang nakakaalam. Siya po ang magpakita ng ebidensya. Hindi naman ako pwede magsalita on their behalf kasi hindi ko alam," the businesswoman said.
Napoles even made a joke about the whistleblowers' claims that there was a tub full of cash in Napoles' home. "I don't know how to describe... Ba't naman of all places, bathtub?" she asked.
Napoles added: "Natatawa pati mga ibang katulong ko. Honestly, ginawa nga naming katuwaan. Nagtakbuhan kami sa bath tub. Kaya hanggang ngayon, nagwi-wish kami na may lumabas sa bath tub. Sana po magkatotoo."
Napoles said the issue has affected even their family - particularly her daughter, Jeane, who has been on the receiving end of criticism in social media.
"Kasi po kung galing po sa iligal pera namin, siguro kung ganun, sinabihan ko na anak ko na huwag niyo ilalabas 'yan dahil ninakaw lang natin 'yung pera," Napoles said.
Napoles said the allegations against them incite trial by publicity.
"Mas mabuti nga po 'yung may investigation eh. Kaysa sa trial by publicity," she said. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/ELR, GMA News