Suspected Philippine pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim-Napoles has a penchant for photo opportunities with politicians. First, she and daughter, Jeane Napoles, embarrassed current President Benigno Aquino III when images of Jeane and the president came out in social media, hinting of close ties between the Napoles family and Mr Aquino.
It's now the Napoleses turn to share the embarrassment with another Philippine president who actually had his own scams that caused him to be kicked out of power in 2000. Rappler published over the weekend two photos of Ms Napoles with the Estradas, one with the power couple and another with some more friends.
Source: Screen grab from Rappler/Twitter
Ironically, ousted President Joseph Estrada immediately told media when photos of Mr Aquino and Jeane came out, that he does not know personally the Napoleses. However, Rappler published the photo taken during the birthday of Presentacion Estrada, wife of the former president's son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
Source: Screen grab from Rappler/Facebook
Like Mr Aquino's excuse, he said being a politician and movie actor, he has so many photo opportunities with other people that he could not remember all of them.
"I have many photos with people I do not know," the former president said in Filipino.
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Not unexpectedly, Ms Napoles denies any connection with the pork barrel scam and even insists they are a simple middle-class family whose aspirations are simple such as eating three square meals a day.
However, social media memes of Ms Napoles, based on the Senate testimony of whistleblower Benhur Luy, said that she has so much excess cash from the scam, coursed through fictitious NGOs headed by her maids and other household employees that she keeps some of them in a bathtub or under her bed.
As the Senate digs dipper into the scam, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said that 3 of 5 senators could face plunder charges because of their involvement in the scam. Although Mr Cayetano did not give names, it is believed he is alluding to Senators Estrada, Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce-Enrile.
Besides the senators, some of their employees such as chiefs of staff are allegedly also involved in the anomaly, with the chief of staff of Mr Enrile, Attorney Gigi Reyes, reportedly fleeing the country.
Another person whom investigators are looking into is former Metrobank manager Ma Winnie Villanueva, who helped Ms Napoles open and maintain accounts in the Metrobank branch in Magdalena St., Binondo, Manila, where Ms Villanueva, a very close friend of Ms Napoles, worked. Upon her retirement from the bank, Ms Villanueva continued to serve as official auditor of the financial reports that Mr Luy prepared for Ms Napoles.
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