Update as of Aug 4, 2013:
Overwhelmed by the interest in the blog generated a comment written by “Mr. Anonymous Commenter” who was moved to comment in my blog post. Given the huge number of comments, I feel compelled to inform the readers that comments DO NOT necessarily reflect the views of the blog owner. Note that I have chosen not to censor comments until now. However, I regret that I have found the need to delete the last four numbers of the cellphone number another Anonymous commenter has posted as I cannot sleep knowing someone innocent may be a victim of harassment due to this. Please do not post phone numbers in your comments anymore as there’s no way to authenticate the source of information and innocent Filipinos may be victimized because of this.
Thank you so much.
The recent news over the possible misuse of some Senator’s Pork Barrels which has ended up in the pockets of unscrupulous politicians and a very greedy businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles has swept social networking sites recently causing outrage among netizens.
This news, however, has taken on a new dimension with the revelation of Ms. Napoles’ children’s extravagant lifestyles taken from their own personal blogs that they have neglected to discontinue in time. (See full article and video here: Napoles’ daughter blogs about lavish lifestyle and Napoles daughter flaunts family’s wealth) This information only strengthens the possibility that the accusations against Ms. Napoles and the senators just might be true.
How can someone who does business in a nation where over 70% of the population live below the poverty line afford this kind of lavish lifestyle without any legitimate business to explain it? Even the country’s biggest businessmen: Henry Sy, Lucio Tan and the Gokongwei families don’t have this kind of extravagant lifestyle even though they have more concrete businesses and assets to show for it.
In my curiosity, I went to the website of Ms. Janet Lim Napoles’ corporation called JLN Corporation to check out whether or not her claims of legitimately earning her wealth have any grounds. Surely, if they had this huge business capable of sustaining their lifestyle, it would reflect in their websites and will have an impact on some business news if I search it online.
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.
The website is a shell of a site devoid of any information. It does not mention ANY products or specific services offered. It’s just a hodgepodge of photos and mentions of exciting industries obviously taken online with no real indication of how they are directly involved in said industries. The website continues to say that the company was established in 2009 and hints at subsidiaries but has no mention of the names of the subsidiaries which is weird at best. I also tried searching their names online, thinking if they did earn their billions through legal means in other countries then their names will surely pop up on news or websites since people are fascinated with self-made billionaires… again.. nothing.
Napoles has recently offered to “open” her bank accounts. Anyone with half a brain knows that means nothing. In this globalized world, they can easily stash funds in other countries where bank secrecy laws are more strict and fewer questions are asked from depositors.
What I find more believable is the truth that came directly from the mouth of her “babes”… her children… who have shamelessly flaunted their unexplained wealth, in full photographic and video evidence, online. To me, that bears more weight than any offer of opening local bank accounts.
Her own friends have backed up the claims by saying that she quickly grew into wealth, seemingly overnight, and wasted no time in letting everyone know it.
I believe that the people who are rich because they worked hard for it themselves would never boast about what they own. They don’t need to boast because they feel secure about themselves (and it’s tacky too). You would never see the children of tycoons boast about their purchases online.
To me, the worst part about this picture is that these people are flaunting their obviously excessive lifestyles which may have been obtained through corruption while so many Filipinos are going to bed hungry and unsure where their next meal will come from.
While they are shopping walking around in bags that cost well over P500,000.00 a pop and prancing around in shoes that average at P40,000.00 a pair, there are Filipinos who don’t have access to basic necessities like public schools or public hospitals because the politicians claim there’s no budget to finance such projects. There are Filipinos who don’t have homes and are forced to live in squalid makeshift homes even if they have legitimate jobs because the government can’t provide cheap housing within the city that is affordable to those earning the minimum wage.
It’s appalling on so many levels. What saddens me though is this issue may just go away without any further investigation. Filipinos have notoriously short attention spans and it’s likely this Pork Barrel Scam will just die a natural death, like so many other corruption issues unearthed in the past. Although none of the past corruption issues seem to be to this degree and implicate so many politicians, the possibility of a cover up will also be greater given how many people will benefit from this issue dying down.
I really hope this family (throw in the politicians implicated in the scam as well!) will go under the relentless microscopic scrutiny they deserve. And if found guilty, punished severely as an example. That’s the only way to send a message that pocketing the money pegged for the growth of the nation is NOT okay.
I know, I know, they should be considered innocent until proven guilty. But in my humble opinion, the stench of guilt is strong in this one.