Makati court transfers Napoles to Laguna police camp-A A +A
Friday, August 30, 2013
MANILA (2nd Update) -- The Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) ordered on Friday the transfer of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles from the custody of the Makati City Jail to Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa in Laguna.
Makati RTC branch 150 presiding judge Elmo Alameda granted the Motion for Reconsideration on the Commitment Order filed by Napoles' camp Thursday.
"Consequently, the Commitment Order dated August 29, 2013 is reconsidered and is superseded by the Commitment Order dated August 30, 2013 addressed to Camp Commander of Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna," the order stated.
At a hearing on the motion, Makati City Jail Acting Warden Fermin Enriquez said he cannot personally guarantee Napoles' safety 24/7.
The Makati City Jail houses 545 inmates, 104 of whom are staying in the female dormitory. It is also short in security officers and only has 65 personnel, and this does not follow the ideal 1-to-7 guard-prisoner ratio.
Enriquez said daily visiting hours of families of other inmates could impose security risk if Napoles continues to stay in the said penitentiary.
He said anyone can just show two valid identification cards to get to visit prisoners every Tuesday to Friday at 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. during weekends.
"Hindi ma-control kung may mag visit na hindi naman talaga relatives. May possibility na kung sino man ang gustong patahimikin si Mrs. Napoles, ay magpanggap bilang kamag-anak," said Atty. Lorna Kapunan, legal counsel of the accused.
The jail warden then recommend the transfer of Napoles to either Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City or back to Camp Crame in Quezon City. He also recommended the transfer of Napoles to Fort Sto. Domingo.
Meantime, the detention facility in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna was recommended by Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) National Capital Region Chief Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo.
Fajardo, who was part of the task force that transferred Napoles from the Camp Crame to the Makati City jail, said Fort Sto. Domingo is currently the training grounds of Philippine National Police's (PNP) Special Action Force.
The CIDG-NCR Chief said that an ocular visit has been made in the area and the detention facility is situated in the middle of the camp, has perimeter fence, boosts one entry and exit gates, and is located far from residential areas in Laguna.
Fajardo said the existing security personnel at the Makati City Jail needed augmentation from other security units of the PNP to provide security to Napoles "to ensure her safety."
"The threats are so high because she will be implicating a lot of high ranked officials," he added.
Other high profile personalities previously detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo were former Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari, Senator Gringo Honasan and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Napoles stands trial over serious illegal detention of a former employee, Benhur Luy. Luy is the main whistleblower in the alleged multi-billion peso pork barrel scam, which involves big names in politics.
In granting the motion, Alameda cited a 2005 Supreme Court Circular giving authority to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to direct the transfer or change the place of detention of high profile/high risk detainees with the approval of the court.
Lawyer Diosfa Toledanes-Valencia, Makati clerk of court, said they have already furnished a copy to concerned parties and the management of the Makati jail will decide on when they will transfer Napoles to the Laguna police camp.
Napoles is currently detained in a small room with air conditioning unit at the Makati City jail. She was transferred to the facility late Thursday evening and was accompanied by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima.
Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, Napoles' counsel, welcomed the court's decision.
"Bakit naman natin sasayangin ang resources ng government just to watch over her when she can be transferred to safer facility," she said, adding that Napoles camp is not invoking for a hospital arrest.
Kapunan, meanwhile, said they are not withdrawing the Motion to Inhibit for Alameda because "it's subjective to the discretion of the judge." (Glaiza Jarloc/Sunnex)