Laguna residents reject high-profile prisoners-A A +A
Monday, September 2, 2013
THE government should build a "high-profile detention cell" because the residents of Sta. Rosa, Laguna have had enough, Representative Dan Fernandez said in a privilege speech at the House of Representatives Monday.
Over the weekend, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the multi-billion peso priority development assistance funds (PDAF) controversy, was transferred to the Fort Sto. Domingo in Laguna.
Napoles surrendered to President Benigno Aquino III after two weeks of hiding as she was ordered arrested by a Makati City court over serious illegal detention charges filed by her cousin, whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court granted the transfer of Napoles. Her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, said there was a "clear danger to her (client’s) life."
"Bukas makalawa sino pa po ang ikukulong sa Cuartel de Sto. Domingo? Senators ulit o congressman kaya o justices naman. Maaaring sa ating mga kasamahan ay balewala ang isyung ito pero para sa mga kababayan ko sa Sta. Rosa, this is a big issue to protect not only our people but our history as well," Fernandez said.
Fernandez pointed out that Cuartel de Santo Domingo, now known as Fort Sto. Domingo, is a "historical landmark” in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
He said the structure was built in 1877 to guard against the rebels from Silang, Cavite. It also served as the center of commerce during the Japanese occupation and a safe haven for women to protect them from being abused by the Japanese Imperial Army, Fernandez added.
The Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is presently using the Fort Sto. Domingo as its training camp.
Fernandez also stressed that the Laguna camp is not a property of the PNP or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which used Fort Sto. Domingo as a sentinel from 1957 to 1990.
"Mr. Speaker, we are bound to stop this; making and having Cuartel de Santo Domino as a site for detention of high-profile persons who are accused of doing unlawful deeds. And we can only do this if we will start to regain possession of the said property," Fernandez said.
Aside from Napoles, those who have been previously jailed at the Fort Santo Domingo are former President Joseph Estrada and his son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Gringo Honasan, and Moro leader Nur Misuari. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)