Makati court denies Napoles’ bail petition anew

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


MANILA -- Suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles will remain at a police detention facility in Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for allegedly keeping whistleblower Benhur Luy against his will for three months last year.

"Just got info that RTC (Regional Trial Court)-Makati already denied the MR (motion for reconsideration) of Napoles on the denial of her bail application in the serious illegal detention case," said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima in a text message on Wednesday.

The resolution came three months after Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati City Regional Trial Court branch 150 gave weight to the prosecution’s theory of conspiracy between Napoles and her brother, Reynald Lim, to stop Luy from spilling the beans on the scam.

Napoles denied detaining Luy from December 2012 to March 2013, claiming her estranged personal assistant went on a spiritual retreat in exchange for the non-filing of cases against him for allegedly stealing P300,000 and obtaining loans worth more than P5 million without her consent.

Luy was rescued by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents in Napoles’ condominium unit last March 22, 2013.

Months later, he exposed Napoles’ racket of conniving with lawmakers to allow her fake foundations to carry out ghost projects under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).

The businesswoman, who has been detained since late August last year, allegedly offered up to 60 percent of the project cost as kickback for lawmakers, who diverted their PDAF allocation to her non-government organizations (NGOs).

She is now facing plunder charges, along with some senators and other government officials, for the PDAF and Malampaya gas fund mess.

Meanwhile, rights group Hustisya criticized the P150,000-monthly expense by the government for Napoles’ detention.

She should be transferred to a regular prison, said Hustisya secretary general Cristina Guevarra, adding the public should not be paying for a huge amount to detain a person like Napoles, who allegedly amassed millions of pesos from the nation’s coffers.

The group said political prisoners, who are imprisoned on trumped-up charges, are allocated a measly budget of P50 a day for food and cramped in small cells and have little water supply.

“Also, Napoles can seek medical attention anytime she wants to. Political prisoners, on the other hand, need to be in critical conditions to be allowed to be brought to the hospital,” said Guevarra.

Last year, Hustisya said political prisoner Alison Alcantara died of diabetes complications. He was detained at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa but was only brought to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila after he went into a coma.

Hustisya said there are currently 427 political prisoners detained in different jails all over the country, most of them charged with trumped-up and non-bailable cases.

Many of them belong to people’s organizations, activists, and are ordinary farmers and workers. (Sunnex)

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