Court orders Napoles moved to Laguna facility

This office building inside the Fort Santo Domingo served as the detention cell of former president Joseph Estrada and Nur Misuari, chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front when they were separately incarcerated in the police training camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

MANILA — Janet Lim-Napoles will be transferred from the Makati City Jail to Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna, which authorities said was a more secure facility.

Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 on Friday decided on Fort Santo Domingo for Napoles’ detention quarters on the recommendation of Director Roberto Fajardo, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s chief for the National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR).

Napoles’ lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, had asked the court to detain her client either in Camp Crame or at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

But Fajardo said she will be safer in Fort Santo Domingo since it is also the training center of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF).

Napoles, the central figure in the pork barrel scandal, surrendered to President Aquino 3rdin Malacañang Wednesday night, several hours after the President announced a P10-million bounty for her.

She was wanted on charges of illegal detention along with her brother Reynald Lim.

From the presidential palace, Napoles was driven under heavy escort to Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame where she was fingerprinted, photographed and given a medical check-up.

On Thursday night she was transferred to the Makati jail.

At the hearing to determine where Napoles will be detained on Friday, state lawyers asked Fajardo if Napoles could be brought to the court if she is in Fort Santo Domingo. Fajardo said it would only take from 45 minutes to an hour to bring Napoles to Makati from Santa Rosa.

“From what I know, since she will be implicating a lot of government officials the threat is high,” Fajardo said.

He said they inspected of the Santa Rosa facility where former president Joseph Estrada and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari were detained.

Fajardo recommended the facility after Makati Jail Warden Chief Insp. Fermin Enriquez admitted he could not assure the safety of Napoles.

Enriquez said the jail only has 117 security staff, 52 of whom belong to an augmentation force from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the PNP.

The jail holds 545 inmates, 104 of them women. It has only 23 female guards, Enriquez said.

Enriquez conceded it was possible that people out to harm Napoles could pose as visitors to get inside the jail.

Also on Friday, members of Youth Act Now, the broadest anti-pork barrel youth alliance in the country, blew whistles and banged on pots and pans in noise barrages in Metro Manila and various provinces to protest what they said was the “fake surrender” of Napoles and the VIP treatment the government was giving her.

“The Aquino administration is overdoing the theatrics. Mr. President, no one believes your make-believe story about Napoles’ surrender. We are in fact, even more enraged with the fact that one of the country’s top villain is being pampered by top government executives,” Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon said in a statement.

“The youth and the people have again come out today to remind the government that we’re as vigilant as ever, and we’re watching every move the Palace is making,” he said.

The rallies were held in University of the Philippines in Diliman, UP Manila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Taft Avenue, Intramuros, T.M. Kalaw, Morayta and Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City.

As the furor over the pork barrel scam continues, the ruling Liberal Party said President Aquino will not help his allies who will be found liable in the P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam that benefited fake nongovernment organizations.

Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, the LP secretary general, expressed the sentiment a day after the United Nationalist Alliance and the Makabayan bloc in the House warned of selective prosecution after Napoles surrendered to President Aquino.

“The President has said so many times that even if it involves his allies, they will be held accountable. If there’s evidence to the allegations on his allies, he won’t protect them. I am sure of that. Those who are liable will have to face the music. This is about letting justice be done, though the heavens may fall,” Sarmiento said.

A Commission on Audit (COA) report pointed to Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, prominent UNA leaders, as having allocated millions from their PDAF to sham NGOs run by Napoles.

The President also drew flak for turning over Napoles to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, considering that it was the National Bureau of Investigation that spearheaded the manhunt for her.

Roxas, the LP’s president-on-leave, narrowly lost the vice presidential race in 2010 to Jejomar Binay.

But Sarmiento said the opposition should stop sowing such intrigues because Roxas was only doing his job as DILG secretary.

The Philippine National Police is under DILG jurisdiction.

Religious personalities have also weighed in on Napoles’ surrender.

Father Robert Reyes, know as the “Running Priest,” urged Napoles “not to cover-up” legislators involved in the pork barrel scam, including allies of the administration.

He said if Napoles turns state witness, she will be walking the fine line between speaking the truth and defending the interest of the administration and the politicians aligned with it.

Sister Mary John Mananzan, co-chairperson of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), said Napoles should not become a government witness because “she does not deserve immunity”’

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, warned against efforts of the authorities to divert public attention to Napoles’ case instead of dealing with the need to scrap the pork barrel system.

“The real issue here is not about Napoles but about the pork barrel and the lawmakers who are traitors of the country,” Pabillo said.