From Malacañang to Camp Crame to Makati City JailBy Julie M. Aurelio, Marlon Ramos, Michael Lim Ubac, Niña P. Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Janet Lim-Napoles is the 53rd inmate in a dormitory-type cell at Makati City Jail with other women facing charges ranging from petty crimes, such as estafa, to robbery-holdup.
Napoles was transferred to Makati City Jail around 11:20 p.m. on Thursday after a daylong wait at Camp Crame.
Wearing a black bulletproof vest over a pink blouse, Napoles was escorted by two female Special Action Force police officers hugging her as she alighted from a white coaster van.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Secretary Edwin Lacierda, Napoles’ lawyer Lorna Kapunan and Janet’s husband Jaime accompanied her to jail.
Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima said Napoles will have “24/7 visual contact security.”
Roxas told reporters that the businesswoman was handcuffed although this was hidden by a jacket.
The order was handed out Thursday after Napoles, the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam, surrendered to President Aquino in Malacañang on Wednesday night, claiming she feared for her life. She was then escorted by the President to Camp Crame, where she spent the night in a cramped, but airconditioned 20-square-meter office.
Three Inquirer sources said the 49-year-old Napoles, her husband, Jimmy, a former Marine major, and two relatives slept in the room on the ground floor of the Philippine National Police main building at Camp Crame.
In a one-page order, Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 said Napoles, who disappeared on Aug. 14 after she was charged with serious illegal detention, should be kept under the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Makati City.
Diosfa Valencia, the clerk of court, said Alameda was just following protocol by detaining the accused at a facility under his jurisdiction.
“We welcome requests for her transfer or for her to remain in Camp Crame if there is indeed a security concern. But as of now, the court orders her transfer to Makati City Jail,” Valencia said.
Napoles’ lawyers submitted to the court Thursday afternoon a request that the businesswoman be transferred to “safer” facilities like Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City or Camp Crame, saying there was a “clear danger to her life.”
Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, the PNP spokesperson, said: “We’re still continuing to assess and determine the threats. There are no confirmed threats, but there are reports.”
Sindac released in the afternoon mug shots of Napoles. Wearing black jeans, a white shirt and a gray “hoodie” jacket, the businesswoman looked haggard. She was booked for Criminal Case No. 13-1992, for the alleged serious illegal detention of Benhur Luy, her former personal aide who, along with at least 10 of her other employees, had accused her of fleecing the government of P10 billion over the past 10 years.
The court issued the commitment order after the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group returned the warrant and submitted Napoles’ fingerprints and mug shots.
The arraignment of Napoles has been scheduled on Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m. even if a motion for Judge Alameda to inhibit himself from the case is still pending. A hearing on the motion to inhibit filed by Napoles’ camp has been set Friday.
Napoles’ surrender came after President Aquino announced on Wednesday morning a P10-million bounty for information leading to her arrest.
Shortly after, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda saw a crawler on ANC Television that Lorna Kapunan, counsel for Napoles, was saying that “her client was willing to surrender.”
Chief Insp. Fermin Enriquez, the Makati warden, ruled out special treatment for Napoles at the facility which currently holds 500 male and female inmates.
“She will join 52 other female inmates at one dormitory here. We have already assigned a bed for her,” Enriquez said.
Each dormitory has double-deck beds enough to accommodate all the inmates whom the jail officials described as “ordinary detainees” facing different charges from petty to grave cases, he said.
The management of the BJMP, which runs the 1,900-square-meter jail on Lawton Avenue in Makati City, has kept media crews waiting outside its tall walls.
Jail Officer Elizabeth Ampong described the female dorms as “ideal” and “not that congested” compared to other city jails in Metro Manila. “It has a toilet and a bathroom. There’s even a television set for everyone,” she said.
The officials were, however, worried that the jail did not have enough security personnel to accommodate a “high-risk” inmate like Napoles.
“We probably need to augment our security personnel if she will be detained here,” Enriquez said, noting they only have 120 jail guards.
Roxas and PNP Director General Alan Purisima on Thursday night inspected the Makati jail.
“It is plain common sense that Napoles knew a lot of things and she is at the center of this controversy. We don’t wish to endanger her life,” Roxas said. He said, however, that the PNP would abide by the order of the court.
Roxas said he had ordered the deployment of additional personnel to the Makati jail ahead of Napoles’ transfer.