Roxas: Napoles has to stay aliveBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
STA. ROSA CITY, Philippines—An 88-square-meter bungalow with two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen—but with all windows, doors and even the ceiling fitted with steel bars—awaits Janet Lim Napoles inside the tightly guarded Fort Sto. Domingo here.
It is exactly the same bungalow that was briefly occupied by then newly ousted President Joseph Estrada and his son, now Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, occupied after they were charged with plunder in 1991, and later by other “high-risk, high profile” detainees, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas noted.
Roxas refused, however, to give details as to when or how the alleged mastermind of the P10 billion pork-barrel scam would be transported here from the Makati City Jail, where she is currently being held. “We are not ready yet (so) there would be no movement today,” Roxas told reporters.
Roxas, accompanied by top police officials, personally inspected the facility inside the training camp of the Special Action Forces on Saturday.
At the briefing Roxas gave the impression that Napoles would be confined to a single room furnished with a toilet and bathroom, a double steel-framed bed and a refrigerator where she could store her medicines.
“No cooking allowed, no cell phones, no appliances,” not even a television set, radios, or computer laptops, he said. Napoles also have to eat the same meal rations the SAF trainees eat, unless her lawyer or family bring her food from the outside.
The facility used to have an airconditioning system but that was already worn out over the years, Roxas told reporters.
“The only airconditioning here is the sweet breeze of Laguna,” he said in Filipino, adding that any plan to donate appliances to Napoles would have to be discussed first with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
While Roxas stressed that the bedroom Napoles will use was fitted with iron bars on the windows, the door and the ceiling, SAF Director General Carmelo Valmoria told the Inquirer later that Napoles would have free range of the living room and the rest of the bungalow, with her security detail using the other bedroom.
“There is no VIP treatment but we recognize that she is not an ordinary accused,” Roxas said. “Even if she reveals what she knows, she should be kept alive to face the entire judicial process.”
“I think the people would understand that the preservation of Napoles’ life is not because she is a VIP but because we want her to face the entire process, as required by law. Either way, the people is the winner here because we will get to know the truth and we will make her accountable,” Roxas added.
Roxas said the entire SAF compound is protected by a two-layer cyclone wire fence. The training compound, with two main gates, is guarded by more than 300 SAF members and trainees.
As if these were still not enough, Roxas said, they had to add more steel bars and at least two security cameras that would also monitor the people visiting Napoles. He said they were also thinking of installing a security camera system that would stream real time the activities inside the camp.
“Nobody can slip in or out,” said Roxas.
Visitors would be limited to Napoles’ counsel, doctor and family, and the visiting hours will be from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“Every day, through the PIO (public information officer) of the PNP (Philippine National Police), we would give advisories to the people coming in and out (to visit Napoles),” he said.
The government would also keep the two female “visual contact” security personnel to guard Napoles 24/7.
Court orders transfer of Napoles to police camp in Laguna