Barred, bare bungalow awaits next ‘star’ detainee

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An 88-square meter bungalow with steel bars on the windows and doors awaits Janet Lim-Napoles inside Fort Sto. Domingo, a police Special Forces training camp in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna province.

It is the same bungalow formerly occupied by deposed President Joseph Estrada and other “high risk, high profile” detainees, according to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

The bungalow has two rooms: a 25-sq m room for the detainee and another one for the guards. It has an unfurnished living room.

Roxas, however, refused to divulge when or how the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam mastermind would be transported from the Makati City Jail to Fort Sto. Domingo.

“We are not ready yet (so) there would be no movement today,” was all he would say on Saturday.

Roxas, accompanied by top police officials, inspected the facility inside the training camp of the Special Action Forces (SAF) on Saturday.

In a press briefing after the inspection, he described an empty room, except for the basic amenities such as a bathroom, a double steel-framed bed and a refrigerator where Napoles, he said, could store her medicines.

“No cooking allowed, no cell phones, no appliances,” including a television set, radio or computer laptop, he added. Napoles would have to eat the same meal given to SAF trainees, unless her lawyer or family brings her food from the outside.

The facility used to have an air conditioning system but that was worn out over the years, Roxas told reporters after Napoles’ air-conditioned room at the Makati jail drew criticism.

“Ang air conditioning dito ay ang matamis na simoy ng hangin sa Laguna (The air conditioning is the fresh breeze here in Laguna),” he said. Any plans to donate appliances to Napoles would have to be discussed with the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, he said.

“Walang VIP treatment pero kinikilala natin na hindi siya pangkaraniwang akusado (There is no VIP treatment but we recognize that she is not an ordinary accused),” said Roxas, referring to how much Napoles knew that might help the investigation into the pork barrel scam.

Roxas said the bungalow had bars on its windows, doors and ceiling, while the entire SAF compound was circled by a two-layer cyclone wire fence. The training compound, with two gates at the entrance, is guarded by more than 300 SAF members and trainees.

Roxas said they added more steel bars and at least two security cameras that would monitor the people visiting Napoles. He said they were also thinking of putting up a security camera system that would stream real-time activities inside the camp.

“Hindi maaring maunahan tayo or masalisihan tayo (We would not allow anyone to jump the gun on us),” said Roxas, referring to the reported threats on Napoles’ life.

Visitors would be limited to Napoles’ counsel, doctor and family.

Two female guards would be assigned to closely guard Napoles 24/7.

Roxas said they were only following the court’s order to transfer Napoles to the facility.

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