A “calm, formal, but sleepless” Janet Lim-Napoles on Sunday settled in a 25-square-meter detention cell hours after she had been brought into Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa City in handcuffs and under tight security.
Wearing jeans and a dark-colored shirt under a police bulletproof vest, Napoles, escorted by a convoy of police and jail personnel, arrived at 6:20 a.m. at Fort Sto. Domingo, the training school of the Special Action Forces (SAF) here, and was immediately brought to the two-bedroom bungalow inside the 8-hectare camp.
SAF Director General Carmelo Valmoria declined to disclose details of the “operational procedure” that preceded Napoles’ transfer to the camp, but said her husband, Jimmy, was with her when they left the Makati City Jail at around 5 a.m.
Napoles was handcuffed throughout the ride to Sta. Rosa, Valmoria said.
Tricycle drivers outside the camp said they had counted three police convoys, with the first one arriving at 3 a.m.
Security was tight early in the morning that people who live in and around the camp, mostly police families and SAF personnel, were barred from going in and out, resident Jun Nicolas said.
Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima also came here to oversee the turnover of Napoles, Valmoria said.
Judge Elmo Alameda of Branch 150 of the Makati City Regional Trial Court ordered the transfer of Napoles to the camp after officials of the Makati City Jail, where the alleged brains behind the P10-billion pork barrel scam was detained after her surrender on Wednesday, said they could not guarantee her safety there.
Hidden from public eye
But the crime watchdog group, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said on Sunday that Napoles should be taken back to the Makati City Jail because her detention at Fort Sto. Domingo would seclude her from the public eye.
Members of VACC had been picketing the Makati jail since Friday, protesting the “special treatment” being given to Napoles since she surrendered to President Aquino in Malacañang on Wednesday night.
The protesters left at around 5 a.m. after Napoles had been taken out and moved in a police convoy to Sta. Rosa.
“We find the decision of the court to transfer her to Laguna impractical, since the court hearings are held at the Makati Regional Trial Court,” said VACC founding chair Dante Jimenez.
Jimenez said shuttling Napoles between Laguna and Makati every time she would be needed in court would be costly for the government.
It would also present difficulties for “court watchers” and the press to monitor her case, Jimenez said.
“Why not make Fort Sto. Domingo a temporary detention for her while they (the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) are beefing up security at the Makati City Jail?” Jimenez said, adding that the VACC had plans to bring a petition in the Makati court for the return of Napoles to the city jail.
Police trainees’ food
Napoles ate soda crackers for breakfast. Valmoria said she would be given whatever food was rationed to SAF trainees for lunch and dinner. Each SAF trainee is allotted P115 for three meals a day.
There is no air conditioning at the bungalow, where former President Joseph Estrada (now mayor of Manila), his son Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari, and Sen. Gregorio Honasan II had been detained.
“It is humid during daytime but there’s an electric fan inside (the cell). The weather cools down in the afternoon anyway,” Valmoria said.
He said Jimmy, who was managing his diabetic wife’s insulin treatment, was allowed to stay with her but Jimmy would also have to observe the standard visiting hours set by the BJMP.
Asked if any of her children or her lawyer would be paying a visit, Valmoria replied, “None that we know of yet.”
Calm, formal, sleepless
Napoles’ blood pressure was normal at 120/90, “so I guess she was calm” during the transfer, said Senior Supt. Roberto Fajardo, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the National Capital Region.
Fajardo said Napoles was “formal” throughout the trip to Laguna and the proceedings at the camp.
“She almost didn’t sleep last night,” Fajardo added.
Two female SAF officers were assigned to guard Napoles. A security camera had been installed at the gate to the camp.
The bungalow is separated from the rest of the camp by a two-layer “interlinked fence,” which has been draped with blue sacks, usually used in construction, to conceal the house from public view.
Valmoria said even SAF personnel not assigned to Napoles’ security were not allowed to peek into the bungalow.
Objects, including curtain rods or rope, that can be used to inflict harm have been removed from the bungalow, Valmoria said.
Left for Napoles’ use were a monobloc chair and a table in the living room, he said.
Valmoria said SAF personnel assigned to Napoles’ security would undergo training with the BJMP on Monday to improve their knowledge of jail management.
“You know our expertise is counterterrorism, but we can assure her security here,” he said.
Also on Sunday, Chief Supt. Noel Constantino, speaking through his lawyer, denied any irregularity in his wife’s ties to the Napoles couple.
Lawyer Alan Paguia said Constantino, head of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) in Silang town, Cavite province, had nothing to do with the court’s decision to detain Napoles in Fort Sto. Domingo.
The SAF training camp is located a few kilometers from the PNPA.
Paguia said in a telephone interview that the public should not link Constantino to Napoles’ transfer to Fort Sto. Domingo, as he believed the transfer had a “go-signal” from Malacañang or the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Constantino is being linked to the Napoleses because his wife, Annalou, is an incorporator of Ventures Investigative and Security Services Inc., which is owned by Jimmy Napoles.
Paguia said the security agency was “dormant,” but he did not offer details of its operations.
He said the Constantinos and the Napoleses had been introduced to each other by a “common friend.”
“How long they’ve known each other [is immaterial to the case],” Paguia said when pressed for details.
“(Napoles) is just the cover of the trash can, but the garbage inside has yet to be discovered,” he said. With a report from Niña P. Calleja
Originally posted: 2:06 pm | Sunday, September 1st, 2013