MANILA, Philippines –If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed.
The expression aptly describes a plan by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) of having the Makati Regional Trial court handling the case of Janet Lim-Napoles come to Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna instead of bringing her back every hearing.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said during a Senate finance committee hearing Monday on the 2014 budget of the DILG that it might be more secure and less expensive to have the court come to Fort Sto. Domingo every time Napoles’ case is heard.
Drilon said that this was like when the court hears the cases of inmates in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.
“[Fort Sto Domingo] is 46 kilometers away from Makati, isn’t it a valid security concern that you would bring Napoles [back and forth] each time she has a hearing?” Drilon asked.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said that DILG was just complying with the order of the court for Napoles to be transferred to Laguna from the Makati City Jail.
He said they would study the actual costs and risks of transporting Napoles back and forth from Laguna to Makati.
“She has an arraignment set on September 9, that’s when we can ascertain how hard it is or how expensive it is to transfer her and based on that, if [the court asks] us we can [make recommendations] because [of] how disruptive it is [to traffic],” Roxas said.
Roxas admitted the difficulties in transporting Napoles from her detention to court, saying that those who have malicious intentions can determine her location as there is only one route from Laguna to Makati, the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
“There really are considerations and difficulties in securing her in Sta. Rosa, but at least there are no problems with regards to other inmates that can harm her,” Roxas told reporters in an ambush interview.
“These considerations will be given to the court and the court will decide,” he said.