Napoles moved to Bicutan jail; Gigi Reyes still weak
MANILA, Philippines—Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles has finally been transferred to a regular jail after the Sandiganbayan ordered that she be detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’ facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Three days after the Sandiganbayan Third Division issued an order directing Napoles’ transfer from Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, the accused was escorted by BJMP personnel to her new place of detention at Camp Bagong Diwa on Monday night.
At 11:15 p.m., the convoy carrying Napoles arrived at the BJMP jail where her fingerprints and mugshots were taken as part of the police booking procedure, BJMP-NCR spokesperson Aris Villaester said. He added that the accused was accompanied by husband Jaime and three lawyers.
Members of the media were not allowed to enter Camp Bagong Diwa even hours before Napoles’ arrival under the camp’s safety protocol.
But in an interview a few minutes after the arrival of Napoles in Taguig, Villaester said she was now staying in a three-by-three-meter room on the ground floor of the Taguig City Jail Female dormitory where pork-barrel scam co-accused Gigi Reyes is also staying.
“Actually, they are staying in adjacent rooms but we are planning to transfer Napoles to a room at the back of the facility,” Villaester said, noting that it was BJMP standard operating procedure to initially keep high-profile and high-risk inmates in isolation rooms for one week before determining if they should be moved to new quarters or to join other inmates.
The BJMP spokesperson said that Napoles’ room does not have steel bars or railings as it was previously used by male inmates for livelihood projects.
“Its windows and doors do not have bars but it is still secured since highly-trained female guards will be assigned to watch over her 24/7,” Villaester said.
Asked to describe the interior of Napoles’ new detention room, Villaester said there is a wooden bed, ceiling fan and toilet and bathroom inside.
“We will also provide her with a mattress but I think she has already requested from her family some pillows and a blanket,” the BJMP spokesperson noted.
Napoles joins 138 other detainees in the female dormitory, which, according to Villaester, was designed to accommodate only 78 inmates.
The alleged pork barrel queen was “sad” when she arrived at the BJMP facility, Villaester said.
“But we told her that she will be safer here and that this detention facility is more secure,” he added.
As for the medical condition of Napoles, Villaester said that her blood pressure was normal at 130/90. He added that nurses would be available 24 hours to monitor the health condition of the inmates, including Napoles’ and Reyes’.
Reyes, according to Villaester, was still weak after her hypertension attack two weeks ago. She remains in an isolation room as the BJMP awaits a psychiatrist’s advice as to whether she could be transferred to the inmates’ regular quarters.
Both high-profile detainees may be visited by their legal counsel any time of the day while their family members and other visitors should follow the standard visiting hours, which are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesdays to Fridays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during weekends, Villaester said.
He also noted that Napoles, like other inmates in the facility, will be given the normal food ration, which costs only P50 per day but covers all three main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner).
Asked if the P50 food allocation is enough for the inmates to enjoy a decent meal, Villaester said that they can still eat a cup of rice with meat and vegetable for every meal since their food is bought in bulk.
The BJMP spokesperson said food sent by family members and friends is allowed but has to be carefully checked by jail guards.
Napoles and Reyes are expected to be eventually transferred to the high-risk and high-profile jail facility being constructed beside their current detention center.
The “state-of-the-art” jail, which is expected to be completed next year, will have around 200 rooms with computerized locks. Each room can fit three inmates.
But Villaester denied reports that the facility will be a “VIP” jail.
“The BJMP would like to clear that the facility being constructed is not a VIP jail facility but a high-risk/high profile jail,” Villaester said.
He added that the building was proposed in 2012 to address the growing number of high-risk (people who have the capacity or tendency to escape or cause jail disturbance) and high-profile (those who are well-known in the society like high-ranking officials and celebrities) inmates.
“The building is designed to provide the best security for these kinds of inmates,” Villaester said.
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