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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Janet Lim Napoles was supposed to have been moved to the national jail on December 28, 2018, but the new year came and went and the convicted plunderer remained at the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
During a hearing on Friday, January 4, it was brought up that Napoles’ lawyer Erwin Legaspi filed an urgent motion appealing the December 27, 2018 order of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to move Napoles to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong.
Although dated December 28, the urgent motion was received by the Sandiganbayan First Division only on Thursday, January 3.
First Division Chairman Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz asked Legaspi whether Napoles is still at the Camp Bagong Diwa. Legaspi said “as of yesterday, yes your honor.”
The First Division denied the urgent motion on Friday, which means Napoles must be transferred to Correctional immediately.
BJMP Spokesperson Chief Inspector Xavier Solda said Napoles was transferred to the CIW 4pm that Friday.
Why was she not transferred?
Courts are typically passive institutions. They are powerful in terms of the orders they issue, but its the enforcers who implement them, in this instance, the BJMP and the Director of Prisons of the CIW to which the order was addressed.
Napoles’ urgent motion cited a technicality: that the December 27 transfer order was defective because Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona signed it as the division chairperson. Dela Cruz is the division chairperson.
In the hearing, Dela Cruz rejected the argument because the court’s internal rules say that if the chairperson or a more senior justice is on official leave, the junior member – in this case, Caldona – can sign the order.
Napoles had previously asked the court to let her stay in Camp Bagong Diwa, citing security threats at the CIW. The court said there was no proof of any threat.
Napoles is appealing her conviction for plunder before the Sandiganbayan. Richard Cambe has decided to appeal straight to the Supreme Court.
Napoles and Cambe were convicted of plunder over the pork barrel scam related to Senator Bong Revilla, but the actor-turned-politician was acquitted. Revilla is running for the Senate in the May 2019 elections. – Rappler.com