The jail that awaits Napoles

Bea Cupin
Will this be her new home?

NEW HOME? The Makati City jail. Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – “Masikip, mainit, pero malinis.” (Cramped, hot, but clean.)

It’s not the type of room that multimillionaire Janet Lim Napoles is used to, but she should count her blessings: it’s one of the better jails in Metro Manila, according to locals who live near the Makati City jail.

A Makati court has ordered Napoles’ transfer to the jail, but her lawyers are asking for reconsideration. They prefer her jailed in a detention center in the neighboring city of Taguig. It’s also in Taguig where Napoles and her family live — at the posh Pacific Plaza Towers at the Fort.

READ: TIMELINE: Janet Napoles from scandal to surrender

Napoles’ ground floor unit at the Pacific Plaza’s North Tower opens to a view of a swimming pool and a landscaped garden. The unit reportedly costs P60 million. She has a second unit in the same tower, according to residents.

In contrast, the Makati City jail houses at least 104 female inmates packed in two cells, according to Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas who visited the jail Thursday evening, August 29, to make sure it’s secure for the country’s most famous detainee. (The jail has a total of 545 inmates.)

READ: PNP chief, Cabinet execs inspect Napoles jail

What’s more, her former maid is detained there. A lawyer said Napoles set her up for qualified theft.

READ: Napoles may join ex-maid in jail

Residents who live outside the jail told Rappler that inmates are not given mattresses; many sleep on wood. They have the option to bring their electric fans, however.

Without a crowd of media outside, the Makati City jail is very easy to ignore. Situated smack in the middle of a residential area, the sign above the main gates is forgettable. It is — in many ways — a typical Philippine jail.

Napoles is expected to be a “VIP” inmate who will have enough resources for basic necessities. Other inmates will also be more than willing to serve her.

On Thursday afternoon, security was tightened in and out of the jail. Members of the media are not allowed past the gates. 

SECURITY. They arrive to strengthen security in the area

Many VIPs have been in and out of the jail to inspect it. Aside from Roxas, jail visitors included Philippine National Police chief Alan Purisima, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang.

If things go as planned, the jail’s star inmate will be arriving soon, too. –



Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.