Napoles’ food screened daily for poison

At least 3 people taste Janet Lim-Napoles' food before it reaches her cell to ensure it is safe for consumption and has no poison

GUARDED. The detention facility where Janet Lim-Napoles will be detained at Fort Sto Domingo in Sta Rosa, Laguna, as photographed on September 1, 2013. Photo courtesy PNP PIO/SAF

MANILA, Philippines – Part of the security provided to Janet Lim Napoles is the screening of food served to her at her detention facility in Fort Sto Domingo in Sta Rosa, Laguna.

According to the Philippine National Police spokesperson Senior Supt Reuben Theodore Sindac, at least 3 people taste Napoles’ food before it reaches her cell to ensure it is safe for consumption and has no poison.

“We take this into consideration. One of two SAF (Special Action Forces) female personnel tastes the food. Likewise, the cook tastes it first before it is sent to the detention place, where another female SAF security detail will perform the final food tasting,” he said in a text message on Monday, September 2.

But Sindac clarified the food tasting is “a concurrent task of the two female SAF security on duty as part of their task.” He clarified no additional personnel were hired just to taste Napoles’ meals.

Napoles is expected to eat the same food served to SAF trainees 3 times a day, but is allowed to eat food brought in by her lawyers, according to the PNP.

Linked to an intricate web of corruption involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund, lawmakers and fictitious NGOs, her lawyer said Napoles has received death threats which has led to her placement under government protection.

READ: Timeline: Napoles from scandal to surrender

Although Napoles is detained for serious illegal detention, a non-bailable offense, for kidnapping her former aide-turned-whistleblower, the National Bureau of Investigation is currently preparing charges against her for her alleged role in the corruption scam.

The government has said it would do all it can to keep Napoles alive.

Side of caution

Also on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda defended the government’s protection of Napoles despite critics calling their efforts “overkill.”

“If you were Janet Napoles, you know a lot, you make transactions with a lot of those in government, it will do good for them to see you dead than alive, and the government would like to see her alive than dead, what would you do?,” he said,

If anything happened to Napoles, he added, the government would surely be criticized.

“So what do we do? We should rather err on the side of caution because, for all intents and purposes, we are government. We are accountable to the people,” he said.

“People are free to criticize the manner of protecting her, but on our side, we are accountable to the people. We will get criticized but we’d rather be criticized doing our job than being criticized for not doing our job.” –

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