Unconvicted Napoles asks for more humane treatment

Bea Cupin
A claustrophobic, Napoles is not used to the small detention place, says her lawyer. Her family's access to her has been restricted as well.

CRUEL, UNUSUAL. Lawyer Lorna Kapunan asks authorities to make conditions at the Laguna fort "humane." File photo by PNP SAF

MANILA, Philippines – Janet Lim Napoles has not been convicted, and should not be given this “cruel and unusual punishment” of detention.

This is the message that Napoles – held for the serious illegal detention of her employee who later became state witness on the pork barrel scam – sent through her lawyer.

Defense lawyer Lorna Kapunan told reporters on the sidelines of Napoles’ bail motion hearing on Wednesday, October 2, that being locked in a small space every night has had unhealthy effects on Napoles, a claustrophobic.

Visits from her family have since been restricted as well – which goes against the agreement they had with authorities when Napoles surrendered, her lawyer added.

“They stay in a nipa hut across her detention center. They’re not given direct access,” Kapunan said.

Napoles also has no “private time” with her family because security personnel always shadow her.

“Since I can’t talk about the case, can I just ask the media to relay her concerns? Please make the conditions humane,” said Kapunan.

Napoles has been detained at Fort Sto Domingo in Sta Rosa, Laguna, a special police training facility, when she should have been detained at the Makati City Jail.

Napoles was brought to Fort Sto Domingo after a Makati court ordered her transfer. She was initially detained at Camp Crame after she surrendered to the President.

Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 ordered her transfer to the Makati city jail before they ruled on Napoles’ motion to change her detention venue.

She and her brother Reynald “Jojo” Lim are facing serious illegal detention charges for holding Benhur Luy for 3 months. Luy was rescued by state agents in March at Napoles’ condominium unit in Taguig City.

When asked how Napoles was feeling, Kapunan asked back: “It was the one month anniversary of her detention when we visited yesterday (Tuesday). How would you feel if you were detained for a month?”

Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati RTC Branch 150 is current hearing Napoles’ bail petition. So far 3 witnesses have been presented by the prosecution team, with 5 more ready to testify.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has ordered the prosecution to formally ask Judge Alameda to cite the defense in contempt after Kapunan showed journalists materials that was specifically disallowed in court.

Makati City Prosecutor Chris Garvida said they are still preparing a petition to cite Kapunan in indirect contempt. – Rappler.com

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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.