Napoles relatives ‘pool’ money for medical costs

Bea Cupin
With her assets frozen, Napoles' lawyers says her 'relatives are willing to pool in for the costs' of her medical procedures

CHECK-UP. Janet Lim Napoles undergoes tests at the Camp Crame General Hospital in February. File photo courtesy of the PNP PIO

MANILA, Philippines – The government already shells out P150,000 a month to keep her in jail. Trips from a police camp in Laguna to Manila, on average, costs P120,000 each.

It’s a hefty price to pay for the detention of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, who stays at a Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, for serious illegal detention charges. Napoles is accused of detaining former-aide-turned pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy from December 2012 to January 2013.

The amount, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Theodore Sindac said, includes the cost of deploying personnel to ensure the safety of Napoles. Previous trips from Laguna to Manila – for her arraignment, testimony before the Senate, and a medical exam in Camp Crame – typically requires two separate convoys whenever she leaves her camp. 

Napoles’ latest medical woes may add another layer of financial burden on government. The PNP shouldered the cost – roughly P3,000 – of Napoles’ last medical examination in the Camp Crame General Hospital but her latest motion, if granted, will definitely cost more. (READ: Waiting for Jenny: One patient’s story)

Faye Isaguirre Singson, Napoles’ special counsel for motions related to her health, said they have yet to estimate the total cost of Napoles’ surgery to remove a cyst in her uterus. But as early as now, Singson said her relatives “are willing to pool [money] for the cost” of her medical procedures. She did not identify the relatives.

On Wednesday, March 5, a Manila court froze Napoles’ and her family’s assets, including bank accounts and insurance policies until mid-March .

Sindac earlier told reporters he didn’t know who would shoulder the bill should Napoles require confinement. The high costs – and the criticism – is something the judge hearing Napoles’ serious illegal detention case is acutely aware of. She is, after all, suspected to be behind the biggest corruption scandal in recent history. (READ: Madame Jenny: Woman in the eye of the storm)

‘”If I grant this, netizens will complain about the cost again,” he said on Thursday, March 6, during the hearing on Napoles’ motion to undergo medical surgery and hospital examination.

The Thursday hearing was reset to March 11, since the public prosecutors assigned to the case were out for MCLE. The defense was also unable to present witnesses to prove Napoles’ need to undergo surgery. – 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.