MANILA, Philippines – The lawyers of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles on Tuesday, May 20, said she needed to extend her stay at the Ospital ng Makati (Makati Hospital or OsMak) to complete her affidavit on the scam.
During the hearing for her motion to extend her hospital stay, lead counsel Stephen David said aside from medical reasons, Napoles needs a “conducive place” to finish her amended list and accompanying affidavit.
“People are asking about the list, the amended list… of the people involved in the scam,” said David, who said he is lead counsel for Napoles’ various legal issues: serious illegal detention, plunder, and motions related to her health.
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Napoles has been staying at OsMak for nearly 2 months now. Late March, she was transferred to the hospital to undergo surgery for a mass in her uterus. Previously, she was detained at the Fort Sto Domingo in Laguna for serious illegal detention charges filed by former aide and pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
David said that while it was possible to finish the affidavit in other places, the hassle of having to haul documents to another location would stall the efforts of Napoles’ team.
“Imagine brining her to Fort Sto Domingo where there are no computers, there are no staff to go through the voluminous documents that she has to review in order to verify the names of the people involved,” he added.
Judge Elmo Alameda, however, said Napoles’ involvement in the pork barrel scam, or the lists and affidavits she had to produce, are “extraneous” to the court’s concerns.
David asked that a representative from the National Bureau of Investigation or the justice department be brought before the court to testify on Napoles’ need to finish her affidavit at OsMak.
“You know how many influential people are involved here. The very same documents, we cannot just entrust to anybody. After the end of the visiting hours, where will the documents be in Fort Sto Domingo?” added David. Napoles’ lawyer said “more than half” of the affidavit has been drafted.
Alameda, however, added that this was not a concern of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150. “There is no more issue as to whether Napoles is medically fit to leave the hospital because that’s already been cleared,” he said during the hearing.
The judge ordered the motion submitted for resolution on Tuesday, May 20. Earlier, Alameda said they would allow Napoles to stay only until May 23. Clerk of Court Diosfa Valencia told Rappler that Friday, May 23, would be Napoles’ last possible day in OsMak, unless Alameda orders otherwise in the resolution.
The decision will be released Tuesday afternoon, said Alameda. The defense, meanwhile, plans to file an urgent motion asking for the extension of Napoles’ stay to complete her affidavit. – Rappler.com