Aircon in jail? We won’t push it, says Napoles camp

Bea Cupin
Aircon in jail? We won’t push it, says Napoles camp
Napoles' lawyer says she will have to return to OsMak once a week for check-ups, but the Makati court says her doctors will have to make the trip to Laguna

MANILA, Philippines – Despite her apprehensions, alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles was returned to her Laguna detention center past 9:30 pm on Thursday, May 29. According to the police, she arrived in Fort Sto Domingo around 10:20 pm.

Napoles’ counsel Bruce Rivera said Napoles was “a little bit afraid” because she was not yet in the pink of health.

“Of course she’s a little bit afraid because of her health because the bleeding is on and off. But she has been assured that the facility will take proper care of her,” Rivera said. Earlier in the day Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 denied Napoles’ motion to extend her stay in OsMak.

The decision was based on a medical report by OsMak doctors that said Napoles was “cleared for discharge.”

No special treatment

She is now staying in the same detention center she had lived in from September 2013 to March 2014. Asked if Napoles would ask for the installation of an air conditioner to make her recovery more comfortable, Rivera said they “don’t want to push the issue.”

File photo of Napoles at Fort Sto Domingo courtesy of the PNP PIO

“We might be accused of being given special treatment again so we won’t push the issue until time comes that it’s really needed,” he said. Politicians and civil society groups have criticized the “VIP” status of Napoles while detained for serious illegal detention charges. (READ: Miriam: Napoles should pay for ‘rock star’ jail status)

Her hospital bill was once cited as one of the reasons why she had yet to leave the hospital but Rivera said that was not even an issue. “Hindi naman mahal dito eh…May mga relatives naman na nagbigay ng pera,” he added. (It’s not that expensive here. Napoles’ relatives chipped in.)

As of May 15, Napoles owed OsMak over P105,000 according to medical director Dr. Perry Peralta. 

Now that Napoles is back in Laguna, Rivera said she will have to return to OsMak weekly for regular check-ups. During a press conference, however, Makati RTC Branch 150 Clerk of Court Diosfa Valencia said that although the court had yet to explicitly say it, Napoles’ doctors are expected to visit her in Laguna for check-ups.

But Rivera said that would be impossible since some of Napoles’ check-ups require hospital equipment which are not available in the PNP camp. “She needs hospital facilities to check her wounds inside so she needs a hospital… if [her attending physicials] say she needs a hospital, she will have to come here,” said Rivera.

‘Emotional week’

Rivera said it’s been an emotional week for the woman at the center of the biggest corruption scandal in recent Philippine history. “Maraming kaming nasagasaan, natamaang tao. Of course she is afraid, she is very, very emotional,” Rivera said, referring to the affidavits Napoles submitted to the Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier this week. (We implicated a lot of people.)

In her affidavits, Napoles implicated more than 100 lawmakers in the scam.

“Every time she remembers it, every time people remind her about how great her enemies are, she becomes really emotional,” added Rivera.

Napoles is detained for allegedly kidnapping former aide turned scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.

Allegedly the architect of a scheme that siphoned off millions of pesos in pork barrel funds through fake projects and bogus non-governmental organizations, Napoles now wants to turn state witness–

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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.