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Court postpones Napoles arraignment

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A Makati court on Friday, September 6, postponed the arraignment of Janet Lim Napoles, which is supposed to be held on Monday, September 9.

Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda scheduled the arraignment on September 23 at 1:30 pm instead.

"Due to time constrains in resolving 3 motions which were just heard this afternoon this court has no recourse but to order the cancellation of [the] Monday arraignment," Alameda said.

Judge Alameda was referring to 3 motions different filed by Napoles and brother Reynald Lim. Lim, who remains at large, filed a motion through his counsel to suspend proceedings. Napoles, meanwhile, filed an urgent motion for Bill of Particulars and an urgent motion to defer arraignment and suspend proceedings. 

Alameda is hearing the serious illegal detention case against Napoles and her brother Reynald "Jojo" Lim, who remains at large. Napoles, alleged brains behind a multi-billion pork barrel scam, is currently detained at a police training camp in Fort Sto Domingo, Sta Rosa, Laguna.

Her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, said the postponement will allow them time to review the case further.

But Kapunan also asked the court to suspend the proceedings against her client, citing "humanitarian consideration." Kapunan argued that Napoles "is not going anywhere," given the security measures at Fort Sto Domingo.

A CCTV camera connected to Camp Crame monitors all the comings and goings at her detention center, said Kapunan.

Case an 'irritant'

Kapunan told the court that in granting their motion to defer Napoles' scheduled arraignment, "it is not Napoles' interest that's being served. 

"Kung itutuloy yung arraignment eh, wala nang due process. It is really the interest of justice that has been served here," Kapunan said. (Due process would be lost of the arraignment pushes through. It's the interest of justice that's been served here.)

She also called the serious illegal detention case an "irritant," because the public was confusing it with allegations that Napoles stole millions of in public funds. Kapunan also assured the court that Napoles would face charges against her, preferrably at the Makati RTC. 

"If Napoles is not given her day in court here, it will go up to higher courts. We do not want that," she said.  - Rappler.com