Napoles to Sandiganbayan: BJMP’s greyhound team harassed me

MANILA, Philippines – To prove to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan that she needs to be moved to a safehouse, alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles claimed she was harassed by a raiding team of the Bureau of Jail and Management Penology (BJMP) in 2017.

Napoles  submitted a BJMP incident report to the Sandiganabayan on Wednesday, March 21, which was released to the media on Friday, March 23. She cited as proof of harassment an incident in October 2017 when a greyhound team searched her jail cell and seized personal belongings and documents.

Greyhound teams are usually tasked to conduct surprise inspections on jail cells, and confiscate contrabands that they see.

The submission of evidence is part of the requirements of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to prove there is a need to transfer her to a safehouse.

The Sandiganbayan will resolve the motion to move her out of Camp Bagong Diwa and into a safehouse, following efforts by the Department of Justice or DOJ to put her under state protection.

LOOK: Janet Napoles’ lawyers send to the court a BJMP incident report from October 12, 2017 detailing a greyhound team searching and seizing things from Napoles cell. This is their proof of harassment against Napoles. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/k7hn7m444E — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) March 23, 2018

What does the incident report say? BJMP warden Jail Chief Inspector (JCInsp) Editha Balansay signed an undated incident report saying that on October 12, 2017, a greyhound team “conducted search at the cell of client Janet Lim Napoles.”

Balansay said that the greyhound team “entered the cell by cutting the chain/lock with the use of a bolt cutter and kicking off the door to open.”

Balansay said she was not aware that this was happening as “the greyhound team did not coordinate nor permitted the presence of the detailed ‘star tram’ on duty upon entering the client cell and during the conduct of the greyhound.”

“Body search was also conducted to the client by a male jail officer who is in full battle gear wearing a vest, kevlar with long firearms and wearing a mask,” said the incident report.

“The entire cell was searched, and ended with the confiscation of some items to include personal belongings and important documents and the cutting and disabling of the CCTV security camera,” the report added.

Other questions. The BJMP leadership has not made a comment on the incident report yet as of writing.

The report did not mention a laptop, but during a hearing at the Sandiganbayan, Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David said that the laptop used to write his client’s affidavit for the DOJ was stolen.

First Division Justice Geraldine Faith Econg questioned why Napoles would have a laptop inside her jail cell without the court’s permission.

“You are saying that the [DOJ officials] left the laptops, the documents with Napoles? It’s unimaginable. Richard Cambe even had to request this court to be given a laptop inside his cell for his defense. What kind of an arrangement is this?” Econg said.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had admitted to meeting Napoles face to face, but denied knowledge about a laptop.

Another question is why Napoles is filing the incident report, and not the DOJ. Sandiganbayan justices pointed out during hearings that the DOJ must be the one to file the motion because they are the ones interested in securing Napoles as part of the Witness Protection Program (WPP).

David had earlier told the court that the BJMP isn’t safe because insiders are the ones harassing her. 

The move to transfer Napoles to a safehouse became much more controversial when David revealed that the issue reached Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who advised them to seek court permission first. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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