MANILA, Philippines – Alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles was set to be transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City late Monday evening, May 15, after two divisions of the anti-graft court agreed to get her out of the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong.
Napoles, who faces plunder charges for allegedly masterminding the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, had originally appealed to the Sandiganbayan to transfer her to the custodial center of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), citing threats to her life at the CIW.
However, Sandiganbayan Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang of the 3rd Division said the NBI custodial center is not a jail, and therefore Napoles cannot be transferred there. (READ: Where do PH judicial bodies stand in the Napoles case?)
As of posting, Sandiganbayan sheriff Romulo Barrozo was still at the CIW, where he presented the commitment orders from the 1st and 3rd division for Napoles' move to Camp Bagong Diwa, but he said the correctional was still waiting for policemen who could escort Napoles to her new jail.
The 5th Division, where Napoles is also facing plunder charges, has not ruled on Napoles' jail transfer request, but the Sandiganbayan sheriff said the order issued by the two other divisions would be enough to enforce a transfer.
Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler
Once at the Taguig facility of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Napoles will join another pork barrel scam suspect, Gigi Reyes, who also faces plunder charges. Reyes was the chief of staff of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile who allegedly approved that the senator's Priority Development Assistance Fund be coursed through Napoles' fake non-governmental organizations, in exchange for hefty commissions.
. @rapplerdotcom LOOK: Sandigan 1st div's commitment order to transfer Napoles to Bagong Diwa. 3rd div's order on its way. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/0QEmaZ6QH7 — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) May 15, 2017
Stephen David, the lawyer of Napoles, claimed she can't be transferred to a regular jail because she has been receiving "everyday threats."
But Cabotaje-Tang said Napoles failed to show proof that her life is in danger.
"Where are these threats coming from? How were these communicated to Napoles? Are you telling the court that there was a breach inside CIW to enable someone to ransack her belongings?" Cabotaje-Tang asked Napoles' lawyer Romeo Villarta.
"I don't know, I was just told," Villarta responded.
Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler
The Sandiganbayan ruling ignores the recommendation of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who supported the transfer of Napoles to the NBI and has already ordered them to check their facilities if they can accommodate Napoles. (READ: FACT CHECK: What can Aguirre's DOJ do in the Napoles case?) – Rappler.com