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Napoles resists move to Correctional because of 'threats'

MANILA, Philippines – Following her plunder conviction, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles is resisting her transfer to the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) because of what she claims as threats to her life.

In a pleading submitted to the Sandiganbayan’s First Division last December 14, she insisted she should be allowed to remain where she is currently being detained for her own safety and protection, even as her lawyers are appealing her conviction. She was convicted December 7, along with Richard Cambe, former staff of ex-senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.

Napoles is being held at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

In her objection to the order of transfer, Napoles said there are risks to her life if she is moved to the Correctional facility. Her lawyers, however, only cited previous instances when their client allegedly received written threats in her CIW cell. This, despite prison guards of the Bureau of Corrections keeping watch.

No proof

The prosecution countered that Napoles failed to submit any proof of the alleged threats to her life.

In her reply, however, Napoles only said there was a lack of notice of hearing and merely repeated her claims about threats at the CIW.

Her lawyers said: “The purpose of the said motion is to ensure her safety, pending finality of the decision of the Honorable Court, as she had experienced threats to her life and security when she was previously detained at the Correctional Institution for Women.”

She was earlier detained at the CIW because of a previous conviction by the Makati Regional Trial Court on a separate charge of serious illegal detention. The guilty verdict was later reversed by the Court of Appeals prompting her transfer to the BJMP-run facility in Camp Bagong Diwa.

With the December 14 plunder conviction, the anti-graft court ordered that she be re-committed to the CIW in Mandaluyong City.

Procedural lapse

Napoles’ legal team also refuted the prosecution’s assertion that her urgent motion for reconsideration failed to comply with a procedural requirement to set a hearing date. Thus, the motion was no more than “a scrap of paper.”

The defense countered that this was because the subject was of “extreme urgency” to prevent Napoles’ transfer to the CIW. They said they did not intend to deprive the court nor the prosecution of objecting to their motion.

Napoles was found guilty of defrauding the government of at least P124.5 million allegedly siphoned from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel allocations of Revilla to her fake non-governmental organizations.

The senator was acquitted of plunder charges but was included in the court’s order to return the same amount to the nation’s coffers.

Napoles’ employees admitted falsifying documents and paying fat commissions to Cambe, who was also sentenced to at least 20 years and one day to at most 40 years of imprisonment. – Rappler.com