SC: OK to take Napoles out of jail for hearings


MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Friday, April 24, approved the request of Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang to allow alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles to be taken out of her jail cell in Mandaluyong City and be brought to Quezon City for her bail hearings. 

The decision came on the same day the Sandiganbayan Third Division conducted a hearing for Napoles' bail petition inside the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City, while it was awaiting the high court's decision on the request. 

It was the first time in a while that the anti-graft court heard a case outside the Sandiganbayan premises, Third Division clerk of court Dennis Pulma told reporters. 

Cabotaje-Tang made the request before the Supreme Court after Napoles was sentenced to life imprisonment for serious illegal detention, prompting her transfer from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to the CIW. 

"Citing impracticality and reasons of security, the Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice requested the Supreme Court for permission to allow Napoles to be brought to the Sandiganbayan on those dates that her bail hearings would be conducted. Finding the reasons to be well-taken, the Supreme Court has granted the request," the Supreme Court said in a statement. 

Napoles is facing graft and plunder charges for allegedly conspiring with lawmakers and other government officials to steal public funds through fake non-governmental organizations. 

A Makati court earlier handed her a life sentence after being found guilty of illegally detaining her former employee Benhur Luy, who became the primary whistleblower in what has been known to be the pork barrel scam. –