• Hospital staff on alert for Napoles’ confinement

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    The government-run Ospital ng Makati was placed under alert over the weekend for the possible confinement there of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, after a court approved her petition to leave her prison cell and seek surgery at a hospital for an abnormal bleeding.

    An emergency-room staff, who declined to be identified, told The Manila Times that a memorandum had been issued by the hospital administration directing all personnel to be on alert for the confinement of Napoles.

    She, however, said the memo did not indicate the date and time when Napoles would be transferred to the hospital from Fort Santo Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where Napoles is being detained.

    The memorandum was issued after the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) granted on Friday a request by Napoles to undergo surgery.

    But instead of her preferred hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City, Judge Elmo Alameda, of the Makati RTC Branch 150, ruled that Napoles be confined at the Ospital ng Makati.

    On March 21, a tearful Napoles appealed to the court to allow her to undergo medical surgery at St. Luke’s Medical Center after doctors who checked on her condition said she had an ovarian tumor.

    In a resolution, Alameda said Napoles can have the surgery to remove her myoma uteri and post-operative care at the Makati hospital.

    It has been two days since Alameda granted Napoles hospital confinement but she is yet to be transferred to the hospital.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed readiness for Napoles’ transfer.

    But Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office chief, said they were not so sure when Napoles would be brought to Ospital ng Makati.

    “The court order did not give us a deadline or definite time for us to transfer Napoles,” he told a television interview.

    Sindac said they just wanted to make sure that the facilities to be used in the surgery of Napoles are all prepared before she is confined at the Makati hospital.

    ”Doctors from [the hospital]and of Napoles from St. Luke’s are still coordinating with one another, we still have to confirm this through our doctors in Camp Crame,” he added.

    However, lawyer Faye Singson, a legal counsel of Napoles, said the PNP should follow the court order immediately.

    “The transfer should not be dependent on the circumstance of the doctors, the basis should be the court order,” she added.

    Alameda’s resolution did not state the exact date of Napoles’ confinement.

    Napoles is detained at Fort Santo Domingo for charges of serious illegal detention.

    In another apparent setback for Napoles, the Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the filing by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of a complaint of serious illegal detention for illegally detaining Benhur Luy, one of the pork barrel scam witnesses.

    Late last week, the CA junked Napoles’ petition for certiorari assailing the review resolution dated August 6, 2013 of the DOJ Task Force on Anti-Kidnappping directing the filing of an information against Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim.

    The 23-page decision of the CA that was obtained by the Times was penned by Associate Justice Ramon Garcia and was concurred in by Associate Justices Rebecca de Guia-Salvador and Vicente Veloso,

    “[T]his court finds no compelling reason to reverse or modify the assailed ruling of the DOJ Task Force[,]” the decision read.

    The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Luy, a former Napoles employee,

    who claimed that Napoles and Lim detained him for two to three months starting in December 2012.

    The reason for this was Napoles finding out that Luy, her cousin, secured a P5.5-million loan using her name and without any authorization.

    Luy’s camp said he was detained to prevent him from spilling the beans on Napoles’ anomalous transactions including an alleged P10 billion from lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund through her bogus foundations and non-government organizations.

    Luy was rescued by National Bureau of Investigation agents in March 2013.

    Napoles and Lim were ordered arrested in August 2013 over the illegal detention case.

    Napoles surrendered to President Benigno Aquino 3rd after it was announced that a P10-million reward is being offered for her arrest. Lim is still in hiding.

    In the ruling, the court held that “an examination of [Napoles’ petition] would reveal that what [she]points to as basis for the DOJ Task Force on Anti-Kidnapping’s alleged grave abuse of discretion concerns its appreciation of evidence, specifically, that it erroneously gave credence to the version of events as related by Benhur Luy and his witnesses but failed to properly give weight to the affidavits of the defense.”

    The CA said “a writ of certiorari may be issued only for the correction of errors of jurisdiction.”

    “Hence, a review of the evidence presented during the preliminary investigation is not proper for it does not involve any jurisdictional question,” it pointed out.

    On Napoles’ contention that the Makati Regional Trial Court committed grave abuse of discretion when it issued a warrant of arrest against her and her brother, the CA held that there was no basis to rule on her argument.

    It added that Napoles also failed “to file the necessary pleading before the RTC that issued the warrant of arrest to contest the same.”

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