THE Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure the safety of Janet Lim-Napoles during her appearance at the Senate inquiry over the pork barrel fund scam.
In a one-page decision, Makati RTC Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda ordered PNP Special Action Force (SAF) Commander P/Dir. Carmelo Valmoria to provide adequate security escorts for the safe travel of Napoles to the Senate.
Napoles is now being detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo, in Sta. Rosa town, Laguna province for her serious illegal detention case filed by whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Alameda issued the order as he granted the request of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to allow Napoles to appear in its investigation into the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) known as pork barrel of some lawmakers.
Napoles, who is the alleged mastermind in channeling billions of pesos of pork barrel fund of some lawmakers to her bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs), is directed to appear in the Senate on November 7.
After Senate President Franklin Drilon signed the subpoena for Napoles, Sen. Teofisto Guingona, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, asked the assistance of the court to ensure the attendance of the businesswoman in the resumption of their hearing.
Alameda explained that “the powers of the legislative and the judiciary to require the presence of a person under detention by legal process to appear before it do not exclude each other.”
“To contend that only the judiciary can exercise exclusive discretion over the person of Janet Lim Napoles despite the subpoena issued by the Blue Ribbon Committee is to violate the principle of co-equal and coordinate powers of these branches of government,” Alameda said in his decision.
In granting the Senate’s request, the judge said the court recognizes the power and authority of the Committee to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure and the respect accorded to persons appearing before it.
The court order does not only cover the day of Napoles’ appearance at the Senate but until such time her testimony is completed.
The court likewise directed Valmoria to provide the same security escorts to Napoles for her safe return at Fort Sto. Domingo.
Napoles’ legal counsel Lorna Kapunan maintained that her client will invoke her constitutional right against self incrimination if she appears in the Senate probe.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO