A spartan dormitory at the Makati City Jail will be home for Janet Lim-Napoles for the next several months as she awaits trial for serious illegal detention.
However, as of press time, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam who surrendered to President Benigno Aquino 3rd Wednesday night had yet to be committed to the jail.
Napoles was at Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the whole day Thursday, where she was detained.
Chief Inspector Fermin Enriquez said Napoles will be locked up at Makati jail’s Dormitory 2 and share quarters with 52 other women detainees.
Because Napoles is a high-profile inmate, Enriquez said security at the jail will be doubled. A 20-member augmentation force from the PNP, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Makati police has been assigned to the facility.
Enriquez said there will no preferential treatment for Napoles. “She will be placed inside the dorm like an ordinary inmate,” he said.
Enriquez discounted the possibility that the other inmates would harm Napoles.
Once she arrives at the facility, Napoles will be booked and subjected to physical and medical examinations.
She can accept visitors during visiting hours except on Mondays.
A team from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) headed by Col. Roberto Fajardo inspected the jail late Thursday.
Judge Elmo Alameda on Thursday ordered the Makati jail warden to take custody of Napoles. Court sheriff Bong Carreon immediately brought the commitment order to Camp Crame.
However, Napoles’ counsel Lorna Kapunan filed a motion late yesterday afternoon asking that the court allow Napoles to stay either at the PNP detention center or in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Alameda set Napoles’ arraignment on September 9.
Napoles and her brother Reynald were charged with serious illegal detention by her former employee, Ronald Luy.
Napoles was holed up at the office of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas while waiting to be transferred to the Makati jail. Police officials refused to provide reporters details about Napoles’ stay at Camp Crame, except to say that she had been fingerprinted and photographed.
Napoles went to Malacanang Wednesday night to surrender to President Aquino, who, hours before, had offered a P10 million reward for any information that would led to the arrest of the fugitive and her brother Benhur Lim.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda defended the process by which Napoles was received by the President after some groups criticized Aquino for receiving Napoles in Malacañang and escorting her to Camp Crame.
Lacierda said that securing Napoles’ safety was the Palace’s main consideration. He added that Napoles surrendered to Aquino because she only trusted the President.
“If ever we did not act on the threat and something happened to her, and we were told that there was a threat and we did not act on it, what will the public say?” he said. “Isn’t it better to receive her in person, make sure that she is safe and then the process of moving towards the truth will start?”
Lacierda said there will be no VIP treatment for Napoles despite the fact that the President himself inspected her detention quarters in Camp Crame. Lacierda said the process was observed because it was “part of the voluntary surrender that they requested.”
He said Aquino did not escort Napoles to Camp Crame and the President was not in the police convoy.
Lacierda said that at 8:06 p.m. on Wednesday, he, Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon 3rd and deputy spokesman Abigail Valte were led by Napoles’ husband Jimmy and Kapunan to Heritage Park in Fort Bonifacio. Napoles, wearing a hoodie, arrived at 9:08 p.m. together with an assistant who carried her things.
The group arrived at the Malacañang at around 9:37 p.m. They were received by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Roxas, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang and PNP chief Alan Purisima.
Lacierda said Napoles did not admit to anything. She did not say where she hid or who gave her protection while she was being hunted by government authorities.
Now that Napoles is under custody, Lacierda said the nation can “move forward” in searching of the truth behind the scam.
He expressed dismay at criticisms that Napoles’ surrender was scripted.
“When she wasn’t captured, the public was mad at us. When she was captured, when she voluntarily surrendered—which is better than to chase her—she voluntarily surrendered, she turned herself in; she’s already in our custody and yet the public is still mad at us,” Lacierda said.
He said many other presidents had welcomed the voluntary surrender of high-profile fugitives, mentioning President Manuel Quezon who received a Tayabas bandit named Nicolas Enculado and another bandit named Teodoro Asedillo.
“I don’t know if that was the same sentiment that people had when Luis Taruc surrendered to President Magsaysay or when Acedillo surrendered to the president. Did it make Acedillo untouchable? Did it make Luis Taruc untouchable? The case will move forward. She will be prosecuted according to what evidence we have,” he said.
Lacierda said the detention of Napoles is “a step towards the right direction of achieving justice and finally uncovering the truth concerning the alleged misuse of a PDAF.”
Roxas said Napoles’ transfer to the Makati jail was delayed because there were threats to her life.
He said they are considering holding Napoles in a small and separate room inside the jail.
WITH REPORTS FROM ALVINA ADORA