• Miriam seeks deposition of Napoles’s testimony

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    Personnel from the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force provide ultra-tight security for Janet Lim Napoles, now detained at Fort Santo Domingo, Santa Rosa, Laguna province. No visitor may enter the premises without passing through heavily armed cops. Photo By Edwin Muli

    Personnel from the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force provide ultra-tight security for Janet Lim Napoles, now detained at Fort Santo Domingo, Santa Rosa, Laguna province. No visitor may enter the premises without passing through heavily armed cops. Photo By Edwin Muli

    TO insure that everything she knows about the pork barrel scam be turned into a public record, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago suggested that Janet Lim Napoles be allowed to make a written testimony ahead of her trial in order to reduce the level of threats to her security.

    Santiago said Napoles can avail of a procedure called “perpetuation of testimony” provided under the Rules of Court to assure that evidence will be preserved when her trial begins, even if anything were to happen to her.

    “Any adverse event could prevent Napoles from fully identifying the senators and congressmen with whom she had PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) transactions,” Santiago noted.

    According to Santiago, Napoles’ enemies could hire operatives to silence her, or she might inflict physical damage upon herself and for any of these reasons, the Rules of Court allows her to give her testimony well before trial.

    “If Napoles decides to perpetuate her testimony in order to reduce the level of threats to her security, she has to file a verified petition in court . . . The court should grant the petition for deposition if the perpetuation of the testimony may prevent a failure or delay of justice,” she added.

    Bring the court to Fort Santo Domingo
    Senate President Franklin Drilon, on the other hand, wants to take a different tack.

    To safeguard her person as well as to avoid additional expenses to be incurred in transferring her to and from the Makati City Regional Trial Court, Drilon suggested that the hearings be done inside the premises of Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa Laguna where Napoles is detained.

    Drilon, during the budget hearing on the proposed 2014 budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) made the suggestion following concerns raised about the security and monetary issues that may arise from the current set up.

    Napoles, who was ordered by the Makati City RTC arrested in connection with a serious illegal detention case filed against her, surrendered last week to President Benigno Aquino 3rd. She is currently detained at Fort Santo Domingo, Santa Rosa Laguna instead of Makati City Jail due to security reasons.

    Moreover, Napoles faces the bigger charge of plunder, according to earlier statements from the Justice department.

    Drilon said the DILG can ask the Supreme Court (SC) to bring the court to the camp and hold the hearings there rather than bringing Napoles to Makati City.

    He made it clear that the hearing will just be done in the camp but the jurisdiction will still be with Makati.

    This is similar to what is being done at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) where hearing is done inside the prison facility for convicted prisoners who are facing other charges.

    “If we’re concerned about security and the expenses, that is to me a better arrangement than transporting Napoles back and forth to Makati,” the Senate president said.

    Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas told the senators that they are also considering the suggestion, however, he maintained that it is the court that will decide on the matter and what the DILG can do is to give its assessment in case the court asks.

    Roxas said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) is just complying with the order of the court which is to transfer Napoles and whatever actions that will be carried out will have to come from the court.

    The DILG secretary admitted that concerns about security, traffic disruption and expenses can only be determined once Napoles is taken to Makati to attend her arraignment, and until then it is difficult to give any estimate.

    Meanwhile, Roxas admitted that there was indeed a different kind of treatment given Napoles but it is not because that she a VIP (very important person) but because the government wants her alive to face the judicial process of the country.

    He added that it would be better for Napoles to be kept safe because apart from facing the charges she can also provide crucial information about the scam and she can only do this if she is alive and well.

    Roxas, however, assured that Napoles is secured inside Fort Santo Domingo and they will also make sure that no harm will happen to her whether self-inflicted, accidental or externally inflicted inside her detention cell.

    Apart from the security forces guarding the camp, there are also trainees of the PNP-Special Action Force who can provide extra security.

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    14 Comments

    1. I would have thought the best thing to do is interview her & get her statement written down. I don’t expect her to tell the whole truth but after she has made her statement it gives the authorities all the time to check it out & get all the evidence against her cohorts. Also when in court she will be cross examined & then we can see how consistent she is, but if they haven’t already interviewed her i would like to know why. In the UK any person suspected of a crime is taken into custody & interviewed that same day & not on just one occasion, they will be interviewed many times in a important case such as this. But it seems the Philippines is not very good at doing the right thing.

    2. Fernando Habito on

      Miriam’s recommendation is good…..but it is also important to freeze the bank accounts and asssets of the 12 Senators and 180 Congressmen involved in this big scams during the process of investigations..

    3. Rosauro Feliciano on

      That is an extra ordinary talent coming from Senator Santiago. Those who want to silence Mrs. Napoles may be able to do so considering their statures in our society, but they cannot escape God’s justice because they are the causes of many who were victimized by their deeds. Indirectly many could hardly live decently like normal human beings because of extreme poverty perpetrated by those whose authority to provide decent living to the poor through the good intention of the pork barrel ended up in scam. Our government has decided to close the bank accounts of Mrs. Napoles and her associates, so in fairness the bank accounts of those who were mentioned by COA as parties of Mrs. Napoles should also be closed. Why only Mrs. Napoles’? Is this right or wrong? As the investigation is moving onward, I can have a mental picture that Mrs. Napoles is only comparable to a door that was opened for the public to see the inside of a room. Let us take seriously the suggestion of Senator Miriam Santiago in the interest of inflicting justice to those who are involved.

      • juan dela cruz on

        These corrupt politicians, napoles, gloria macapal ang mukha, imelda-they deserve jail time, ASAP. If found guilty, gas chamber for them to feel the pain.

    4. I agree with Nito! No written loose page and later on… say it was overlooked /or secret envelope withdrawing what Napoles had declared…dead or alive!!! It this happen another legal battle again to get the crooks out of the hook!!!

    5. Evelyn Patterso on

      Kung ang sasabihin niya ay katotohanan .Sanay siyang mangloko para magkamal ng
      limpak limpak na kwarta Ang sinungaling at magnanakaw ay magkapatid.

    6. I do like Senator Santiago’s suggestion to ask the court to grant Ms. J. L.Napoles to avail herself to give a PERPETUATION TESTIMONY under the rules of the court prior to her hearing, if only to minimize the threat to silence her. Another question is, how does anybody know that she safe from the security forces guarding her?.

    7. Jun Villacorta on

      The suggestion is brilliant…Better get her to confess now so the threats to life will have not effect on her safety……

    8. A written testimony of Napoles ahead of the trial is a safety valve against a threat to her life. To these people who are involve in this scam, they wanted her dead. To speed up the trial, extra safeguard and less expense, bring the court to Fort Santo Santiago.

    9. I just wonder why only Senator Miriam Santiago can think of this idea, when mostly of the Senators are lawyers too prior to their positions now. Those legislators who were involved (?) are quiet nowadays, like JPE, Bong Revilla, and GH. Some did talk, but more on being defensive like Jinggoy E.and some reasoned out, their signatures were faked.

    10. This pork barrels amiss beyond disgusting behavior of our elected officials. They are
      Worst than criminals. The people are suffering and our country still poor due to these
      Corrupt politicians. They must be prosecuted to the hilt and punish by life imprisonment
      Forfeiture of all their assets and pensions.if convicted their names should be publish
      Every year in all newspapers for ten years so no one can forget these scoundrels.
      There must be other Napoles out there doing the same shenanigans. This is huge
      task awaiting Noynoy. He also must not spared. Complete clean up is in order.
      People must be vigilant at all times. We must organize a watchdog to monitor
      The events. I call on the Church of all denomination to initiate this momentous
      segment of our history.