THE camp of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles would not want to clash with feisty Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
This after Santiago proposed that the detained businesswoman should be billed for the privileges she is receiving while in detention at the police headquarters in Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Lawyer Bruce Rivera, Napoles’ legal counsel said they respect Santiago’s opinion adding that the senator is entitled to it.
“We do not want to have a word war with the good senator,” Rivera told The Manila Times.
In airing such proposal, Santiago cited the pay-for-stay program being used by some jurisdictions in the United States (US) where inmates are being billed for their stay in an “enhanced facility” instead of a regular jail.
The lady senator said that the US program should be used as a valid and legal reason to demand that Napoles shoulder the cost of her stay at Fort Sto. Domingo.
Santiago said since the government is not getting anything from Napoles in terms of information in the pork barrel scam issue, there is even less reason to keep her at a special facility at the expense of taxpayers.
She noted that the government has to shoulder the cost of Napoles’ “special treatment,” which she said amounts to P5,000 a day as compared to only P54 for every other ordinary inmate.
Although Napoles’ lawyers respect Santiago’s opinion, they don’t want their client to be transferred to a regular jail due to security reasons.
Moreover, Rivera said they are not yet sure if Napoles’ obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-gyn) at St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global will testify in the resumption of the hearing on Tuesday of her motion to allow her undergo medical operations.
Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 has directed the defense team to present an expert who will prove the urgency and necessity of having Napoles undergo a medical operation to remove a cyst in her uterus.
Rivera earlier said that they will be presenting in the witness stand Dr. Elsie Badillo-Pascua, Napoles’ OB-gyn at St. Luke’s Medical Center to justify their plea.
It was Pascua who recommended that a transvaginal ultrasound (TVS) should be conducted on Napoles as her hemoglobin went down because of her bleeding.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO