While everybody was trying to recover from the emotional performance of President Aquino in his 5th State of the Nation Address Monday night, pork barrel queen Janet Napoles was brought to Camp Bagong Diwa jail at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Bicutan, Taguig.
Reports said Napoles arrived at Bicutan from Fort Sto. Domingo, a police camp in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna where she had been detained since March 31, at 11:15 p.m.
Napoles has been charged with graft, plunder and serious illegal detention in connection with the misuse of the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund involving three senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, members of their staff and other personalities.
She joined at the BJMP co-accused Atty. Gigi Reyes, former chief-of-staff of Enrile.
Enrile is in hospital detention at the PNP Hospital in Camp Crame. Estrada and Revilla are detained at the Camp Crame Custodial Center. All three are charged with graft and plunder.
A source at Camp Bagong Diwa jail said, as of yesterday, “both Gigi and Janet are staying at the air-conditioned area near the warden’s office at the ground floor.”
The source said the infirmary at the fourth floor is currently being renovated for Reyes and Napoles. “It will be turned into an isolation room for political prisoners.”
Wait a minute. Reyes and Napoles are charged with plunder and graft. Those are not political crimes like rebellion or sedition. They are not political prisoners.
The source said the renovation of the infirmary started before the arrival of Reyes from temporary detention at the Sandiganbayan.
The infirmary renovation displaces detainees who are confined there. Since all the cells are almost filled, some are sleeping on the floor or on benches, the source said. “Among those sleeping on the floor is a patient sick of tuberculosis. A pregnant woman who is complaining of spotting sleeps on benches which she joined together.”
The source also said the infirmary had a toilet without toilet bowl. “Now they are installing a toilet bowl.”
On the ground floor of BJMP are offices. The second and third floors are male dormitories.
The fourth floor is the female dormitory which houses 138 high-profile and high-risk detainees, including female guerillas of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) captured during the Zamboanga City siege, foreigners, Abu Sayyaf and NPA rebels and other high-risk detainees.
They are divided into four cells with triple-deck beds.
It will be recalled that Reyes suffered a panic attack the first time she was brought to Camp Bagong Diwa last July 10 upon learning that she would be placed in a cell with nine NPA rebels.
Napoles was reported to have cried when she heard the order of Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang to transfer her to Camp Bagong Diwa.
In a July 24 resolution, the Sandiganbayan Third Division headed by Tang said the rule for persons charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense, is detention at the a jail nearest the court. “The PNP Special Action Force Training school in Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa City in Laguna is not under the jurisdiction of the BJMP, hence it is not a jail.”
Maybe the BJMP administrators are trying to give humane treatment to Reyes and Napoles while they are still on trial.
But humane treatment should not be limited to the two. It should be given to each and every detainee, whatever their status in society.
No one should be thrown to the floor to give the bed to someone who has more money, especially if it’s money stolen from the Filipino people.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.