MANILA - A militant lawmaker has warned the Philippine National Police (PNP) that it stands to be held in contempt for refusing to honor an order by the Sandiganbayan for the transfer of detention of alleged “pork barrel queen" Janet Lim Napoles from the PNP Special Action Force (SAF) Training School in Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa, Laguna to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) detention facility inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.
Kabataan Party-List Rep. Terry Ridon, who is a lawyer, told ABS-CBN News that the delay in Napoles’ transfer is in defiance of a court order.
"Napoles should be treated like any other detention prisoner. She should be sent to the BJMP custody the soonest as ordered by the court (Sandiganbayan).
"The PNP should not effectively tie its own hands in the custody of Napoles’ detention in the BJMP facility. Ultimately, it is the PNP’s contemptible refusal to transfer Napoles to BJMP which is the cause for Napoles’ continuing detention in Sta. Rosa,” Ridon said.
The Sandiganbayan Third Division ordered Napoles' transfer to a regular jail facility on Friday, stressing that individuals accused in criminal cases should be detained in a BJMP facility during the pendency of trial.
Under Section 3, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which the Office of the Ombudsman cited in moving for Napoles’ transfer, an accused arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant must be delivered to the nearest police station or jail.
MAKATI RTC OKs TRANSFER
The Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150, which had ordered Napoles’ detention in Fort Sto. Domingo, had already conceded to the Sandiganbayan order.
The Makati trial court said it would not object to the anti-graft court’s ruling.
The lower court is hearing the serious illegal detention case filed by Benhur Luy and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Napoles; the case is connected to the “pork barrel scam," with Luy claiming that the reason why Napoles ordered his detention for a period of 3 months was to prevent him from exposing the anomaly.
The lower court said the PNP may transfer Napoles to the BJMP facility anytime, and process the necessary paperwork thereafter.
Still, the PNP has not executed the Sandiganbayan order.
Ridon stressed that the Sandiganbayan is a higher court and is hearing a case which involves the alleged plunder of public funds, which all the more poses no reason for the PNP to defy its order.
"There is no reason for the delay of her commitment to Bicutan as we are certain that the [Makati] RTC would respect the order of the Sandiganbayan, which is a court of higher and national jurisdiction,” Ridon said.
Ridon also stressed that all the other accused in the plunder and graft cases in connection with the "pork barrel" scam, headed by Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, and Jinggoy Estrada, should also be transferred to regular jail facilities.
Atty. Raji Mendoza, Luy's lawyer, had earlier told ABS-CBN News that this is also the contention of the prosecution in order to douse any speculation of special treatment in favor of the accused.
"Dapat ilipat sila lahat sa regular jail facility para magsilbi itong catalyst para sa lahat ng mga akusado sa iba pang krimen na under detention. Para mawala na sa isipan ng publiko na kapag mataas ang posisyon mo, pwede ka sa mas komportableng pasilidad gaya ng PNP Custodial Center o di kaya'y sa ospital," Mendoza said.
Revilla and Estrada are detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, while Enrile is temporarily on hospital detention pending the Sandiganbayan's ruling on his plea for hospital arrest.