Deniece Cornejo joining Gigi Reyes, Janet Napoles

By Mike Frialde, The Philippine Star

Posted at Aug 06 2014 03:54 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2014 11:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Deniece Cornejo is set to be moved to the Camp Bagong Diwa police jail in Taguig City where Jessica Lucila "Gigi" Reyes and Janet Lim-Napoles are detained on plunder charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.

The Taguig Regional Trial Court (RTC) has issued a commitment order for her transfer to the city jail.

In her decision dated June 16 but released only on Monday, Taguig RTC Branch 271 Presiding Judge Paz Esperanza Cortes denied Cornejo’s petition for her continued detention at the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) detention cell at Camp Crame.

Chief Inspector Elizabeth Jasmin, spokesperson for the CIDG, said they have received a copy of the commitment order.

“The CIDG will coordinate with the court on the update of the case. We will abide by the court order,” Jasmin said.

The court junked similar motions filed by businessman Cedric Lee and Simeon Palma Raz Jr., paving the way for their transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa.

A copy of the court’s decision was obtained by Tony Calvento, columnist of Pilipino Star Ngayon.

Cornejo, Lee and Raz are detained on serious illegal detention charge in connection with the beating of actor and television host Vhong Navarro.

Alma Mallonga, lawyer for Navarro, said the commitment order was suspended after the accused filed their respective motions for reconsideration.

Lee and Raz have been detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The NBI arrested Lee and Raz on April 26. Cornejo turned herself in to the CIDG on May 5.

“The NBI or CIDG has no jurisdiction over accused undergoing trial,” the court said.

“Their continued detention at the NBI and CIDG would be against the law,” it added.

In their motions, Lee and Raz argued that Navarro’s celebrity status makes them vulnerable to inmates in a regular jail.

They added that their lives would be in danger if they are not allowed to stay at the NBI jail.

The judge said she personally inspected the detention facilities at Camp Bagong Diwa and interviewed the wardens and inmates.

“The inmates have no hatred in mind against the accused,” the court said.

“The female detainees are actually excited to count Deniece as among the contestants for their beauty contest in October,” it added.

Sandigan denies Gigi petition

Meanwhile, Reyes will remain at the crowded female dormitory at Camp Bagong Diwa.

The Sandiganbayan yesterday denied with finality her petition to be transferred to the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.

The anti-graft court junked Reyes’ motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.

Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justices Samuel Martires and Alex Quiroz, who inspected the prison facility last week, said Reyes’ detention at Camp Bagong Diwa is in accordance with the law.

“Her confinement thereat does not impinge on the equal protection clause,” the ruling said.

Reyes, former chief of staff and co-accused of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in the plunder and graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, suffered an anxiety attack when she was transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa from the holding cell of the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City on June 10. –With Michael Punongbayan, Cecille Suerte Felipe