(Correction: the maid's name is Dominga Cadelina, not Cadelina Domingo. -- Eds.)
MANILA (2nd UPDATE/CORRECTED) Janet Lim Napoles, the businesswoman at the center of the pork barrel scam, sent her maid to jail after accusing her of stealing jackets and underwear.
Dominga Cadelina, a former household worker of the Napoleses, was jailed in February this year for qualified theft. She was joined by Napoles at the Makati City Jail Thursday evening after the latter was ordered arrested on serious illegal detention charges.
In an interview with dzMM, lawyer Levito Baligod said Cadelina decided to leave the Napoles household early this year out of exhaustion.
Baligod said he learned that Napoles often asked Cadelina to give her a massage late in the evening. As a result, Cadelina often got little sleep since she had to wake up early to do other tasks.
Unable to keep up with the household chores, Cadelina sought permission from Napoles to quit her job.
Napoles allowed Cadelina, even giving the household helper cash and other items such as undergarments and jackets allegedly amounting to around P500,000.
"Nagkakahalaga ng mahigit P200,000 daw iyon. Mga panty, jacket. Mga kakaunting piraso ng damit na isinilid sa kanyang bag," Baligod said.
However, Cadelina was accosted by village guards after Napoles allegedly told them that the household helper stole several items from her.
Cadelina was sent to Makati City Jail over qualified theft charges. She is being represented by the Public Attorney's Office.
Napoles joins maid in jail
Napoles joined Cadelina at the Makati City Jail late Thursday evening, but the businesswoman was placed in a separate room, away from the rest of the inmates.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Atty. Lorna Kapunan and Napoles' husband Jimmy were seen accompanying the businesswoman as she entered the jail.
Napoles was handcuffed and wore a bulletproof vest during the transfer.
Roxas said Napoles will be watched by 2 female guards at all times.
“Hindi siya sinama sa 103 female detainees. ‘Yung isang opisina dito ay ginawang detention area niya. Ginawan ng paraan ng chief PNP para magkaroon ng 24 hours na bantay,” Roxas told reporters outside the Makati City Jail.
“Ang importante dito, sinisiguro natin na ang kanyang nalalaman or maisisiwalat na ebidensiya ay napre-preserve natin dahil walang masamang nangyayari sa kanya,” he added.
One of the lawyers of Napoles, Atty. Bettina Zamora, filed an urgent motion for reconsideration, requesting that Napoles be detained instead to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig or Camp Crame.
Kapunan said they will respect the court’s decision on the motion, saying their priority is the security and safety of Napoles.
“We’re not complaining about the comfort. We are very happy about the security arrangement, ‘yun lang. ‘Yung discomfort niya ay part of surrendering, hindi naman kami makakapili kung saan siya ide-detain basta assured kami at maraming nagbabantay diyan sa loob. Comfort is the least of our worries,” she said.
Napoles was ordered arrested by the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 for the serious illegal detention charges filed by her distant relative and former assistant, Benhur Luy, who tagged her in the multi-billion peso scam that has rocked the nation.
A case has yet to be filed against Napoles involving the alleged misuse of the pork barrel funds. The government, through the Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAGCC), has launched a probe into the scam.
Napoles has been accused of setting up fake non-government organizations to pocket pork barrel funds from certain lawmakers, who in turn allegedly got huge cuts from the deal with the businesswoman.