Lawyer: Napoles' transfer to regular jail up to court

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Monday, February 17, 2014

MANILA -- A lawyer for alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Napoles said Monday it is up to the Makati court hearing her serious illegal detention case to transfer her from Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna to a regular jail.

Reacting to calls from leftist groups, lawyer Alfredo Villamor said Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati Regional Trial Court branch 150 can only decide on the matter if government prosecutors will push for it.

Authorities will also have to assess the threats to Napoles' life.

"Our primordial consideration is her (Napoles) safety. If there is still a need for her to stay there following an assessment, then we will move for her continued detention there. It really depends on the security situation of Mrs. Napoles," said Villamor in a chance interview.

Napoles has been detained at the police training camp since September last year for allegedly keeping whistleblower Benhur Luy against his will from December 2012 to March 2013.

The government is reportedly spending P150,000 a month to keep her safe, raising eyebrows among rights groups such as Hustisya, which found the cost unfair to the people who were robbed of millions of pesos due to Napoles' illegal racket in government.

She asked the court to allow her to post bail but Alameda turned down the request twice.

In an order last week, Alameda said Napoles did not raise fresh arguments in her motion for reconsideration to the court's decision dated November 21, 2013.

"At most, the arguments proffered by accused Napoles are self-serving and not supported by strong evidence of non-culpability and are therefore insufficient to alter the findings of the court," the order read.

Napoles is also facing plunder charges, along with three senators and other government officials, before the Office of the Ombudsman for the alleged diversion of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects of her fake foundations. (Sunnex)

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