THE Sandiganbayan’s First Division has rejected the plea of alleged pork-barrel-scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles to be transferred to a safe house of the Justice Department’s Witness Protection Program from a regular jail in Taguig City.
In a resolution promulgated on April 5 and released to reporters on Tuesday, the anti-graft court invoked a provision of the WPP Law that prevents the department from taking custody of a detained witness.
The anti-graft court quoted Section 1, Article IX of the implementing rules of RA 6981 that says “the WPP shall not take into its protective custody a witness who is in detention for any lawful cause. However, it shall direct the custodian of the witness take necessary measures to ensure safety of the witness.”
“To place Napoles in the custody of the WPP despite being in detention for a lawful cause is contrary to the clear and express import of Article IX, Section 1 of the IRR of RA 6891,” the Sandiganbayan says in the resolution.
Napoles is detained in a facility of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
She has filed motions to move out of jail before the three divisions of the Sandiganbayan that have been handling her case following the move of then Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to have her accommodated to the WPP.
The Third and Fifth Divisions have to rule on the motions, too but even if these ruled in her favor, she would still be detained at the BJMP facility.