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No more sensible justification for Napoles’ special treatment

/ 12:02 AM April 15, 2014

When Janet Lim Napoles “surrendered” in Malacañang in August last year, she was cosseted like royalty and then escorted by no less that President Aquino and some Cabinet officials to ensure her “safety” en route to a holding facility in Camp Crame. That show of extraordinary concern for anyone who should have been unceremoniously thrown in jail was truly unprecedented. Except for that close circle of cabalists, no one really knew what the deal was.

About seven months later, Napoles continues to enjoy VIP treatment while in detention. She is currently charged with a nonbailable offense for kidnapping whistle-blower Benhur Luy. Another nonbailable charge of plunder against her and her cohorts, as of latest reports, is about to be filed by the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayan. In the meantime, she has been permitted to avail herself of the best medical attention money can buy—that is, the people’s money!

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Even if her camp says she’s spending for it herself, where do you suppose that money came from in the first place? We are sure the Ombudsman has an answer to that!

In terms of tax money, indeed, the cost of keeping her in custody has been humongous. Thus, after having been robbed in the billions of pesos by the syndicate Napoles allegedly masterminded, the people continue to be bilked even more! Enormous wherewithal that should be better spent for public purposes is being wasted on a whole army of “security guards” purportedly to keep her out of harm’s way as there might be assassins out there to silence her. But the thing is, no less than Napoles herself has kept saying no one is out to “liquidate” her because she has done nothing wrong.

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The Senate blue ribbon committee looking into her involvement in the pork barrel scam has just recently concluded that she lied; that she was, indeed, principally involved. Thus, whatever value the government thinks she might still have as state’s witness has been totally lost. Even if she changes her story now, what right-thinking court would give any credence to the testimony of a flip-flopping witness who has no respect for the sanctity of an oath?  In other words, her credibility is now zero, zilch, nada! So why is Malacañang  still so overly “concerned”  with her security and safety?

It is intriguing that despite public outrage at the VIP treatment, Malacañang has remained adamant. Rumors are now rife that Napoles has to be kept on the radar at all costs lest she eventually spill the beans on all those who received kickbacks. Already, not only “opposition” stalwarts for 2016 are being implicated, other prominent names allied with and belonging to President Aquino’s mainstream party have surfaced. Whitewash or damage control is not a farfetched scenario.

To quell any such speculation, the President should now put his foot down. Sending Napoles to jail posthaste and making her suffer the same inconvenience as other ordinary detainees do should put the kibosh on all nasty suspicions that make his “daang matuwid” nothing more than a metaphorical express lane to nowhere.

—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO, Monsanto Law Office, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, [email protected]

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TAGS: Benhur Luy, Camp Crame, Janet Lim-Napoles, pork barrel
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