MANILA, July 14 (Mabuhay) – The prosecutors on Monday decried the alleged special treatment on pork barrel scam suspect Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., saying the senator and his co-accused should be detained at a city jail.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor said Revilla and his co-accused in the plunder case, former legislative staff officer Richard Cambe and alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, should be transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, or other jails under BJMP.
Revilla and Cambe are currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center, while Napoles is at Fort Sto. Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna on a separate illegal detention charge.
In their motion filed before the Sandiganbayan, the prosecutors said the PNP Custodial Center is not a detention facility because it was originally built as barracks for officials of the PNP Custodial Service Unit.
Meanwhile, Napoles should also be transferred because the suspect is detained at a facility far from the Sandiganbayan, the prosecutors said.
The prosecutors also said Fort Sto. Domingo is not a detention facility for accused facing trial, adding that the expenses incurred for Napoles’ trips from Laguna to Sandiganbayan are too “burdensome” for the government.
The motion said according to the law, only the jails under the BJMP are mandated to secure inmates awaiting trial.
“Aside from its lack of basis, the continued detention of accused at their present locations affords them special treatment as they are subjected to different rules and procedure not afforded to all other detention prisoners under BJMP control,” the motion read.
The prosecutors added that the “special treatment creates a negative image of the country’s court and justice system.”
The prosecutors cited the transfer of Jessica Lucila ”Gigi” Reyes to the BJMP facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, adding that it constitutes a violation of her right to equal protection of law if Revilla and his co-accused are not transferred to the same jail.
Reyes, the former aide of accused Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, is now at the Philippine Heart Center’s intensive care unit after she complained of chest pains following her transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa.
“Since they are similarly situated, all should be detained in a BJMP facility without any special treatment or favor,” the motion read. (MNS)