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Napoles arraignment deferred

Police medical officers check Napoles’ blood pressure inside her detention facility in Fort Sto. Domingo. (Jacqueline Hernandez / PNP-PIO)

Police medical officers check Napoles’ blood pressure inside her detention facility in Fort Sto. Domingo. (Jacqueline Hernandez / PNP-PIO)

A regional trial court in Makati granted yesterday the urgent motion of the camp of Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the P10-billion pork barrel scam, to defer her arraignment and reset it for September 23.

Judge Elmo Alameda of the Makati City Regional Trial Court, Branch 150, ordered the deferment of the Napoles’ arraignment, originally set for September 9, due to time constraints  in resolving the three motions which were just heard yesterday afternoon.

Napoles and her brother Reynald Lim have been charged with serious illegal detention by Benhur Luy, a key pork barrel scam whistleblower.

After hearing the arguments of both prosecution and defense panels, Alameda told the prosecution and defense panel to expect the resolution of the three pending motions next week. These include Napoles’ motion for Bill of Particulars and motions to suspend proceedings by both accused Napoles and Lim.

At the hearing, Napoles counsel, lawyer Lorna Kapunan, asked the court to suspend the proceedings against Napoles, citing “humanitarian consideration.”

“She (Napoles) is not going anywhere. There is no danger of escape or flight,” said Kapunan, considering the security measures at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, where she is detained.

She added that a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera connected to Camp Crame monitors all activities at her detention center, said Kapunan.

On the motion for Bill of Particulars, Kapunan questioned the information that led to the filing of the serious illegal detention charges.

She said Napoles is not sufficiently informed of the crime with which she is being charged, describing the charges as “defective and vague.”

“The information is unclear as how Janet and Reynald conspired with one another to implement such deprivation,” said Kapunan.

Moreover, Kapunan argued that Napoles has never been to Bahay San Jose where Luy was allegedly detained.

Kapunan also assured the local court that her client would face charges against her.

“If she (Napoles) is not given her day in court here, it will go up to higher courts. We do not want that,” she pointed.

She labeled the serious illegal detention charges against her client an irritant.

“This is an irritant to the bigger case. The illegal detention case has no basis. This confuses the public. They thought this case is about plunder case.”