Napoles cites jail cell ransack in pressing for DOJ custody

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 23) — In a bid to justify her transfer to the Justice Department's custody, the camp of alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles told the Sandiganbayan her jail cell was ransacked in October 2017.

Since she faces plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan over a multibillion-peso scam involving government funds, the anti-graft court has to approve her transfer from Camp Bagong Diwa to the custody of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Napoles has been provisionally placed under the DOJ's witness protection program.

Napoles' lawyers on Wednesday submitted to the Sandiganbayan a three-page manifestation on their urgent motion for Napoles' transfer. CNN Philippines obtained a copy of this document on Friday.

It contained an incident report signed by jail chief inspector Editha Balansay, which detailed alleged irregularities in a Greyhound Operation conducted by a team of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) on October 12, 2017, at the wee hours of the morning.

"With this compliance, (the) accused hopes to enlighten even more the Honorable Court, of the reasons warranting the relief prayed for in the urgent motion," Napoles' camp said.

Using a bolt cutter, members of the BJMP's Greyhound Team cut the "chain or lock" at Napoles' jail cell and kicked the door open, the incident report read. Napoles is detained at the Taguig City Jail female dormitory at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.

"Body search was also conducted to the client by a male jail officer who is in full battle gear wearing a vest, Kevlar with a long firearms and wearing a mask," the report added.

It further said some of Napoles' "personal belongings and important documents" were confiscated, and the closed-circuit television (CCTV) security camera disabled.

"The Greyhound Team did not coordinate nor permitted the presence of the detailed "Start Team" on duty upon entering the client cell and during the conduct of the greyhound," the report said.

According to the BJMP Manual, surprise greyhound operations may be conducted at any time. The jail warden generally exercises supervision and control over all personnel and inmates in the conduct of greyhound operations and other inspections.

Napoles in May 2017 said she has been receiving death threats from former and current high-ranking officials, so she asked for protection.

She has been provisionally placed under witness protection program since February. Her lawyer, Stephen David told CNN Philippines Napoles filed new affidavits on what she knows about the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 2013.

Napoles allegedly funneled P10 billion in lawmakers' funds to bogus nongovernment organizations. David said Napoles will reveal new information on the scam, but denied she was the pork barrel scam queen or mastermind.