If you were caught stealing a $500 cellular phone in the Philippines, chances are you will be locked up in a hot and piss-smelling crowded jail for 7 years.
However, if you are charged or convicted with a non-bailable crime like plunder (stealing more than 50 million pesos from the government), chances are you will be detained in a military hospital or jailed in your very own sprawling mountain resort. And if you’re lucky enough, you may be pardoned shortly and able to run for public office (and win!).
Is this crazy? Only in the Philippines its not.
In the case of celebrity/billionaire/detainee/alleged scam artist Janet Lim Napoles, the meaning of special treatment of a high profile detention prisoner has gone to a record high.
First, imagine the country’s most wanted woman (with a ten million pesos bounty) surreptitiously slipping through the tight security cordon and surrender to the country’s most powerful man – the President himself. Talk about Presidential special treatment!
Second, Janet Lim Napoles was allegedly escorted by President Aquino to Camp Crame, the seat of the Philippine National Police for “proper turnover.”
Third, with no less than the second most powerful man in the Philippines, Vice President Mar Roxas and the Chief of the PNP making sure that the most valuable detainee has been transferred to a relatively comfortable detention center at the PNP Camp Sto. Domingo.
Fourth, Janet Lim Napoles is given round the clock tight security by the elite Special Action Forces of the PNP and medical check up by PNP doctors.
Fifth, Janet Lim Napoles has always been represented by the best lawyers in the country. She was once represented by the Marcos Ochoa Serapio and Tan (MOST) Law Office, allegedly the most influential law firm in the Philippines today (Ochoa – being the President Aquino’s Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa). (source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/445587/law-firm-denies-lawyering-for-businesswoman-in-alleged-pork-barrel-scam).
Janet’s current lawyer is a veteran litigator and well-connected Atty Lorna Kapunan. She is allegedly the former law partner of Presidential Spokesman Atty. Edwin Lacierda. (source: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/news/top-news/18669-other-big-name-fugitives-urged-to-surrender-to-the-president).
Who said that being a big time crook (or charged of being one in the case of Napoles) does not have its perks?