Sandiganbayan to decide on Bong Revilla’s case soon

Published September 21, 2018, 6:34 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Czarina Nicole Ong

The Sandiganbayan First Division is all set to decide on whether to give former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. a guilty or not guilty ruling concerning his plunder charge in relation to the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam.

Fromer Sen. Bong Revilla arrives at the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City for the first hearing in his plunder case. (Federico Cruz) |
Bong Revilla at the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City.

This, after the defense submitted for decision its memorandum and the prosecution handed in its comment concerning the case before the court.

Revilla is facing one plunder charge and 16 counts of graft because of the misuse of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF), which he reportedly endorsed to the bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) owned by Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for kickbacks amounting to P224,512,500.

Because of his plunder charge, Revilla remains locked up in the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Revilla remains hopeful that he will be acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

During the trial, the prosecution offered as evidence several endorsement letters purportedly signed by Revilla in order to prove the former senator’s endorsement of Napoles’ NGOs in exchange for kickbacks.

However, Revilla said the prosecution failed to prove that it was he himself who signed these letters. The prosecution’s witnesses, such as Merlina Suñas and Benhur Luy, admitted that they have never seen Revilla write or sign the said letters.

Witnesses Marina Sula and Mary Arlene Baltazar also testified that they have never met or talked to Revilla, nor did they go to Revilla’s house and office. The two of them even said that it was Luy who actually forged Revilla’s signatures in the letters.

What’s more, all of these witnesses admitted that they never personally handed or delivered the alleged kickbacks to Revilla, nor did they see Napoles give or deliver money to the former-actor-turned-politician.

Revilla also found it “significant” that the prosecution did not ask him during cross-examination whether or not the purported signatures on the endorsement letters were affixed by him.

Because of these, Revilla said “the charge of plunder necessarily falls flat on its face, and acquittal mandated by the Constitution and the law necessarily follows.”