Bong Revilla won’t return P124-M to the government – Lawyer

Marje Pelayo   •   January 4, 2019   •   4868

FILE PHOTO: Former Senator Bong Revilla Jr.

CAVITE, Philippines – In December 2017, the Sandiganbayan acquitted former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. of plunder over his involvement in the multi-billion pork barrel scam.

Likewise, the anti-graft court ordered the former senator to return P124.5 million of civil liabilities to the National Treasury.

According to Revilla’s legal counsel, Atty. Reody Anthony Balisi, the dispositive portion of the Sandiganbayan’s decision was clear that only those found guilty were required to return the amount — in Revilla’s case, it should be Janet Lim Napoles and Revilla’s former aide Richard Cambe.

“All those who are criminally liable are civilly liable. So with these qualification in the dispositive portion of the decision of the Sandiganbayan, you apply the Article 100, base on the discussion above is Senator Bong criminally liable? He is not,” Balisi explained.

“Therefore, if you apply Article 100 then he cannot be said to have a civil liability since he is not criminally liable. There is no basis for any civil liability. There is no basis for him to return to the national treasury solidarily liable or jointly liable the amount of P124.5 million,” he added.

Revilla’s wife, Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado, supports this argument and maintained that her husband has no obligation to return the said amount.

“Siya naman po ay acquitted so I don’t think that particular item has applied on him. According to our legal team hindi po ganoon,” Mercado said.

The former senator, meanwhile, maintained that he did not steal anything from the people’s money and that everything he has as a citizen he earned from years of being an actor prior to his entry to national politics.

“Lahat po ng mayroon ako ay bunga ng aking dugo at pawis sa pag aartista. Simula pa lang noong ako ay sampung taong gulang. Sa mga panahong karamihan ay natutulog pa, ako po ay kumakayod na para kumita at iyan nga ang napatunayan ng hukuman na wala akong ninakaw ni sentimo mula sa taumbayan,” he said.

Despite the controversies hounding her husband, Mercado said she appreciates that Revilla remains among the top 10 senatorial candidates in current surveys.

Based on the latest survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS), Revilla ranked seventh.

“Ako po ay lubusang nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng sumusuporta’t tumatangkilik sa kaniya bagamat maraming naganap noong nakaraan, ang tiwala ng tao at pagmamahal ay sa kanya pa rin,” she said.

Since the former senator’s acquittal, the Revilla family has been enjoying a normal life, according to Mercado. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Benedict Samson)

 

Ombudsman will not appeal Revilla’s acquittal in 16 PDAF graft charges

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has rested its case against Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in the controversial ‘Pork Barrel’ scam.

This after the Sandiganbayan (SB) acquitted Revilla “for insufficiency of evidence on the remaining 16 graft cases” in relation to the alleged irregularities in the Senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

“The SB First Division voted 3-2 to grant Senator Revilla’s Demurrer to Evidence, AND WE RESPECT ITS DECISION,” the Ombudsman said in a statement.

Furthermore, the statement stressed that Ombudsman Samuel Martires will no longer challenge the “dismissal of cases/quashal of information and judgments of acquittal, either through a motion to dismiss, a demurrer to evidence or by a decision, rendered by the trial courts or the Sandiganbayan except when the People was clearly deprived of due process or there was mistrial,” citing Revilla’s constitutional right against double jeopardy.

“A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. The grant of the court of the demurrer is tantamount to an acquittal because the defendant is cleared of the criminal case and is no longer required to present his evidence,” the Ombudsman statement explained.

Revilla was accused in 2014 of diverting his PDAF for the years 2006 to 2009 to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to ex-Cagayan de Oro congressman and Pork Barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles.

The senator was alleged to have received P224.5 million kickback in the process.

Napoles was convicted of plunder in relation to the scam in 2018.

13 senators to possibly favor reimposition of death penalty

Maris Federez   •   July 25, 2019

The reinstatement of the death penalty may have a glimmer of hope to be passed in the Senate with a seeming majority vote.

Thirteen senators have, so far, manifested to vote for it which include Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Bong Go, Ronald Dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Aquilino Pimentel III, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino, Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano and Manny Pacquiao.

“Basta death penalty, kahit anong paraan, lethal injection , kahit ano, basta death penalty [As long as it’s death penalty, however way it is done. Lethal injection, whatever, as long as it’s death penalty],” said Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Thirteen is enough a number to have the bill passed in the higher chamber of Congress.

However, this could still narrow down as the versions they are pursuing vary, with most of them wanting to limit the imposition of the death penalty to high-level drug trafficking only.

This is in contrary to what President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing which is also to include plunder.

The senators are also divided as to how the said capital punishment must be carried out.

On the other hand, ten senators comprised of Senators Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Leila De Lima, Francis Pangilinan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Ralph Recto and Joel Villanueva have openly opposed the bill.

Senator Sonny Angara has yet to state his position as he prefers to hear the debates regarding the death penalty first. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Sandiganbayan sides with Enrile on pork barrel case

Maris Federez   •   April 30, 2019

The Sandiganbayan has ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to produce the evidence against former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on the P172.8 million plunder case against him.

This is in response to the petition filed by the camp of former lawmaker before the Sandiganbayan Third Division to order the Ombudsman “to produce and permit the copying or photographing of any and all documents” as specified in the bill of particulars.

They argued that they need time “to study and consider the materials before trial is held.”

In its 6-page resolution issued on April 24, the graft court granted Enrile’s motion.

The Sandiganbayan said, “Enrile has absolute control on how to go about his defense. If in his mind, he needed to inspect or copy pieces of evidence [not privileged] which are material for him to make an intelligent defense, then he is allowed by the court to ask for the inspection or production of these documents.”

The court cited Section 10, Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which allows the former Senate president to avail this remedy, considering the prosecution made use of government resources to prepare its case.

Therefore, on the argument that the request is equivalent to premature presentation of evidence, the court said “Ombudsman prosecutors were wrong to call Enrile’s motion premature.

The Sandiganbayan, however, said the scope of the evidence that Enrile may access is only limited to documents related to the itemized charges against him.

Enrile is accused of pocketing some P172.8 million of his pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by channeling the money to the fake nongovernment organizations of convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles.

He was initially detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City but was later released by the court on humanitarian grounds considering that he is already 95 years old.

Associate Justice Ronald Moreno wrote the resolution, with the concurrence of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez.  –Maris Federez

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.