The Sandiganbayan First Division has resumed the plunder trial of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in connection with the alleged misuse of his P224-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
In his defense on Thursday, Revilla’s lawyer tried to establish the fact that the lawmaker could earn as much from his movies, television shows and other appearances, apart from the PDAF that he has been receiving as senator.
During a cross examination, Ramon Esguerra questioned prosecution witness Junelyn Pagunsan, an associate graft investigation officer from the Office of the Ombudsman, on whether she had looked into Revilla’s other sources of income, which could approximate his PDAF, to which she said no.
“Well ang pinoint out lang ng ating lawyer doon na kumbaga kung naimbestigahan ba nila kung ilan ‘yung mga pelikulang nagawa ko…mga series…para mas klaro kung kaya ko bang kumita talaga ng ganoong amount kung mayroon man silang makita sa bank account ko…” said Revilla in an interview after he attended the second hearing on his plunder case. He was a no-show in the first for health reasons.
(“Well what our lawyer pointed out was whether the Ombudsman investigated the number of films I did . . . the series . . . so that it could determine whether I could really earn that much when it checks my bank account.)
Revilla also said that he was sad at the slow pace of the trial but was resigned to the fact that nothing could be done about it because there was a process that needed to be followed but added that it was important to stay strong.
Revilla, Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile have been charged with plunder for allegedly channelling their PDAF to bogus non-government organizations created by alleged “pork scam” mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
Estrada is detained with Revilla at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center while Enrile is out on bail for health considerations. MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO