The Sandiganbayan’s First Division stood pat on its ruling that denied former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s plea to dismiss a P224-million plunder case filed against him and several other individuals in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
In an eight-page resolution, the court denied for lack of merit motions for reconsideration filed by Revilla and his former aide and co-accused Richard Cambe.
Earlier, Revilla’s camp filed a motion to quash, arguing in part that the charge sheet does not adequately inform him of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.
But the court denied his plea in a nine-page resolution promulgated on February 23, wherein it said in part that “the prosecution is correct in its observation that accused Revilla was duly informed, and that he is fully aware, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him as shown by his filing of a motion for judicial determination of probable cause, which was denied by the court, by his filing of a petition for bail, his active participation at the hearing thereof, including the presentation of his own evidence during the said hearing. He was never heard to complain about being deprived of such right until the recent filing of his motion to quash.”
Revilla’s camp maintained its argument in the motion for reconsideration.
Cambe, in his motion for reconsideration, argued in part that there is no other evidence linking him to the alleged crime except for the admissions of the witnesses.
But the court held in its eight-page resolution that “this is a matter of defense, the truth of which can be best passed upon after a full-blown trial on the merits.”
“With respect to the other arguments of the accused, this court finds that they are a mere reiteration and rehashed versions of the arguments in accused Revilla’s Motion to Quash, dated February 6, 2017, and the same have already been judiciously considered by this court in its assailed resolution. Hence, there is no cogent and compelling reason to discuss the same,” it said.
Associate Justice Efren de La Cruz, who leads the court’s First Division, penned the ruling, which was concurred in by Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Bernelito Fernandez.
Revilla is one of three former senators namely, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, whom the Office of the Ombudsman charged along with Janet Lim-Napoles and several other individuals in 2014 in connection with the PDAF scam.
Estrada, who is facing a P183-million plunder case in connection with the PDAF scam, and Revilla are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City, while Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds.
Revilla was charged along with Cambe as well as Napoles, her then-employee John Raymund de Asis, and her nephew Ronald John Lim. REINA C. TOLENTINO