A company owned by Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado Revilla, wife of detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., was used to launder money that may have come from the latter’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, an official of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said on Thursday.
AMLC Bank Officer II Leigh Vhon Santos, who testified in Revilla’s bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan’s First Division, was referring to Nature Concepts Development and Realty Corp.
“One of the indications that Nature Concepts [Development and Realty Corp.] is a dummy corporation is that it has no legitimate business, and is being only used for money laundering,” Santos told the court.
According to him, Nature Concepts had an unsubstantial capital but it received P27.745 million through deposits done “at the proximate time Cambe received cash from Luy, and during the period when it [company]apparently has no operations. Also, Revilla and his wife transferred funds to Nature Concepts totaling P16,000,000.”
Richard Cambe is Revilla’s staff. According to pork scam witness Benhur Luy, it was Cambe who picked up the senator’s kickbacks from the JLN office. JLN stands for Janet Lim-Napoles.
But Senator Revilla insisted that his money was hard-earned and that Nature Concepts is not a dummy company.
“Saan ka naman nakakakita ng dummy corporation na pangalan ni Lani andun [Where can you find a dummy corporation with my wife’s name on it]?” he said.
“I had more than a hundred films, perhaps all had earnings. Not one of my films flopped. All that is mentioned in court, all are legitimate money that I earned. I worked hard for it for my family. Both Lani and I work,” the senator added.
Revilla is accused of amassing P224 million in kickbacks when he poured his pork barrel funds into bogus projects proposed by non-government organizations owned or controlled by Napoles, who was also charged with plunder and graft at the Sandiganbayan.
He insisted that his money did not come from the businesswoman.
“There is no bank transfer from JLN to my account. There really is no transaction from JLN to my account. Even in Cambe’s, there is none,” the senator said.
Revilla’s lawyer, Joel Bodegon, echoed the senator’s claim.
“About Nature Concepts, it cannot be a dummy because it’s the name of [Congresswoman] Lani that’s there. Transactions there are legal and legitimate, how can it be a dummy?” Bodegon said.
“Parang holding company yun eh, so ang business niya ata ay paghawak ng pera, pagbenta ng ari-arian [It’s like a holding company, its business I think is keeping money, seling pieces of property].
Senator Revilla is not even a stockholder. It’s Congresswoman Mercado’s corporation,” he added.
The AMLC earlier found that Revilla and his immediate family made deposits to their bank accounts and placed investments totaling about P87 million within a month from when Luy said Revilla allegedly received commissions.
Revilla, as well as Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, are detained at the Philippine National Police headquarters at Camp Crame in Quezon City for plunder. All three senators were accused of receiving huge pork barrel kickbacks from Napoles.