Revilla seeks Christmas furlough


Former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. asked the Sandiganbayan’s First Division to let him spend Christmas and New Year with his family in Bacoor, Cavite.

Revilla is detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Camp Crame in Quezon City on plunder and graft charges in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.

“For the past three years, accused Revilla was unable to partake in his family’s tradition of gathering every Christmas and New Year in their home in Bacoor, Cavite to celebrate mass, dine together for Noche Buena and Media Noche, and simply spend time with each other,” the defense said in a motion.

“In view of recent events, and the health conditions of his father, [former]senator [Ramon] Revilla, Sr., accused Revilla [Jr.] needs the comfort and security of his family. There is nothing more important for accused Revilla [Jr.] in these trying times than the love and support of his family,” it added.

Revilla asked the court to allow him for humanitarian considerations to be with his family from “24 December 2017 at 11 a.m. to 25 December 2017 at 8 p.m., and from 31 December 2017 at 11 a.m. to 1 January 2018 at 8 p.m.”

But the prosecution wants the court to junk Revilla’s plea.

“While the undersigned prosecutors recognize the importance of spending time with family and loved ones during the Christmas season, our existing laws and jurisprudence militate against the grant of the furlough prayed for,” the prosecution said in a comment.

“Considering the gravity of the offenses charged against him, and the current stage of the proceedings, not to mention the magnitude of the amount involved, his motion must not be granted so as not to afford him the opportunity, however remote, to escape incarceration,” it said.

Revilla Jr. is one of three former senators charged in connection with the PDAF scam.

Former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada were allowed to post bail.Their co-accused, Janet Napoles, is detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. REINA C. TOLENTINO


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