FORMER Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. is asking permission from the Sandiganbayan’s First Division to file a demurrer to evidence in the P224-million plunder case he is facing, along with several other individuals in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” scam.
The trial started in June and the prosecution finished presenting its evidence in October.
A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss in which a case is submitted for judgment based only on the prosecution’s evidence that the defense believes does not warrant conviction. If a demurrer to evidence is denied, the defense would have to take its turn to present its evidence.
“Accused Revilla respectfully submits, as shown hereunder, that likewise the testimonial evidence presented by the prosecution both at the bail hearing and the trial proper have no probative value to prove, much less beyond reasonable doubt, that accused committed the offense of plunder as provided by law and as charged in the Information,” the defense — which has argued that the documentary evidence presented by the prosecution “do not prove the elements of plunder as charged in the Information” — said in part in a motion filed on November 28.
Information is charge sheet.
“What is clearly evident, even as the prosecution was presenting its evidence, rather than buttressing and filling-up the inadequacies of the evidence presented at the bail hearing, understandably because such proceedings are summary in character, have instead confirmed the gross and patent inadequacy of the evidence that Revilla has committed all the elements of plunder as provided by R.A. No. 7080 and alleged in the Information, meriting the peremptory dismissal of the instant case,” the defense also said in part.
Republic Act (RA) 7080 is the law which defines and punishes plunder. The threshold amount for plunder is P50 million.
Revilla is one of three former senators — the other two were Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada — whom the Office of the Ombudsman charged along with Janet Lim-Napoles and other individuals before the Sandiganbayan in 2014 in connection with the PDAF scam.
The Ombudsman filed the P224-million plunder case and 16 counts of graft against Revilla; a P183-million plunder case and 11 counts of graft against Estrada, and; a P172-million plunder case and 15 counts of graft against Enrile.
Revilla is detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
On September 16, Estrada was released from detention after the Sandiganbayan’s Special Fifth Division, voting 3-2, allowed him to post bail over the plunder case.
Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds in 2015. The cases filed against him are pending before the Sandiganbayan’s Third Division.
Napoles is detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.