Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. was a no-show at his plunder trial before the Sandiganbayan First Division on Thursday, June 22, having been confined for hypertension at a hospital in Taguig City since Tuesday.
Defense lawyers Reody Anthony Balisi and Ramon Esguerra told the court that they were informed on Wednesday that Revilla was confined at the St. Luke’s Medical Center and would be discharged “any time” Thursday.
Asked in an interview when Revilla was confined, Balisi told reporters: “We were informed yesterday but apparently, based on the certificate of confinement, June 20.” This was the second day of Revilla’s visit to his ailing father at the hospital.
Revilla, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada; businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, and several other individuals, have been tagged in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam. He has denied his involvement in the alleged transfer of multimillion-peso “pork” funds to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) formed by Napoles, the alleged mastermind.
In the trial Wednesday morning, the prosecution presented as witness Marissa Santos who was chief administrative officer of the Department of Budget and Management’s Central Records Division.
As of posting time, the trial is ongoing.
Revilla and Estrada are detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, while Enrile is out on bail after the Supreme Court granted his bail petition on humanitarian grounds.
Revilla’s co-accused were his former aide Richard Cambe (detained), Napoles (detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa), John Raymund De Asis (at large), and Ronald John Lim (at large).