The prosecution is asking the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan’s First Division to deny Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s request to let him attend the last three sessions of the Senate.
In a five-page Comment/Opposition, the prosecution pointed out that the Senate has 23 other members that the absence of one will not impede its functions.
“In other words, with all due respect, accused Revilla’s participation in the last three sessions of the Senate is neither necessary nor indispensable,” it said.
Revilla is asking the court to let him attend the last three Senate sessions on June 6 to 8 at 3 p.m. before he steps down from office, in order for him “to serve his mandate and officially conclude his duties as Senator of the Philippines.”
The defense said “he sincerely intends to complete the functions of his office, and be of continuous service to the Filipino people, whose overwhelming faith, trust and confidence elected him to said position.”
Further, Revilla’s camp said he seeks to guarantee an unimpeded transition to the 17th Congress.
But the prosecution argued that he cannot discharge his functions as a Senator while under detention.
It cited the 2000 Supreme Court (SC) case People vs. Maceda wherein the tribunal held that detainees cannot practice their profession or hold office while in detention.
Also, it cited another 2000 SC case People vs. Jalosjos wherein the High Court held, among others, that allowing the accused to attend congressional sessions and committee meeting would virtually make him a free man.
“Considering the foregoing, accused Revilla’s request should not be allowed. Indeed, to give him leave to do so would amount to giving him, though undeserved, favor over and above ordinary detainees,” the prosecution said.
Revilla is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City over a P224-million plunder case and graft charges filed against him in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
In December 2014, the anti-graft court denied his plea to let him post bail for his provisional liberty after it found that pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution for the bail hearings were strong.
Meanwhile, the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division denied for lack of merit requests of Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada for permission to leave his place of detention in order to oversee the removal of his belongings at the Senate and to be with his mother on her birthday.
Estrada is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame over plunder and graft charges filed against him also in connection with PDAF scam.
“The turnover of office equipment to the Senate property custodian and the removal of his personal equipment, documents and other belongings need not be personally attended to by accused Estrada. His Senate staff members can properly take care of all of these tasks, without his presence,” the court held in part in a resolution dated June 2 and made public on Friday.
On Estrada’s request for a four-hour pass today (June 4) from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight in order to be with his mother former Sen. Loi Ejercito Estrada on her birthday in Mandaluyong City (Metro Manila), it saw no reason to depart from its ruling last year that denied his request to attend her 85th birthday celebration.
The court quoted its June 4, 2015 ruling, “While this court does not remain insensitive to the significance entailed in celebrating family values… such fact cannot simply override, but should rather restrain, the consequences attached to a detention prisoner.”
Associate Justices Rafael Lagos, Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta and Sarah Jane Fernandez signed the ruling.