The Sandiganbayan can push through with the trial of former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. with the dismissal by the Supreme Court (SC) of his petition to junk the plunder case filed against him.
The high court, through a 13-1 vote, threw out Revilla’s petition for certiorari, giving credence to the findings of the anti-graft court that there is probable cause to warrant a full blown trial.
Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. was the lone dissenter while Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza inhibited himself because he handled the case when he was the Solicitor General.
The SC justices said there was no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the Sandiganbayan when it ruled against Revilla.
The former lawmaker was charged with plunder and graft by the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing P224 million in kickbacks from the illegal use of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
Revilla is one of three former senators charged in connection with the alleged anomalous use of their pork barrel.
Former senator Juan Ponce Enrile gained his temporary freedom in August last year when the Supreme Court allowed him to post bail on humanitarian grounds. Former senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
The Sandiganbayan’s Furst Division concluded the pre-trial of Revilla’s case in late October and set the start of his trial on Jan. 12, 2017.