MANILA, Philippines— The Sandiganbayan has rejected the motion of detained former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. to seek an outright dismissal of the plunder case filed against him for his alleged involvement in the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), or the so-called “pork barrel.”
The anti-graft court said it found “no compelling reason to reconsider and set aside” its Dec. 7, 2017 decision to junk Revilla’s motion for leave to file a demurrer to evidence.
In his motion, Revilla questioned the decision of the Sandiganbayan, saying it reversed his constitutional right to be presumed innocent.
Sandiganbayan First Division Chairman Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz ordered Revilla and his lawyers to “present further evidence” as the anti-graft court denied his motion for leave.Revilla said the anti-graft court’s order does not mean it finds the prosecution’s evidence “sufficient.”
He added that the prosecution failed to prove that he received a single peso of the alleged PHP224-million “kickbacks” and commissions he is accused of receiving from alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.Napoles is the alleged brains behind the PHP10-billion pork barrel and the PHP900-million Malampaya Fund scams.
However, the anti-graft court said the contents of Revilla’s motion for reconsideration were just a mere reiteration of his arguments in the motion for leave.
Likewise, the anti-graft court denied the same motions of his former aide, Richard Cambe, and Napoles.”The arguments set forth by the accused-movants in their separate motions for reconsideration and those made in open court are a mere reiteration and rehash of those contained in their motions for leave of court to file demurrer to evidence and those already advanced by them during the oral argument on the said motions,” the three-page Sandiganbayan resolution said.
The anti-graft court added it stands firm on its belief that all the evidence presented by the prosecution against the three “appear to be sufficient for purposes of denying the accused’s motions.”Nonetheless, the Sandiganbayan said Revilla, Cambe, and Napoles could still file a demurrer pursuant to Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure.A demurrer to evidence is a motion seeking to dismiss a case on the ground of weak evidence from the prosecution.-PNA