It’s useless to suspend me from Senate–Revilla
MANILA, Philippines–From his detention, Sen. Bong Revilla is seeking the reversal of his suspension from the Senate, calling it “useless” and “premature.”
The Sandiganbayan antigraft court ordered Revilla’s suspension from office for 90 days after he was indicted for plunder in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Revilla, held in the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, said the Sandiganbayan First Division’s July 31 order suspending him failed to recognize that the validity of the charges against him was still in question after he filed a petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court.
Deprived of representation
In his motion for reconsideration, Revilla said the antigraft court erred in granting the Ombudsman’s motion to suspend him from office since this “unduly deprives the Filipino people of their representation in (the) Senate.”
“With all due respect, it is premature and without basis at this point for the honorable court to suspend Senator Revilla… as the validity of the information against him has not yet been resolved with finality,” the six-page motion said.
“Truly, Senator Revilla, being an accused, has the right to challenge the validity of the information filed against him, including the criminal proceedings which led to the filing of such information,” it added.
In the motion, which his lawyers filed on Monday, Revilla also said that stripping him of his functions as an elected public official would violate his rights and “render nugatory” his pending motion in the Supreme Court.
In seeking Revilla’s suspension, state prosecutors had argued that Republic Act No. 7080 clearly stated that a public official facing trial should be suspended, “to prevent the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance, tamper with documentary evidence, and intimidate or influence witnesses in the case.”
In its decision suspending Revilla and his aide, lawyer Richard Cambe, the Sandiganbayan First Division said: “In view of the arraignment of the accused and the validity of the information in the instant case no longer in question, and invoking the clear mandate of the law, the suspension of both accused pending litigation is now mandatory.”
‘Purpose only to harass’
Revilla, in his motion, said he could not harass witnesses or tamper with the evidence since he was locked up. He said that even when he was still in office and before he was arrested, government prosecutors were not prevented from gathering evidence against him.
“Thus, it renders all the more futile and pointless to suspend Senator Revilla from office now when the purposes for the suspension are not only unnecessary but irrelevant,” the motion said.
“Truth be told, there could be no noble purpose for suspending Senator Revilla from office but to harass him,” it added.
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