Bong Revilla’s aide received kickbacks, court told
MANILA, Philippines–Another whistle-blower on Thursday testified in the Sandiganbayan that a former aide of detained Sen. Bong Revilla received “rebates,” or kickbacks, on behalf of the senator for funneling his pork barrel allotments to the spurious foundations of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Merlina Sunas, who had worked for Napoles for 12 years, also told the antigraft court’s First Division that she personally handed at least P15 million cash to lawyer Richard Cambe, Revilla’s former political officer.
Taking the witness stand at the hearing of Revilla’s bail petition, Sunas corroborated the previous testimony of principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy that Cambe had frequented the office of the Napoles-owned JLN Corp. in an upscale condominium building in Pasig City to collect the kickbacks of the legislator.
However, the defense counsels were able to draw out several “material inconsistencies” in Sunas’ sworn affidavits and her open court testimony.
During the cross-examination by Cambe’s lawyer, Michael Ancheta, Sunas admitted that a portion of her Nov. 5, 2013, affidavit implicating then Bataan Rep. and now Budget Secretary Florencio Abad in Napoles’ anomalous projects from 1997 to 1999 was not true.
Answering questions from Dennis Buenaventura, one of Napoles’ counsels, she confirmed that she mentioned in her Sept. 12, 2013, affidavit that it was in 2011 when she personally gave P10 million cash to Cambe.
But during her testimony, the witness claimed she actually gave money to Revilla’s aide twice in 2006 and 2012. She said she also personally saw Luy and Napoles hand over cash to Cambe sometime in 2006 and 2008.
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