Revilla witness: Senator’s signatures forged
MANILA, Philippines—State prosecutors on Thursday rested its case in the presentation of witnesses against Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., giving way to Revilla’s defense panel to present their own.
During Revilla’s bail hearing on Thursday, the prosecution formally offered their pieces of evidence – the Commission on Audit special report on the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) transactions, the sworn affidavits of whistleblowers, the special allotment release orders (Saro) for the PDAF releases, and, more importantly, the hard disk drive of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy that contained the daily transactions with lawmakers and their respective kickbacks.
Other pieces of evidence admitted by the court were memoranda of agreements (MOAs) between the lawmaker and the implementing agencies, Revilla’s endorsement letters for the bogus non-government organizations, and project listings.
The court has also admitted the report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council on Revilla’s bank accounts, which were said to have contained unexplained wealth believed to be Revilla’s kickbacks from the scam.
The Benhur Luy files saved in the hard drive were said to be copied from accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles’ computer by Luy before he had a falling out with Napoles.
Meanwhile, Revilla’s defense counsel fielded to the witness stand Desiderio Pagui, a handwriting expert and a former National Bureau of Investigation retired chief document examiner, who testified that Revilla’s signatures in the transactions were forged
But Department of Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, a member of the prosecution, said Pagui’s findings were not cross-checked by another.
He added that Pagui mostly looked over the disbursement reports that the whistleblowers admitted to have forged.
“Regardless whether or not the signatures were fake or genuine, that is not the element of the crime but the act of repeatedly receiving commissions,” Justiniano said.
Revilla’s lawyer Joel Bodegon said their handwriting expert confirmed that principal whistleblower Benhur Luy and other witnesses forged Revilla’s signatures.
Bodegon said their expert also confirmed that the signatures in the confirmation letters, endorsement letters, among others were forged.
Meanwhile, Janet Lim-Napoles’ defense counsel will present a representative from the Bureau of Immigration to prove that the accused mastermind is out of the country at the time of the alleged receipt of commissions.
Revilla faces plunder and graft charges for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam, the purported diversion of senators’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to ghost projects for kickbacks. He is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center with fellow co-accused Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
Meanwhile, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile is in hospital detention for plunder.
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