Revilla’s handwriting expert paid P200,000 to be witness
MANILA, Philippines–A handwriting expert was paid P200,000 to serve as the witness for the bail motion of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. from plunder over the pork barrel scam, the Sandiganbayan learned on Thursday.
The 79-year-old Desiderio Pagui, a former document examiner of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), took the witness stand and admitted that he was paid P200,000 in professional fee for the case.
Pagui had told the court that Revilla’s signatures on the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) documents were forged.
After the hearing, Revilla said the expert was not paid to make lies in court.
“The professional fee was paid for his expertise. Hindi para magsinungaling siya (Not for him to lie),” Revilla said.
Prosecutor Joefferson Torribio questioned the credibility of the witness because of the payment.
“P200,000 is a lot of money. All of these must be considered,” he said after the hearing.
During the hearing, Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, who is part of the prosecution panel, questioned the integrity of the witness.
Justiniano said Pagui during his stint in the NBI once signed a document even though he did not agree with the report.
“You can’t rely on the findings of a so-called expert who at one point in time signed a report when he didn’t agree with it,” Torribio said.
Revilla faces plunder and graft charges for his alleged involvement in the scheme of diverting his PDAF to ghost projects under the scheme of Janet Lim-Napoles.
Revilla is detained for plunder at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center with fellow lawmaker Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada. Another co-accused Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, meanwhile, is under hospital detention. Napoles is also locked up at the Camp Bagong Diwa female ward.