Revilla: Unseen hands making me Palace trophy
It’s not over yet.
Detained Sen. Bong Revilla on Wednesday accused Malacañang of trying to make him its “trophy,” claiming “unseen hands” could have influenced the Sandiganbayan to throw out his bail petition.
In a statement, Revilla said he would seek reconsideration of the antigraft court’s decision on Tuesday which dashed his hopes of spending the holidays with his family.
The court also denied the similar bail petitions filed by Revilla’s coaccused—suspected pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and the senator’s former political aide Richard Cambe.
“The decision was very different from what we had expected. It’s really disheartening. Malacañang wants me to be its trophy,” Revilla said in Filipino.
“We respect the decision of the court. We have to accept it. But we see unseen hands who meddled in this case,” he added.
Revilla, who allegedly pocketed P224.5 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allotments through Napoles’ bogus foundations, said there was no probable cause to indict him for plunder and graft. He said none of the 10 witnesses that the prosecutors had presented against him testified that they handed him his supposed kickbacks from the PDAF scam.
Levito Baligod, a private complainant in the plunder case, said even if there was no witness that Revilla directly received kickbacks, testimony by a representative of the Anti-Money Laundering Council showed the dates of the purported delivery of his kickbacks were close to the time huge deposits were made to his bank accounts.
Revilla cannot argue that none saw him receive the kickbacks because it was Cambe who got them for him, Baligod said. In a conspiracy, Baligod said, the act of one is the act of all.
“Notably, Revilla never asserted in his defense that he never received any kickback through Attorney Cambe,” Baligod said.
Maintaining his innocence, Revilla said he would bring his case to the Supreme Court if the Sandiganbayan denies his appeal.
“I’m innocent of the charges against me. All the allegations against me were answered by my lawyers. That’s why I’m surprised at the court’s decision,” the senator said.
“The fight is far from over. I’m not losing hope that the court would still see the truth behind these allegations.”
Lawyer Raymond Fortun, Revilla’s spokesperson, said the senator would raise the court’s “misappreciation” of the evidence that the Office of the Ombudsman presented during the hearing.
For one, Fortun said all the prosecution witnesses admitted in open court that they did not have any personal knowledge about the supposed payoffs that Napoles gave to Revilla.
He said the court also erred when it relied on the “common appreciation” of the documents pertaining to Revilla’s pork barrel transactions than the testimony of a handwriting expert who said that Revilla’s signatures in some of the documents were fake.
The court, he added, may have also erred in relying on the contents of the external hard drive of primary whistle-blower Benhur Luy which, he said, was “unreliable and cannot be given credence.”
“We have to point out the court’s misappreciation of the prosecution evidence which became the basis of its decision not to grant bail to Senator Revilla,” Fortun said in a mobile phone interview.
“We still have a lot of hope that the court would still reconsider its ruling … The court’s opinion was only based on the evidence presented by the prosecution which are purely circumstantial,” he said.
He insisted that circumstantial evidence was not enough to win a conviction in criminal cases, adding that the court’s decision junking Revilla’s bail petition was not a “precursor” of its decision after the trial proper.
In thumbing down Revilla’s plea for his temporary freedom, the court said it was “persuaded that the prosecution has presented compelling evidence that accused Revilla amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth.”
The court said Revilla received money from Napoles and her agents through Cambe “and in those several occasions, accused Revilla and Cambe made use of their official position, authority, connections and influence.”
In its 71-page ruling, it said:
“This was established by the testimonies of the witnesses and documents they testified to which, at this stage of the proceedings, has remained unrebutted, and thus, given full faith and credence by the court.
“In fine, the prosecution has duly established that there exists strong evidence that accused Revilla, Cambe and Napoles, in conspiracy with one another, committed the capital offense of plunder … and are thus not entitled to the constitutional right to bail.” With a report from Nancy C. Carvajal
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