Bong Revilla not allowed to attend daughter’s graduation
The Sandiganbayan First Division Friday refused to allow detained Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. to attend the graduation of her daughter amid his detention for plunder over alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
The court took a different position from the antigraft Fifth Division which allowed detained Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada to attend the graduation of his son.
In its resolution, the court said it cannot allow Revilla to visit his daughter Loudette even with his defense lawyers saying it is for the child and not for Revilla.
The court added that allowing Revilla would make a mockery of the justice system, especially since Revilla had been denied bail from plunder due to strong evidence of guilt.
“The Court is not inclined at this time to treat as exceptional circumstance the commencement exercises of his daughter in Muntinlupa. To the mind of this court, allowing accused Revilla to attend the graduation of his daughter will not only set a bad precedent, but will likewise be regarded as a mockery of the administration of justice,” the court’s resolution released Friday said
“As to the argument raised by Atty. (Keith) Pioquinto during the hearing… that the request is being made for the sake of the daughter, suffice it to state that the court cannot grant relief to a person who is not a party to this case,” it added.
In his motion, Revilla pleaded for the “compassion and understanding” of the court to allow him to attend the graduation rites of his daughter Ma. Fraznel Loudette Bautista at De La Salle Zobel in Muntinlupa from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 28.
“As a testament of her diligence and hard work as a student, Revilla was informed by his wife, Congresswoman Lani Mercado Revilla, that their daughter, Loudette, will receive the following awards: St. Mutien Marie Award, St. La Salle Award, and Alfonso Yuchengco National Discipline Award,” the motion said.
Revilla said he does not want to abuse the compassion of the court when it already allowed him to visit his son Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla when the latter was hospitalized supposedly for accidental shooting in the chest.
“As a proud father, Senator Revilla would want to share the momentous occasion with his daughter for his very important educational achievement and special milestone in her life,” the motion said.
The court stressed that Revilla cannot be granted the “full enjoyment of his rights” especially since his bail was denied due to strong evidence of guilt.
The court added, however, that it will not hesitate to grant Revilla’s motion for leave in “exceptional circumstances” like going to the hospital for checkups or visiting a loved one in the hospital.
Government lawyers opposed Revilla’s request, saying the senator cannot be granted privileges because he was already denied bail by the court due to strong evidence of guilt.
In their comment opposition to the motion, government lawyers said allowing him to attend his daughter’s graduation “will grant him a special privilege that is not accorded to an ordinary prisoner…”
It will also “unduly create an impression to the public that accused Revilla, being a high-ranking public official, is a favored detainee.”
“It is precisely for this reason that the Fifth Division of this Honorable Court earned the ire of the public when it granted a similar motion filed by Senator Jinggoy Estrada and allowed the latter to attend the graduation ceremonies of his son,” the comment said.
Revilla filed the motion days after the court allowed his co-accused Jinggoy Estrada to attend the graduation of his son Julian Emilio at OB Montessori.
The court allowed Estrada to attend his son’s graduation because the child may be traumatized due to the absence of his father. “We’re not doing this for Senator Estrada. We’re doing this for the child,” Fifth Division chair Associate Justice Roland Jurado has said.
Estrada and Revilla are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for plunder by pillaging their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) through ghost projects for kickbacks. Detained in the hospital for plunder is Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. ID
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