Bong Revilla’s escort voting opposed
State prosecutors on Tuesday opposed the request of detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. for furlough to vote in Cavite on May 9, citing security risks and an already tight police preparation on election day.
In his motion, Revilla asked the court to allow him to vote under police escort in Polling Precint No. 0469-A in Bacoor, Cavite.
Revilla said there is no special polling place at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center.
Revilla’s wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, is gunning for Bacoor mayor, while his son Jolo is seeking reelection as vice governor.
In its opposition filed before the Sandiganbayan First Division, the Office of the Special Prosecutor said Revilla does not fulfill the requirements for escorted detainee voting under a resolution issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In the Comelec resolution, a detainee voter may only vote if it is logically feasible for the police to escort the detainee to his voting precinct.
The prosecutors said the police may already be too busy to escort Revilla because of the preparations to guard all the election precincts to ensure peaceful and orderly elections.
The police may also not provide the additional personnel to escort Revilla while traveling, the prosecutors added.
Also, Revilla may be exposed to security risks and his arrival may also cause “mayhem, considering his status as a politician from Cavite and a celebrity,” the prosecutors said.
Cavite, where Revilla intends to vote, has been placed under the elections watch list of the Comelec due to the intense political rivalry there and the presence of private armed groups and communist rebels.
The prosecutors asked the court to require the Comelec and the PNP to comment on Revilla’s request, and if the agencies said Revilla’s request is not feasible, deny the motion for lack of merit.
“The safety and security of the accused, as well as the other voters, in the polling precinct is therefore a serious matter of concern that must be addressed before accused-movant may be allowed to cast his vote,” the prosecutors said.
The prosecutors added that while right to suffrage is a right under the Constitution, Revilla’s rights as a detainee are limited.
Revilla, who has been in detention since June 2014 after surrendering, faces plunder for allegedly receiving P224.5 million kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) through ghost projects implemented by accused mastermind Janet Lim Napoles’ spurious foundations.
Revilla has been denied bail. His co-accused Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada was also denied bail, while Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile was allowed to post bail by the Supreme Court for humanitarian considerations. RAM/rga
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