As Mendoza enters, Revilla trial postponed
A lawyer who succeeded in having former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile freed on bail despite being charged with a nonbailable crime is now in the defense team of another former senator, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who, like Enrile, is facing charges of colluding with detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to steal billions of pesos of public funds through ghost projects.
The entry of lawyer Estelito Mendoza, a former solicitor general, into Revilla’s defense panel came on the same day the antigraft court Sandiganbayan decided to reset the start of Revilla’s trial to Feb. 9.
The Revilla camp expressed lament over the delay in the start of trial.
“Seems like it will take longer,” Revilla said in reaction to the postponement. “It will go on longer,” said Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado, Revilla’s wife.
Detained with Revilla is Richard Cambe, his former chief of staff who had been charged with serving as the go-between for the former senator and Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
The trial, which was supposed to start Thursday, was moved after the court decided that it needed to finalize the pre-trial order, which had an 830-page draft. The pre-trial order would govern weekly court proceedings.
It took the Sandiganbayan’s first division, chaired by Justice Efren dela Cruz, only 30 minutes to postpone the start of trial./rga