On eve of trial, Bong Revilla seeks dismissal of plunder case
Former legislator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. asked the antigraft Sandiganbayan court on Wednesday to dismiss his plunder case citing inadequacy of the charge sheet, in a last ditch effort to avoid becoming the first senator to be tried over the pork barrel scam.
Revilla filed a 31-page motion to quash the case, arguing that the court’s First Division should cancel the hearing scheduled on Thursday because his constitutional right was violated when he was not “informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.”
“The inadequacy of the allegations of the information…
is hardly disputable,” the motion read.
He said the information filed by state prosecutors in June 2014 was “a bundle of ‘conclusions of law’” that lacked the facts or acts constituting a case for plunder.
Revilla’s motion stated that the charge sheet did not contain the “overt or criminal acts” that he allegedly committed to obtain P224.5-million in supposed kickbacks.
He stressed that his alleged endorsement of the nongovernment organizations supposedly controlled by Janet Lim-Napoles was not a criminal act described under the plunder law.
“Too often overlooked is the requirement that the ‘ill-gotten wealth’ must be amassed, accumulated or acquired ‘through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as described in Section 1(d) [of Republic Act No. 7080],’” the motion read.
“That endorsement…is not among the overt or criminal acts described in Section 1(d) of RA 7080 which, if in a ‘combination or series,’ is the ‘heart of the Plunder Law,’” it added.
The issue he raised was similar to that pursued by another former opposition senator, Juan Ponce Enrile, for the past two years.
Revilla’s motion quoted entire segments of the Supreme Court’s August 2015 decision to grant Enrile’s petition for prosecutors to clarify the charges through a bill of particulars.
The Supreme Court ruling had found the plunder accusations against Enrile to be “indefinite or vague.” Save for the names and amounts, Revilla argued his case was basically “the same as that against Enrile.”
The move to seek the plunder case’s quash allegations came even as Revilla’s camp took part in the preparation of evidence during months of pretrial proceedings.
The first day of Revilla’s plunder trial was scheduled on Thursday. But since the motion to quash was set to be heard on the same day too, it was not immediately clear if the trial would push through.
Revilla had recently engaged the services of legal heavyweight Estelito Mendoza, who helped Enrile secure the bill of particulars ruling as well as his release on bail on the grounds of humanitarian consideration.
The actor-politician, 50, has been charged for allegedly receiving P224.5 million in kickbacks by diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to fake foundations allegedly controlled by businesswoman Napoles.
He and another former actor-politician, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, have been detained at the PNP Custodial Center pending trial for the nonbailable plunder charges since June 2014.
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