It’s final: SC denies Revilla plea to junk P224-M plunder case
The Supreme Court (SC) has denied with finality the bid of former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. for the dismissal of a P224-million plunder case against him in connection with the anomalous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
During Tuesday’s en banc (full court) session, the high court affirmed its Dec. 6, 2016 decision that agreed to the findings of probable cause by the Office of the Ombudsman.
“The Court had ruled to dismiss the petitions for lack of merit, (affirmed) the findings of probable cause and (directed) the Sandiganbayan, as the trial court to commence/continue all necessary proceedings with deliberate dispatch,” the SC said.
Revilla, in his petition, sought to nullify the findings of probable cause by the Ombudsman that led to the filing of charges against him.
He said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the joint resolution dated March 28, 2014 that found probable cause to charge him with plunder.
He added that his rights to due process have been violated when the Ombudsman denied his request that he be given copies of evidence against him so he can properly air his side.
“The Ombudsman violated Senator Revilla’s fundamental Constitutional rights to due process and to confront the accusations against him. Such rights are not mere rights ‘he believed in’ but are rights that are guaranteed in the Philippine constitution,” Revilla’s pleading stated.
Revilla also argued that the Ombudsman had no basis to charge him with plunder, citing the case of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada where the anti-graft court held that, in order to be held liable for the crime of plunder, it must be shown that the public officer amassed ill-gotten wealth worth at least P50 million.
“Indeed, the assailed resolutions do not even have a proof that Senator Revilla has the qualifying amount of P50 million in his possession or in his bank account, much less proof that any money that is in his possession has been acquired unlawfully,” the petition stated.
Thirteen Justices voted against his petition. Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. dissented while Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza inhibited from the case.
Aside from Revilla, the SC also dismissed with finality the motions for reconsideration filed by his co-accused Janet Lim Napoles, Mario Relampagos, Atty. Richard Cambe and John Raymund De Asis./rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.