Court nixes Bong Revilla’s bid to quash plunder case
The Sandiganbayan has denied the last-minute motion of detained former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to throw out his plunder charge, calling this move a mere “afterthought.”
The Revilla camp, through defense lawyer Estelito Mendoza, informed the court during the scheduled hearing on Thursday that they intend to appeal the denial of the motion to quash the charge.
It was only on Thursday morning when the court resolved not to grant Revilla’s motion, which argues that the case information was defective and insufficient, thus violating his right to be informed of the nature of the accusations.
In a nine-page resolution, the court said the motion to quash filed through Mendoza was “a feeble attempt to make up for a lost remedy.”
The motion was only filed after Mendoza hopped on board Revilla’s defense team last month.
The court pointed out that if the charge was indeed unclear, the Revilla camp should have sought a bill of particulars before his June 26, 2014 arraignment.
The resolution noted that during arraignment, Revilla was already asked if he “understood the charge against him.” It pointed out that the lawmaker, assisted by his former lawyers Joel Bodegon and Jeffrey Zarate, answered in the affirmative and refused to enter a plea.
The court agreed with the Office of the Special Prosecutor that Revilla cannot claim that his right to be informed was violated, since he was able to take part in the case for the past two years and even petitioned for bail.
The denial of the motion to quash allows the case to proceed, but the parties would have to return to preliminary conference on March 2 and 9 to finalize the pretrial order governing the presentation of evidence.
To ensure that the trial will no longer be pushed back again, Justice Geraldine Faith Econg will personally oversee the process of threshing out which issues and evidence could be heard during the trial proper.
She said that since the court had given ample time to resolve the pending issues, “no further cancellation will be entertained.”
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