No dismissal for Revilla plunder case, Sandigan affirms
The Sandiganbayan has denied the plea of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to dismiss his P224.5-million plunder case for the alleged violation of his right to be informed of the accusations.
In its eight-page resolution, the antigraft court’s First Division junked Revilla’s appeal on the Feb. 23 resolution that first dismissed his motion to quash the case.
The court rejected Revilla’s contention that Republic Act No. 7080—the very plunder law itself—did not meet the constitutional requirement of informing the defendant of the nature and cause of the accusations.
Revilla’s camp, led by top defense lawyer Estelito Mendoza, claimed the law “does not give a fair warning to the world in language that the common world will understand of the acts one should commit to make him liable for plunder.”
His camp even cited how the Supreme Court was forced to refer to Congress deliberations in order to uphold the law’s constitutionality in its 2001 ruling on the legal challenge by former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
But, the court said this had no bearing on the issue of whether the plunder law could be understood by an accused.
“It is not uncommon for the Supreme Court to refer to the deliberations of Congress in determining the intention of the lawmakers, particularly if the latter intended a technical or special legal meaning to certain words used in the law,” the resolution stated.
Meanwhile, the court also rejected the contention of Revilla’s chief of staff Richard Cambe that the charge confused him because it actually accused alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles of misappropriating the funds.
The court noted that the charge sheet contained an allegation of conspiracy and sufficiently explained his participation in the alleged scheme.
“A thoughtful reassessment of the records of the case and of the questioned resolution convinces this Court that the accused’s motions lack merit,” the resolution stated.
Justice Efren N. dela Cruz penned the resolution, with the concurrence of Justices Geraldine Faith A. Econg and Bernelito R. Fernandez.
Revilla is accused of receiving P224.5 million in kickbacks in exchange for endorsing the dubious NGOs linked to alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Mendoza hopped on board his defense team only this January. The beginning of the trial has been pushed back several times, and it is currently scheduled for June 1.
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