Revilla closed 5 bank accounts since pork scam scandal
The Sandiganbayan has secured a measly P290,000 of the P224.5 million it sought to freeze in the assets and bank accounts of detained-Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., who is accused of plunder in connection with the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
In a report submitted to the antigraft court’s First Division, the court sheriff said it was able to receive replies from the banks handling the 26 known accounts of Revilla and his wife, Cavite Representative Lani Mercado-Revilla.
Of these, Revilla closed 11 accounts between 2009 and 2014.
According to the sheriff, six accounts at the Asiatrust Bank were closed on July 28, 2009.
Five of the accounts were closed by Revilla and Mercado after news of the pork barrel scam broke. These are two Asia United Bank accounts which were closed on August 11, 2014; a CTBC Bank trust account of Mercado (Oct. 9, 2013); a CTBC trust account jointly owned by the couple (September 30, 2013), and a joint CTBC time deposit account (September 16, 2013).
The garnished monies totaling P291,205.62 are a small fraction of the P224.5 million in Revilla’s purported commissions from pork barrel kickbacks as alleged in the financial records of principal whistleblower Benhur Luy.
According to the report, the court was able to garnish deposits in five bank accounts, the biggest of which had P190,000 and the smallest P938.
The accounts had the following amounts: a Bank of Commerce account with P190,145.57; a Land Bank of the Philippines account at the Senate extension office, P72,195.17; two Metrobank Filinvest and Timog accounts worth P3,319.92 and P938.02, and an Asia United Bank account, P24,606.94.
The report said the banks originally froze three Metrobanks accounts of Lani Revilla which contained P39,192.66, but the garnishment was lifted because the accounts were not joint accounts with her husband. These were three Metrobank Filinvest and Timog accounts containing P28,400.24, P10,000, and P792.42.
The report also indicated that there were no records of four supposed accounts of Revilla at Asiatrust Bank and another one at CTBC that the prosecution wanted frozen.
The report appeared to indicate that Revilla withdrew funds from two accounts before the garnishment was ordered.
Revilla reportedly had an account at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Bacoor, Cavite, Business Center, but it showed a zero balance as of Feb. 9, 2015, or the date of the receipt of the garnishment order.
It also said the detained senator had a Philippine National Bank account but it supposedly had no garnishable deposits, moneys, shares, stocks and other personal properties at the time of the garnishment order.
Besides the bank accounts, the court was also able to serve the notices of garnishment to secure Revilla’s shares in GMA Network, Palms Country Club, Alabang Country Club, Fairways and Bluewater Resort Golf and Country Club, and San Miguel Corp.
The court was also able to attach to the writ Revilla’s 239,820 hectares of land in Tanay, Rizal, a 945 hectare residential land in Ayala Alabang (with market value of P3.742 million), and three real properties in Cavite.
The court granted the prosecution’s request for a preliminary writ of attachment to prevent Revilla from disposing of his wealth while the proceedings were ongoing. The garnishment order has an effect of a temporary freeze order.
The writ would enable government to recover damages if it gets a favorable ruling from the court.
In its request for garnishment, the prosecutors said the court should temporarily freeze Revilla’s assets especially as he has the supposed tendency to hide his wealth by closing some of his bank accounts.
“The accused is not an ordinary person. He has the means and capacity to conceal, remove or dispose of the monies and properties he unlawfully acquired. It may well be observed that the accused has abused the ordinary Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) processes to cloak with a mystique of legality their nefarious scheme of siphoning public monies for their own,” the prosecution said.
Revilla is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center as he faces plunder charges. Also detained for plunder are alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, and former representatives Rizalina Seachon Lanete and Edgar Valdez.
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