Proceed with Bong Revilla trial, SC orders Sandigan
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Sandiganbayan to continue its trial of the P224-million plunder case against former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and his coaccused.
This after the Supreme Court en banc denied with finality the appeal of Revilla, his chief of staff Richard Cambe, pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, Napoles’ employees Ronald John Lim and John Raymund de Asis, and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos to overturn its decision two months ago denying their motion.
Revilla and his coaccused assailed the Ombudsman’s resolution declaring probable cause to charge them for looting his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by diverting the money to fake foundations and ghost projects and recipients owned by Napoles.
In its Dec. 6 decision, the Supreme Court ruled to dismiss the petition for lack of merit and affirm the Ombudsman’s finding of probable cause against Revilla and his coaccused.
“(We) direct the Sandiganbayan, as the trial court, to commence or continue all necessary proceedings in these cases with deliberate dispatch,” said the Supreme Court.
In a media briefing paper, the high court said Revilla was charged for approving the illegal disbursement of his pork barrel funds and receiving commissions or kickbacks; Cambe was charged for processing the disbursement of the funds and for getting kickbacks;
Napoles was charged as the “mastermind” of the PDAF scam, from the solicitation of funds to creating fake nongovernment organizations to drawing up spurious liquidation papers to giving kickbacks; her employees Lim and De Asis for acting as dummies in the bogus foundations, and Relampagos for acting as the “contact” of Napoles in the Department of Budget and Management.
Revilla has been under detention since June 2014 at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, along with former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada who was also charged and arrested for the pork barrel scam.
Former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile also faced the same plunder cases and was arrested in 2015 but he was freed on bail by the Supreme Court in 2015 because of poor health and old age.