Revilla seeks termination of evidence from alleged ghost beneficiaries
The defense lawyers of former Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. have asked the Sandiganbayan to terminate the presentation of the prosecution’s evidence involving the alleged ghost project beneficiaries.
Former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza led Revilla’s defense lawyers in filing a motion on the further presentation of evidence of the same nature, asking the court to terminate the prosecution’s presentation of testimonies of alleged ghost beneficiaries of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Revilla’s defense counsels instead asked the prosecution to present “other evidence of a different nature which it believes is essential to complete its evidence against accused Revilla.”
The defense filed the motion following the prosecution’s presentation of evidence involving the testimonies of former local government officials who denied receiving livelihood and agricultural kits from the pork barrel funds of Revilla, to prove the allegation of ghost projects.
Revilla’s lawyers said the termination of the presentation of evidence involving the alleged ghost project beneficiaries would speed up the trial proper.
They cited the rules of the court on the court’s power to stop further evidence, which states that “the court may stop the introduction of further testimony upon any particular point when the evidence upon it is already so full that more witnesses to the same point cannot be reasonably expected to be additionally persuasive.”
This rule applies in Revilla’s case because the testimonies on alleged ghost projects are “cumulative or corroborative in nature” and “may not be reasonably expected to be additionally persuasive,” the motion stated.
“While even application of the above rule will not provide a basis for the predictability of the end of the period for the presentation of evidence of the prosecution; applying however the rule to the evidence now being presented by the prosecution of the nature will somewhat alleviate the length of trial and increasing injury to the accused of his detention,” the motion read.
“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that the presentation of witnesses and/or evidence of the nature of the testimonies of the witnesses … be terminated and that the prosecution be directed to present other evidence of a different nature which it believes is essential to complete its evidence against accused Revilla,” it added.
Revilla surrendered and was detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in 2014 for plunder for allegedly pocketing P224.5 million in kickbacks from his PDAF in the scheme of using the pork barrel fund in ghost projects by mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. JE
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