Bong Revilla camp protests presentation of witnesses of ‘ghost’ projects
Former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. continued to protest state prosecutors’ insistence in trying to prove that hundreds of millions of government funds credited to Revilla’s then pork barrel were lost to nonexistent projects.
Lawyer Estelito Mendoza, who recently joined Revilla’s defense team, said whether the projects existed or not was irrelevant to the plunder case against the actor-turned-politician.
Revilla, according to Mendoza, was on trial for allegedly getting kickbacks in exchange for endorsing bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) formed by alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Mendoza said his client was not on trial for failure to implement projects. Revilla allegedly received P224 million in kickbacks for endorsing Napoles NGOs as pork project recipients.
State prosecutors had been presenting local government officials as witnesses to the nonexistence of projects that Napoles’ NGOs got allegedly with the help of Revilla.
At the resumption of hearing at the Sandiganbayan’s First Division on Thursday, Mendoza asked the court to stop the prosecution’s presentation of witnesses on the nonexistence of the projects. Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, presiding over the division, rejected the motion.
All the hassle on the presentation of witnesses, however, turned out to be over nothing. The hearing was suspended because none of the prosecution’s witnesses was present.
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