FILE PHOTO: Former senator Jinggoy Estrada
QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Former senator Jinggoy Estrada couldn’t be happier for his friend former senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr.
On Friday (December 7), the Sandiganbayan acquitted Revilla of plunder charges in line with the multi-billion Priority Development Assessment Fund (PDAF) or ‘pork barrel’ scam in which Estrada was a co-accused.
Estrada said he was speechless as he personally heard the decision during the promulgation of the case.
Now that his good friend is a free man, he only has one advise for Revilla.
“Walang nararapat na salita para i-express iyong nararamdaman ko ngayon. Spend more time with his family dahil apat na taon din siya nakulong and we’ll hit the campaign trail soon,” he said.
Estrada is on temporary liberty after posting P1.33-M bail in September 2017. The anti-graft court said that though they found irregularities in the disbursement of Estrada’s PDAF, there is no strong evidence to show that he is a main plunderer.
Along with Estrada, another co-accused former senator Juan Ponce Enrile was granted bail due to old age. Enrile was then 92-years-old.
Despite Revilla’s victory in the case, legal expert and dean of San Beda College of Law, Atty. Ranhilio Aquino, explained that though the three senators – Revilla, Estrada, and Enrile – were all accused in the same plunder case, the anti-graft court’s decision may still vary.
“Cases are decided on their own merits so I’m sure that the courts will decide on the merits of each case. The issue of one does not necessarily affect the other cases,” Aquino clarified.
Also in some cases, Aquino noted, that despite the acquittal, the court still demands the suspect to pay for his civil liability such in the case of Revilla wherein the court requires them to return a total of P124-M to the national treasury.
“Criminally you need proof beyond reasonable doubt. Civilly, you only need preponderance of evidence so mas mababa ang standard of proof for civil cases,” he explained further.
Still, Estrada said he has high hopes that his case will yield the same results as that of Revilla.
For now, he leaves it to the court to decide.– Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)
Malacañang respects anti-graft court’s acquittal of Revilla in plunder case
FILE PHOTO: Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
MANILA, Philippines — The court has spoken, and as its co-equal branch in government, Malacañang abides by the decision of Sandiganbayan anti-graft court to acquit former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. of plunder charges, and convict his former staff, Richard Cambe and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in relation to the pork barrel scam.
This was the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on the recent ruling of Sandiganbayan on the plunder case of Revilla, Napoles and Cambe in connection with the alleged misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Panelo added that the judiciary performed its constitutional duty of delivering justice.
“While justice grinds so slow most of the time, it does grind, and when it stops it renders a verdict that is exacting immutable,” he said.
Panelo assured that the Executive Branch will continue to respect the independence of the judiciary and will “implement the final orders of the anti-graft court on the matter.”
He added that either camp may still file an appeal and “pursue remedies available under our procedural laws.”
“In any event, this administration takes stock of the lessons learned from cases involving unconstitutional discretionary funds and has implemented measures to ensure the integrity of the national budget and its proper utilization for our people,” Panelo said. — UNTV News & Rescue
Sandiganbayan acquits Bong Revilla; convicts Janet Napoles over pork barrel scam
FILE PHOTO: Former Senator Ramon ” Bong” Revilla Jr.
QUEZON CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – After four and a half years in jail, former Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. on Friday (December 7) walked free after the Sandiganbayan acquitted him of plunder in line with the P10-B ‘pork barrel’ scam.
Meanwhile, the anti-graft court’s Special Division convicted alleged ‘pork barrel’ queen and mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and Revilla’s former aide Richard Cambe.
Revilla’s case was considered the first among the cases on the alleged misuse of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Along with his former colleagues former Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, Revilla was accused of amassing P224-M worth of kickbacks from Napoles during his time as a senator in exchange for funneling millions from his ‘pork barrel’ to Napoles’ ‘bogus’ non-governmental organizations (NGO).
Among those who voted for his acquittal were Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg; Edgardo Caldona; Georgina Dumpit-Hidalgo.
Meanwhile, Associate Justices Efren De La Cruz and Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta voted for conviction.
In July 2016, Enrile was granted bail due to his health condition, being 92 years old then . Estrada was granted bail in September 2017 because the court said: “There is no strong evidence to show that he is a main plunderer” though the evidence shows some “glaring irregularities” in the disbursement of his PDAF.
Revilla was the first to be cleared of plunder among the three former senators. However, he is not yet cleared of graft charges. After the promulgation, he proceeded to post bail of P480,000 for 16 counts of graft pending before the Sandiganbayan.
Revilla thanked all his supporters because finally “the truth has come out.” He said he will proceed to a church and pay respect to his mother’s grave before he visits his father, Ramon Revilla Sr.
Revilla is running for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.
– Marje Pelayo |UNTV News & Rescue
Sandiganbayan to rule on PDAF case vs. ex-Sen. Revilla on December 7
FILE PHOTO: Former Senator Bong Revilla Jr.
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan First Division is set to rule on the plunder case related to the pork barrel scam against former Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. on December 7.
The promulgation of the decision comes four years after the case was filed against Revilla.
The former lawmaker has been facing plunder and graft charges since 2014 for allegedly conspiring with Janet Lim Napoles in funneling millions of pesos in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her fake non-governmental organizations in exchange for kickbacks.
His cases were filed along with those against former senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile who are both out on bail.
Other corruption cases against former and current lawmakers relating to the alleged scam are pending at the anti-graft court.
The decision on Revilla’s plunder case will be the first to come out among pork barrel scam cases. — UNTV News & Rescue