Malacañang respects anti-graft court’s acquittal of Revilla in plunder case
admin • December 7, 2018 • 2946
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
Although Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri has announced he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic, some senators have opted not to undergo a COVID-19 test.
Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan have decided not to go through COVID-19 testing, saying they are not manifesting any symptoms and are strictly following protocols given by the DOH.
Some of their co-lawmakers have already taken the test including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino and the first two senators who initiated to undergo self-quarantine, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay.
Senator Christoper Bong Go has also undergone COVID-19 testing with President Rodrigo Duterte who came out negative. — by Harlene Delgado
The reinstatement of the death penalty may have a glimmer of hope to be passed in the Senate with a seeming majority vote.
Thirteen senators have, so far, manifested to vote for it which include Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Bong Go, Ronald Dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Aquilino Pimentel III, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino, Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano and Manny Pacquiao.
“Basta death penalty, kahit anong paraan, lethal injection , kahit ano, basta death penalty [As long as it’s death penalty, however way it is done. Lethal injection, whatever, as long as it’s death penalty],” said Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Thirteen is enough a number to have the bill passed in the higher chamber of Congress.
However, this could still narrow down as the versions they are pursuing vary, with most of them wanting to limit the imposition of the death penalty to high-level drug trafficking only.
This is in contrary to what President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing which is also to include plunder.
The senators are also divided as to how the said capital punishment must be carried out.
On the other hand, ten senators comprised of Senators Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Leila De Lima, Francis Pangilinan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Ralph Recto and Joel Villanueva have openly opposed the bill.
Senator Sonny Angara has yet to state his position as he prefers to hear the debates regarding the death penalty first. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
The Sandiganbayan has ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to produce the evidence against former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile on the P172.8 million plunder case against him.
This is in response to the petition filed by the camp of former lawmaker before the Sandiganbayan Third Division to order the Ombudsman “to produce and permit the copying or photographing of any and all documents” as specified in the bill of particulars.
They argued that they need time “to study and consider the materials before trial is held.”
In its 6-page resolution issued on April 24, the graft court granted Enrile’s motion.
The Sandiganbayan said, “Enrile has absolute control on how to go about his defense. If in his mind, he needed to inspect or copy pieces of evidence [not privileged] which are material for him to make an intelligent defense, then he is allowed by the court to ask for the inspection or production of these documents.”
The court cited Section 10, Rule 116 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which allows the former Senate president to avail this remedy, considering the prosecution made use of government resources to prepare its case.
Therefore, on the argument that the request is equivalent to premature presentation of evidence, the court said “Ombudsman prosecutors were wrong to call Enrile’s motion premature.
The Sandiganbayan, however, said the scope of the evidence that Enrile may access is only limited to documents related to the itemized charges against him.
Enrile is accused of pocketing some P172.8 million of his pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by channeling the money to the fake nongovernment organizations of convicted plunderer Janet Lim Napoles.
He was initially detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City but was later released by the court on humanitarian grounds considering that he is already 95 years old.
Associate Justice Ronald Moreno wrote the resolution, with the concurrence of Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Associate Justice Bernelito Fernandez. –Maris Federez
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