THE Sandiganbayan’s First Division thumbed down former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s plea to require the prosecution to identify evidence it presented to prove that its primary allegations in his plunder case were connected to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.
Revilla’s camp made the request, saying that the senator would be unable to present counter-evidence unless he is aware of the evidence presented by the prosecution.
“The Court finds it incredulous that at this advanced stage of this case in which the accused-movant has been actively participating, he still stands ignorant and oblivious of the incriminatory evidence against him, to need an extra phase in the proceedings, unsupported by the Rules of Court at that, in order to obviate an imagined burden,” the court said in a resolution promulgated on June 14.
“Suffice it to state that the records will bear out that the evidence of the prosecution is sufficiently identified and described…, for him to intelligently and accurately prepare for his defense and present counter-evidence on his behalf,” it said in part.
The court thus denied his “Urgent Motion to Require the Prosecution to Identify the Evidence, Both Testimonial and Documentary, It Has Offered and Presented to Prove the Primary Allegations of the Information to Establish the Offense of Plunder” for lack of merit.
Revilla’s camp is scheduled to present counter-evidence on June 26.
In 2014, Revilla, citing his acting career, said that he has no hidden wealth and that his money was hard-earned.
He is one of three former senators — the other two are Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada — whom the the Office of the Ombudsman charged along with Janet Lim-Napoles and other individuals before the Sandiganbayan in 2014 in connection with the PDAF scam.
The Ombudsman filed the P224-million plunder case and 16 counts of graft against Revilla; a P183-million plunder case and 11 counts of graft against Estrada; and a P172-million plunder case and 15 counts of graft against Enrile.
Revilla is detained at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City while Estrada and Enrile are out on bail.
Napoles is detained at a Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. REINA TOLENTINO
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