Bong Revilla to ask Sandiganbayan's help

by Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 06 2014 03:39 PM | Updated as of Jun 06 2014 11:41 PM

MANILA – Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. is set to ask the Sandiganbayan to suspend its proceedings in the pork barrel scam case and not issue an arrest warrant against him, his lawyer said.

Speaking to ANC, Revilla's lawyer Joel Bodegon said his client will file a motion for judicial determination of probable cause and deferment or suspension of proceedings.

Bodegon said they will submit the motion after the filing of information on the plunder and graft charges against his client and several others indicted for the scam.

''We want Sandiganbayan to look into the information filed, together with the documents that the Ombudsman will be submitting to it and look into the records, and see if there is indeed probable cause for the issuance of warrant of arrest,'' Bodegon told ANC.

''We have set out grounds why a judicial determination should be made by the Sandiganbayan."

The Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday announced that it denied the respective motions for reconsideration (MRs) of Revilla and fellow senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.

The denial of the MRs paves the way for the filing of the charges against the senators and other suspected pork barrel scam players before the Sandiganbayan.

Revilla allegedly plundered P242 million; Estrada, P183 million; and Enrile, P172 million.

Bodegon said the proceedings should be suspended because his client was not given due process during the preliminary stages of the case.

He said one of the irregularities is the Ombudsman's failure to grant Revilla's request to be provided with copies of the counter-affidavits of other respondents in the case.

''These irregularities would surely be considered by the Sandiganbayan to determine whether or not there should be basis to issue a warrant of arrest or dismiss the case,'' Bodegon said.

''Our contention, fundamentally, is there was denial of due process and the Sandiganbayan should ensure that due process is preserved and respected."

Bodegon also denied that the filing of the motion is a dilatory tactic.

''That has always been the tune that the Ombudsman has taken. The trouble is, they are the ones who have been delaying this case - by denying us access to documents that we needed in order that the side of Senator Bong Revilla is properly heard."