MANILA - The Ombudsman prosecution panel is asking the Sandiganbayan to suspend from office Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Atty. Richard Cambe due to the plunder cases filed before the Sandiganbayan.
The panel said under the plunder law (Republic Act No. 7080, as amended), any public officer against whom a criminal prosecution under a valid information for plunder is pending in court shall be suspended from office.
"Jurisprudence sets the period of suspension pendente lite at 90 days," the Ombudsman said in a statement.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, meanwhile, defended the prosecution panel’s earlier move to amend the Informations for plunder, stating that the amendments were a matter of form and did not change the theory of the case.
“The prosecutors were just being thorough,” Ombudsman Morales explained, citing the rule that an information may be amended as a matter of right before arraignment.
“The statements of the defense are mere speculations that are favorable to their client,” she replied when asked to comment on the opinions that the Informations appear to be weak or were hurriedly prepared.
Revilla, a former governor of Cavite, is facing plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for his alleged role in the P10 billion pork barrel scam with Janet Lim Napoles.
He is accused of amassing P242 million from his Priority Development Assistance Funds.
He is the first politician detained over a massive corruption scandal that has rocked the nation.
Last week, Sen. Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada was also detained on similar charges.