Prosecution: Revilla 'civilly liable' in 'pork barrel' scam despite acquittal

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2019 03:35 PM

Former senator Bong Revilla talks to the media during a press conference in Makati on December 13, 2018, days after his acquittal from plunder charges. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Government prosecutors have insisted that former senator Bong Revilla should pay P124.5 million to the government as civil liabiity along with his ex-senate staff Richard Cambe and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. 

This even while the Sandiganbayan acquitted Revilla as it found Cambe and Napoles guilty over diverting the former lawmaker's discretionary funds. 

In a motion for execution of judgment filed before the Sandiganbayan Special 1st Division, the prosecution noted that in the dispositive portion of the decision, Revilla was mentioned along with Napoles and Cambe.

The next paragraph then referred to the “accused” who were “solidarily and jointly liable to return to the national treasury the amount of P124,500,000.”

“Had the court wanted to exclude Revilla, it could have simply and easily named Cambe and Napoles in the third paragraph, as it did in the first paragraph. It would not have used the collective term “accused” without exception and distinction,” the prosecution led by Deputy Special Prosecutor Manuel Soriano said.

The prosecution also cited several Sandiganbayan decisions where specific names were mentioned for cases involving several accused individuals. 

It also cited Supreme Court decisions that said an acquittal does not free an accused from civil liability.

“Courts can acquit an accused on reasonable doubt but still order payment of civil damages in the same case. That is what the majority did in the present case. They ordered Revilla civilly liable despite his acquittal,” the prosecution said.

The prosecution also stressed that Revilla could still be held liable for “gross and inexcusable negligence” which allowed Cambe and Napoles to conspire to divert his PDAF. 

They noted that with the conviction of Napoles and Cambe, the court gave weight to the testimonies of whistle blowers Benhur Luy, Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas and Mary Arlene Baltazar.

“As then senator of the Philippines, Revilla should be held accountable to return the amount of money bled out from the coffers of the government by the scheme and scam maneuvered by a public officer under his direct supervision and control,” the prosecution said.

Revilla's camp earlier said that the former senator is not included in the order of the court for payment of civil liability.