MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 1st Division denied the motion to defer proceedings filed by former Sen. Bong Revilla while he waits for a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court on his plunder case in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.
In open court, 1st Division Chair Efren Dela Cruz ordered Revilla and his co-accused Atty. Richard Cambe and Janet Lim Napoles to take their turn in the presentation of evidence.
The motion to defer proceedings was filed by Revilla’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza after failing to get a TRO from the SC before the February 15 deadline set by the Sandiganbayan.
In the motion that was denied, Mendoza noted that they have yet to receive information from the SC on their petition for certiorari asking for a halt in the Sandiganbayan proceedings as well as the liberty of Revilla.
“Not having received any information, undersigned counsel wrote Atty. Felipa Anaman, the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, for information on any action taken by the Supreme Court on his Petition for Certiorari in GR No. 236174 particularly on accused Revilla’s motions for issuance of temporary restraining order on the Sandiganbayan from hearing the case of accused Revilla,” Mendoza said in the motion.
With the denial of the motion, Revilla, Cambe and Napoles were ordered to present evidence but failed to do so as they were not prepared to present their first witnesses.
Revilla’s other counsel, Atty. Reody Anthony Balisi, also told the court that they are not prepared to present their witnesses in the succeeding trial dates as well, on February 20, 22 and 27.
The court then decided to set the next hearing on March 6 for the presentation of defense witnesses, but the lost four days will be deducted from the agreed upon 60 hearing days reserved for the defense.
Mendoza however is also hoping that before March 6, the SC will release a TRO against the Sandiganbayan.
“That is our hope, our expectation,” Mendoza said.