Ex-senators linked to 'pork barrel' scam lag in vote count


Posted at May 14 2019 08:24 AM

MANILA -- Three former senators who faced plunder charges for allegedly misusing billions of pesos in "pork barrel" or congressional funds clung to the fringes of the winners' circle, with nearly 93 percent of votes counted as of Tuesday.

Former Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla was in 12th place with 13,909,105 votes while former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada was in 15th place with 10,860,826 votes based on data from the Commission on Elections transparency server.

Revilla was acquitted while Estrada is out on bail. Former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who also posted bail, ranked 22nd with 5,083,447 votes.    

The trio was accused of pocketing kickbacks from supposed ghost projects with the help of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, who remains in detention.

Resistance to corruption is the top trait that voters looked for in candidates, according to a December 2018 survey by the Social Weather Stations. 

Revilla was accused of embezzling P224 million in discretionary funds while he was still senator. 

He was acquitted of a plunder case in last December, but prosecutors insist he should pay P124.5 million to the government as civil liability along with Napoles and his former staff Richard Cambe, who were both found guilty of plunder.

The actor-turned-politician is still facing 16 other counts of graft and had posted bail for his temporary liberty. 

Estrada is accused of pocketing P183 million in kickbacks from Napoles. He posted bail in September 2017. 

The 95-year-old Enrile was also freed on bail in 2016 by the Supreme Court, which cited the "instability of his health and his advanced age."