Sandiganbayan tells Revilla to present evidence in plunder case despite SC halt plea

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2018 07:26 PM

MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 1st Division has compelled former Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. to present evidence in his plunder case in connection with the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam starting June 14.

As his co-accused and former Senate staff Richard Cambe terminated his presentation of witnesses Tuesday, Revilla was told by 1st Division Associate Justice Geraldine Econg that it was his turn to present his defense. 

“It is almost promulgation time, and then our job will be over,” Econg said.

The trial has been going on for almost four years as the PDAF cases were filed in June 2014.

Revilla’s presentation of witnesses has long been delayed because of a pending petition for certiorari at the Supreme Court asking for a suspension of the Sandiganbayan proceedings as well as Revilla's provisional liberty. 

His lawyer Estelito Mendoza said he is hoping that since the Supreme Court has already decided on the quo warranto case of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the court could now tackle their petition.

“We do not do this for convenience, we are just asking for a little more time,” Mendoza said.

Meanwhile, the camp of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brains behind the scam, will not be presenting witnesses, having adopted testimonies of Cambe's witnesses.

Revilla is on trial for allegedly amassing millions in kickbacks from the PDAF scam, where lawmakers purportedly diverted their discretionary funds to bogus non-government organizations linked to Napoles.