Bong Revilla off the hook in 'pork' scandal as Sandiganbayan junks last graft cases

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2021 04:43 PM

Bong Revilla off the hook in 'pork' scandal as Sandiganbayan junks last graft cases 1
Sen. Bong Revilla in 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Sandiganbayan has granted the demurrer to evidence of Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla, Jr. that effectively dismissed the last remaining cases against him in relation to his alleged involvement in the anomalous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

The anti-graft court's Special First Division voted in favor of Revilla's demurrer to evidence leading to the junking of his last 16 counts of graft cases. 

The Sandiganbayan also dismissed the remaining cases against Revilla's former chief of staff Richard Cambe due to his death. Cambe died from stroke while jailed in the New Bilibid Prison last April.

However, the court denied pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Napoles' demurrer for evidence, which means her trial will proceed. 

The 196-page decision was penned by Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg, with 2 justices concurring and 2 other dissenting.

With this latest development, Revilla has no more pending cases before the Sandiganbayan. 

In 2018, Revilla was acquitted of plunder by the same court over the same charges that led to his freedom from detention. 

'The truth has come out'

Revilla, in a statement, said "justice prevailed" after 8 years of trial.

"After eight long years, nangibabaw nang tuluyan ang Iyong hustisya... The Sandiganbayan, by granting our Demurrer to Evidence and dismissing all the charges against me, validates what we have known from the very beginning - that all the accusations against me have no basis and any leg to stand on," said Revilla, who won another Senate seat in 2019. 

He insisted he "never have been involved in graft and corruption."

"This is the reason why I did not run; I did not hide; and did not evade the judicial system... The truth has come out. Now, I can move forward to serving our nation and our people even further, free of this nuisance," he said. 

Revilla, along with former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, were accused of receiving kickbacks from Napoles in exchange for funneling part of their discretionary funds to bogus non-government organizations. 

The prosecution had accused the actor-turned-politician of embezzling P224 million in discretionary funds from his previous senatorial term.