Revilla lawyer seeks to stop presentation of witnesses

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2017 08:57 PM

Lawyer Estelito Mendoza on Thursday asked the Sandiganbayan to terminate the presentation of witnesses against former Senator Bong Revilla Jr., who will testify on the supposed ghost projects involving his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

In his motion submitted to the court, Mendoza said the "testimonies are of the same nature as those presented at the hearing on August 10, 2017."

The motion was discussed during a hearing on Revilla's plunder case, wherein the prosecution strongly opposed the request of the defense. Prosecutors argued that the witnesses were already agreed upon by both camps during the pre-trial stage. 

The court gave the prosecution five days to submit their written comment. 

The prosecution then proceeded to present six witnesses—Edwin Reyes, Guado Bautista, Johnny Rangay, Rolando Garcia, Lydia Apatan, Rebecca Quicho, who testified on the supposed agricultural projects funded by the PDAF of Revilla. 

Everyone testified they never received any agricultural project, except Quicho who served as the municipal agriculturist of Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

Quicho said she received 155 boxes of organic fertilizer in 2007 from the Philippine Social Development Foundation Inc. 

Quicho, however, denied having been a beneficiary of the Agricultura Para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc. nor of Revilla's PDAF from 2007 to 2010. 

Before the hearing ended, Mendoza moved that the presentation of all witnesses be terminated as the prosecution failed to present another batch of witnesses in the afternoon hearing. 

Prosecutor Joefferson Toribio said they were given a total of 60 "settings" which they could use, and that their witnesses usually come from the provinces. 

Sandiganbayan 1st Division Chairperson Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz, however, denied the request in open court but told the prosecution to be more responsible in utilizing the time given to them for the presentation of witnesses.