MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 1st Division said Thursday it will start hearing the 16 graft cases against former senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and other individuals on January 11, 2018.
Revilla is accused of amassing P224.5 million in kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Fund after funneling the money to bogus non-governmental organizations of Napoles.
Sandiganbayan 1st Division Chairperson Efren Dela Cruz ordered the parties to submit soft copies of their pre-trial brief which contains a listing of their evidence before the trial starts.
“We will give the parties 10 days to check if you have already submitted soft copies,” Dela Cruz said.
Revilla did not show up in Thursday's hearing. His lawyer, Rheody Anthony Balisi, said the former lawmaker had anticipated that the meeting will be cancelled as it was agreed upon in the last hearing that the graft trial will start next year.
As to the separate plunder case of Revilla, the prosecution is set to present its formal offer while the defense planned to file a demurrer to evidence after.
The defense said they were not inclined to present their own witnesses due to the supposed weakness of the PDAF cases.
Revilla has been detained at the Philippine National Police Detention Center since 2014.