The plunder trial of former Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. over the alleged anomalous disbursement of his pork barrel funds is scheduled to start on January 12, 2017.
The Sandiganbayan scheduled the hearings every Thursday, with morning and afternoon sessions to speed up the proceedings.
Revilla and former Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile were charged with plunder in 2014 for allegedly allocating millions of pesos of their pork barrel funds to fake non-government organizations set up by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
They were also charged with graft in connection with their allegedly anomalous priority development assistance fund (PDAF) disbursements: from 2006 to 2010 for Revilla, 2004 to 2010 for Ejercito, and 2004 to 2012 for Enrile.
The Ombudsman's resolutions ordering the filing of graft charges against the three solons and several others, including Napoles, were challenged before the Supreme Court, but the high court dismissed this petition earlier this year.
"In all three items, the court has found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman in finding probable cause to indict petitioners. The court deferred to the findings of the Ombudsman in the absence of grave abuse of discretion," said SC Spokespeson Theodore Te.
Napoles is imprisoned at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong since 2015. She was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty for illegally detaining pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy.
Revilla and Estrada are detained at the Philippine National Police Detention Center since 2014, while Enrile was released on bail in 2015 due to his poor health and old age.
- with reports from Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News