Revilla seeks to dispute evidence in plunder case

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2017 05:13 PM

MANILA - Former Senator Bong Revilla has filed a motion for leave of court seeking the dismissal of his plunder case pending at the Sandiganbayan for his alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

In the 57-page motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence, Revilla's camp told the court they would be seeking the dismissal of the case instead of taking their turn to present witnesses during the trial.

A motion for leave is a pleading filed by parties seeking permission to deviate from an established court procedure.

“Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that accused Revilla be given leave to file a demurrer to evidence pursuant to Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court,” said Revilla's lawyer Estelito Mendoza in the motion.

Mendoza noted in the plea that Section 23 allows the court to dismiss the case on the ground of insufficiency of evidence upon demurrer to evidence filed by the accused.

Revilla reiterated that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that he had amassed P224 million in kickbacks from the PDAF scam, where lawmakers purportedly diverted public funds to bogus NGOs linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. 

He instead pointed to PDAF scam whistleblowers, including Benhur Luy, as well as Napoles, the alleged scam mastermind. 

“It bears reminding that the ones solely responsible for the duly funded projects turning out to be 'ghost or fictitious' and which 'enabled Napoles to misappropriate the PDAF proceeds for her personal gain' are Benhur Luy and his fellow whistleblowers under the direction and management of Napoles,” he said.

Napoles, as well as Revilla’s former staff member Richard Cambe, are also among those charged with plunder for their alleged role in the PDAF scam.

Revilla’s camp reiterated that even if the prosecution presented numerous witnesses on ghost projects supposedly funded by his PDAF, there is no evidence that he received commissions.

During the trial, Luy testified that he gave commissions to Cambe.

“No evidence has been presented by the prosecution of any amount allegedly received by Revilla by way of 'kickbacks' or 'commissions' from Napoles or any of her representatives,” Mendoza said. 

Napoles and Cambe have also filed their own motions for leave and have also asserted there is insufficient evidence against them.