Prosecution opposes move to dismiss plunder raps vs Revilla, Napoles, Cambe

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 01 2017 01:44 PM | Updated as of Dec 01 2017 02:31 PM

MANILA - There is enough evidence to pin down former Senator Bong Revilla, his former staff member Richard Cambe, and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles for plunder in connection with their alleged role in the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, government prosecutors said this week. 

In a consolidated opposition against motions for leave to file demurrer to evidence earlier filed by Napoles and Cambe, prosecutors said there is sufficient testimonial and documentary evidence against the two respondents and Revilla for allegedly diverting P224 million in PDAF to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs). 

“The prosecution has presented more than sufficient evidence - which has been duly appreciated by the Court - showing that accused Revilla, Jr. abused his position as senator,” the Office of the Special Prosecutor said in a consolidated opposition filed before the Sandiganbayan 1st Division on Nov. 29.

The prosecution reiterated that they were able to present sufficient evidence which established the following: that Revilla and Cambe are public officials, that Revilla amassed ill-gotten wealth through a series or combination of overt or criminal acts, and that the aggregate amount involved is at least P50 million, the minimum amount for alleged illegally acquired wealth to qualify as an act of plunder. 

They also emphasized that Revilla requested the allocation and release of his PDAF from 2007 to 2009 for alleged ghost projects of NGOs.

“As Revilla Jr.’s representative, Cambe indicated his conforme to the project activities, project proposals and project profiles prepared by the NGOs. He signed several Memoranda of Agreement. He signed accomplishment and terminal reports, reports of disbursement and inspection and acceptance reports,” the Office of the Special Prosecutor said.

They also contended that the Supreme Court ruling on the dismissal of the plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not applicable to Revilla's case. 

The high court had dismissed the plunder case against Arroyo in July 2016, granting her demurrer to evidence that contended that prosecutors lacked evidence to prove her involvement in the alleged anomalous release of over P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) intelligence funds from 2008 up to 2010.

“In the present case, it is important to point out that in its Resolution promulgated on December 1, 2014, this Court already ruled that “the prosecution has duly established that there exists strong evidence that accused Revilla, Cambe and Napoles, in conspiracy with one another, committed the capital offense of Plunder defined and penalized under RA 7080,” government prosecutors said. 

Revilla recently filed his own motion for leave to file a demurrer, a legal move that seeks the dismissal of a case asserting the prosecution's lack of evidence against an accused. 

The prosecution has until December 3 to comment on the motion for leave filed by Revilla.

A motion for leave is usually filed by a party to be allowed to deviate from the usual procedure, such as filing a demurrer to evidence, instead of presenting witnesses for the outright dismissal of the case. 

Meanwhile, Revilla, who was at the Sandiganbayan to attend the hearing on their motions for leave, said: “Antayin na lang natin.”

Sandiganbayan 1st Division Chairperson Efren Dela Cruz set oral arguments on December 7.