Revilla fails to present evidence in plunder trial

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2018 09:01 PM

MANILA - Former Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. has requested the Sandiganbayan 1st Division to defer yet again his presentation of evidence on the plunder case in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. 

Revilla was supposed to present his evidence Thursday after several postponements because of his pending petition for certiorari at the Supreme Court.

In the urgent motion filed by lawyer Estelito Mendoza last week, the prosecution was asked to identify first their evidence, both testimonial and documentary, to prove the primary allegations to establish the offense of plunder.

“Since the court has scheduled the commencement of the presentation of the evidence of the accused on June 14, 2018, the prosecution hopefully would agree to provide the above information promptly, to enable the accused to prepare the evidence he needs to present, particularly that which would be necessary, if any, to rebut the evidence identified by the prosecution pursuant to this motion,” Mendoza said in the motion.

Mendoza also asked the court to specifically identify the evidence submitted to the court and mark in blue the allegations pertaining to “corpus delicti” (body of the crime) and in red the allegations pertaining to the “heart of the plunder law.”

In the opposition filed by Deputy Special Prosecutor Manuel Soriano, the prosecution stated that their witnesses have already made testimonies starting from the bail hearings and were duly recorded in transcripts of court stenographers.

Soriano also said they have already formally offered their documentary evidence after they completed the presentation of their testimonial evidence in October last year.

He also reiterated the resolution of the court last year which formally admitted the documentary exhibits “in the tenor that they were testified on by the witnesses.”

The camp of Revilla was supposed to start presenting evidence last January 25.

“This Honorable Court is a court of law and noble magistrates. It cannot be hypnotized by accused Revilla’s chanting of repeated arguments, which were passed upon by this Honorable Court,” Soriano said in his opposition.

The court scheduled the next plunder hearing on June 26, 2018.

Meanwhile, Revilla also requested to be allowed to be temporarily released from detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for a “dental checkup, oral prophylaxis and fluoride treatment” at the dental office of Dr. Steve Mark Gan in Makati on June 18. 

“Baka sobrang prophylaxis na 'yan (That might be too much prophylaxis),” quipped 1st Division Chairperson Efren Dela Cruz.

Revilla’s lawyer Rheody Anthony Balisi, however, noted that the former senator's last oral prophylaxis was in April 2017.

The court granted Revilla's request to visit his dentist on Monday, June 18.

The court, however, gave the usual conditions for furlough such as the use of communication and electronic gadgets to be supervised by the Philippine National Police, no media interviews, and that Revilla shall cover all expenses to be incurred in the furlough.

Revilla is on trial for allegedly amassing millions in kickbacks from the PDAF scam, where lawmakers purportedly diverted their discretionary funds to bogus non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.