By: Marites Toledo
FORMER Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. appeared extremely disappointed after he lost his case at the Supreme Court (SC).
Revilla was hoping that the plunder charges being tried by the Sandiganbayan will be stopped by the SC.
For 13 votes, 1 dissenter, and 1 abstention, the court dismissed Revilla motion to dismiss the criminal charges filed on him due to lack of merit.
Also dismissed were the petitions filed by Revilla’s co-accused businesswoman Janet Napoles, Revilla’s chief of staff Richard Cambe, Napoles’ employees Ronald John Lim and John Raymund De Asis, and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos.
Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. was the lone dissenter in the case while Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza took no part being the former Solicitor General.
Revilla is facing one count of plunder and 16 counts of graft before the Sandiganbayan First Division for allegedly pocketing P224.5 million worth of kickbacks by allocating portions of his PDAF from 2006 to 2010 to the bogus foundations allegedly owned by Napoles.
Revilla, together with former Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, were facing plunder charges in connection with the P10 Billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
The criminal cases were slapped by the previous administration through then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
The SC, according to SC’s public affairs head Theodor Te, denied Revilla’s petition to dismiss the plunder charges on him because the former senator failed to convince the magistrates in throwing the plunder charges on him.
This means that the SC found sufficient ground, or probable cause, for the Sandiganbayan to proceed on the trial.
Te stressed that the SC found no grave abuse of discretion in the indictments made by the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan’s decision to put the accused on trial.
“Their findings are fully supported by the records of this case and no semblance of misapprehension taints the same. Moreover, this Court cannot tag key documentary evidence as forgeries and bar testimonies as hearsay at this stage of the proceedings; otherwise it would defy established jurisprudential norms followed during preliminary investigation,” said the SC decision.