SC sets debate over Revilla plea to stop PDAF scam probe

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


LAWYERS of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and special prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman will argue before a division of the Supreme Court (SC) on April 1 whether there is legal basis to continue with the preliminary investigation into the complaints filed against the lawmaker over alleged misuse of pork barrel funds.

The oral argument will be held at the SC Session Hall in Baguio City, said SC spokesperson Theodore Te in an email on Wednesday.

Earlier, the SC Third Division headed by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. ordered the graft investigators, Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Levito Baligod, former lawyer of main whistleblower Benhur Luy, to comment on Revilla's petition within 10 days.

Revilla assailed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales' orders dated January 28 and March 3, which found no existing "prejudicial question" to warrant the suspension of the preliminary investigation on plunder charges filed by the NBI against him.

The Ombudsman held that the falsification and forgery cases filed by Revilla against Luy and other whistleblowers in a Cavite court will not influence the outcome of the criminal complaints against the senator.

Revilla's civil suit was also a ploy to delay the investigation, the Ombudsman said, considering that the senator had already confirmed to the Commission on Audit (COA) his signatures on the documents endorsing his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Janet Napoles' bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) in 2011.

The lawmaker denied amassing P224.5 million in kickbacks from ghost projects under the PDAF, which was declared unconstitutional by the High Court in November last year.(Sunnex)

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