Revilla surrenders to Sandigan-A A +A
Friday, June 20, 2014
MANILA (5th update) -- Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. surrendered to the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City Friday morning after being slapped with plunder and graft charges for his alleged involvement in the "pork barrel" scam.
The anti-graft court's first division issued before 9 a.m. Friday warrants of arrest against Revilla and 32 others, including the senator's former political adviser Richard Cambe, in cases related to the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.
The Ombudsman said Revilla, a popular movie actor, collected P224.5 million kickbacks from 2006 to 2010 from the alleged illegal disbursement of his PDAF.
But Revilla said that he opted to submit himself willfully to show that he is ready to deal with the case in court. Plunder is a non-bailable offense.
Before heading to the Sandiganbayan, Revilla spoke to his family and supporters who were gathered in his house since Thursday night, as the Revillas prepared for the senator's surrender.
"'Wag po kayong mag-alala hindi naman ako mawawala. Babangon po tayo. Maaring maikulong nila si Bong Revilla, ngunit hindi nila makukulong ang pagmamahal ko sa inyo," Revilla said.
Accompanied by his wife and children, Revilla left his residence in Bacoor, Cavite at 8:40 a.m. to visit his ailing father, former senator Ramon Revilla Sr.
"Babalik ako at ibabangon ko ang pangalan natin Dad," were the senator's parting words to his father.
He also went to St. Michael Church in Cavite to attend Mass with his family.
Revilla's convoy arrived at the Sandiganbayan at 10:45 a.m.
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Upon his arrival, the senator proceeded to the Sheriff's office and submitted himself to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), which was tasked to serve the arrest warrants to individuals indicted in the pork barrel scam.
Revilla was later brought to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City where he underwent booking procedure.
His arraignment is set on June 26.
Revilla is now detained at the PNP custodial center.
Director Benjamin Magalong of the PNP-CIDG said the Revilla family can visit the detained senator at the custodial center Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. while his extended family, friends and supporters can visit him Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, Revilla's legal counsel Joel Bodegon said the senator's wife, Cavite Representative Lani Mercado, rushed to the nearest appliance center to buy an air vaporizer.
"The senator is complaining na masyadong mainit sa loob at inaatake siya ng migraine," he said.
PNP Public Information Office head Reuben Theodore Sindac earlier said that additional appliances or gadgets to be brought inside the detention cell will have to go through the approval of the court.
Revilla's detention cell only has a ceiling fan, a single bed, kitchen sink and toilet and bath.
On Friday, Revilla's legal counsel Joel Bodego immediately filed a motion to select a detention facility, as the senator wants to be detained in Camp Crame.
Bodegon also filed a petition for bail, citing weak evidence against Revilla.
Earlier, Revilla's counsel filed a motion for the court to determine probable cause, defer the arrest warrant, and suspend proceedings on the plunder and graft cases. The motions, however, were junked.
In an 81-page petition, Revilla asked the Supreme Court (SC) to hand down a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Sandiganbayan from hearing the plunder and graft charges filed against him by the Ombudsman.
Revilla cited the Sandiganbayan's ruling in the case for former President Joseph Estrada where the anti-graft court held that in order to be held liable for the crime of plunder, it must be shown that the public officer amassed ill-gotten wealth amounting to at least P50 million.
Estrada was convicted by the anti-graft court in 2007 but was later pardoned by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Among other personalities allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam are Ofelia Ordoñez, Francisco Figura, Ma. Ninez Guañizo, Chita Jalandoni, Maria Julie Villaralvo-Johnson, Gregoria Buenaventura, Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nuñez, Lalaine Paule, Marilou Bare, Romulo Relevo, Ronald John Lim, Alan Javellana, Gondelina Mata, John Raymond de Asis, Sophia Cruz, Marivic Jover, Antonio Ortiz, Consuelo Lilian Espiritu, Emmanuel Alexis Sevidal, and Eulogio Rodriguez.
Revilla's co-accused will also undergo physical examination, medical examination, booking and fingerprinting and mug shot before they are brought to their detention cell.
Malacanang welcomed Friday the issuance of warrants of arrest against Revilla and other co-accused in the pork barrel scam.
"The issuance of warrants of arrest against Senator Revilla and others implicated in the plunder case pertaining to the alleged misuse of public funds is a significant step forward in the judicial process," said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
He said the Palace believes that through a fair and just trial, accountability will be clearly established and in like manner, those that are innocent will be exonerated.
"We join the citizenry in hoping that truth and justice will prevail," Coloma said.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Technology Resource Center (TRC) head on-leave Dennis Cunanan will also go to the Sandiganbayan to pay for his temporary freedom from the graft case.
TRC is one of the four state agencies that allegedly implemented ghost projects charged to the PDAF allocations of Revilla and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.
Enrile and Estrada will be issued warrants of arrest if the Sandiganbayan's third and fifth divisions will junk their motions to dismiss the cases against them.
"The best course of action is to voluntarily surrender so that the court could acquire jurisdiction over their person," De Lima said. (With reports from Camille P. Balagtas/SDR/Sunnex)