Sandigan suspends Revilla, former aide-A A +A
Monday, August 4, 2014
MANILA (3rd Update) -- The anti-graft court issued a 90-day preventive suspension against detained Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in connection with his plunder and graft charges related to the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
In a resolution signed by Sandiganbayan first division chairperson Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz and Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos, the court granted the prosecutions motion to suspend Revilla and his former aide Richard Cambe.
"As prayed for, accused Revilla and Cambe are hereby suspended from their respective positions as senator and director III of the Office of Senator Revilla and from any other public positions they may now or hereafter be holding, effective for ninety (90) days from notice," the resolution stated.
The prosecution underscored the need for Sandiganbayan to suspend Revilla and Cambe because their stay in office "may frustrate the prosecution of the crime, if not prejudice the case filed against him."
"To prevent the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance, tamper with documentary evidence and intimidate or influence witnesses in the case, it is necessary that the accused be suspended from office while thy case is pending in court," the motion read.
Section 5 of the Plunder Law states that "any public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this Act in whatever stage of execution, is pending in court, shall be suspended."
Revilla was charged with plunder and 16 counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly amassing P242 million in kickbacks after channeling his PDAF allocation to the bogus non-government organizations (NGO) owned by businesswoman Janet Napoles, the suspected mastermind of the pork barrel scam.
The resolution also stated that it is up to Senate President Franklin Drilon how to deal with the temporary vacancy.
"The President of the Senate shall implement this Order once he has been notified of the finality thereof," the resolution added.
In a chance interview, Drilon clarified that suspension order against Revilla will only take effect if no appeal is filed or the appeal has been junked.
He said Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, both implicated in the scam, have also been suspended but the Senate will not follow the order for the meantime.
"In fact, si Senator Estrada filed a MR (motion for reconsideration); si Senator Enrile has written a letter to our office to signify their intention to file a MR. The order of the Sandiganbayan said they are preventively suspended unless they file a MR. So, yung Sandiganbayan mismo ang nagsabi sa amin na huwag n’yo muna i-implement kung magpa-file ng MR," Drilon said.
Whistleblower Benhur Luy, during his testimony before the first divison last Friday, revealed that the lawmaker got P90 million in kickbacks after allotting P180 million of his PDAF allocations to JLN Corporation and five other NGOs of Napoles from 2006 to 2010.
He noted that Revilla got 50 percent of all funds that he allocated for "ghost" transactions from the Napoles-controlled foundations. (Sunnex)