2 justices say Bong Revilla made P87.6M unexplained bank deposits

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FORMER Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. and his immediate family made numerous deposits to various bank accounts and made investments worth P87.6 million within 30 days and yet no explanation was made about the source of the money, two Sandiganbayan justices said in their separate dissenting opinions.

Sandiganbayan Associate Justice EfrenDe la Cruz, First Division chairperson and Associate Justice Maria Theresa Dolores Gomez- Estoesta said Revilla remained silent on the report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that the former senator and his family made a total of P87,626,587.63 deposit from April 6, 2006 to April 28, 2018.

Both Justices pointed out that the dates corresponding to the deposits were mentioned in the ledger of government witness Benhur Luy who indicated that Revilla rece ived commissions through his chief of staff, At ty. Richard Cambe from Janet Lim-Napoles.

De la Cruz said Revilla did not give an explanation as to how he and his family managed to make deposits worth P87.6 million in only 30 days.

“The Court cannot engage in guesswork and conjecture that Revilla was monetarily capable to make such deposits and investments out of his income from being a senator, producer and actor. He did not present an iota of evidence of his financial capacity,” De la Cruz said.

“Revilla met the evidence against him with nothing more than either denial or silence,” he added.

Estoesta, in her separate dissenting opinion said Revilla, in his SALN for 2006 did not declare any cash on hand or deposit in banks while in 2007 declared only a total of P3.3-million cash deposits.

However, Estoesta said the majority of the justices who voted for the acquittal said the AMLC report was “not conclusive” for its failure to indicate whether the accounts it has examined solely came from Revilla or i f those are “fresh funds” or withdrawn from another account.

“Point is, this was never the concern of Senator Revilla. The accused never even attempted to debunk the findings of AMLC in his own defense. He simply wallowed in his own defense of denial and forgery,” Estoesta said.

She then asked “why would the majority opinion now take the cudgels for him?”

Last Friday, the AntiGraft Court issued a verdict acquitting Revilla but convicting Cambe and Janet Lim- Napoles of plunder.

Estoesta and De la Cruz said Revilla should have been convicted along with Cambe and Napoles because they conspired to divert funds from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

De la Cruz said with the numerous communications between Revilla’s office, the Commission on Audit and the supposed NGOs, it would be improbable for Revilla not to know about it.

“Revilla is a seasoned senator. He is not naive to allow Napoles and Cambe to solely steer the course of a PDAF,” he said.

He added that PDAF was a fund allocated to Revilla by virtue of his office thus Napoles or Cambe cannot dip their hands into it by themselves.

“They needed Revilla,” De la Cruz said.

“Revilla’s designation of Cambe as his authorized representative further proves the prosecution’s contention that Cambe operated under Revilla’s authority, and Revilla was all over the scam scene, although he remained in the shadow,” Dela Cruz said.

“Conspir acy only thrives in secrecy. The PDAF scheme would have gone undetected, absent any positive act to admit to its commission, had it not been detected for the miscalculated slip committed by the grand designer which cut l oose one tongue, then another, until all there is to know had been revealed,” Estoesta added.— Inquirer.net

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