Revilla acquitted of plunder, released from jail soon
FORMER senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder charges in relation to his supposed involvement in the multi-billion-peso Priority Developement Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
The Sandiganbayan Special Division voted 32 to dismiss the plunder charges against Revilla during the promulgation of his case on Friday, December 7.
Revilla is still facing graft charges, also in relation to the pork barrel scam.
The three Sandiganbayan justices who voted in favor of Revilla’s acquittal are Associate Justices Geraldine Econg, Edgardo Caldona and Georgina Hidalgo.
The two who dissented are Associate Justices Efren dela Cruz and Maria Teresa GomezEstoesa.
The Sandiganbayan, meanwhile, found Revilla’s co-accused Richard Cambe, his former chief of staff and pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and guilty of the same charges.
The two were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or a maximum of 40 years imprisonment and were barred from holding public office.
Revilla was accused of pocketing P224 million in kickbacks from bogus projects with the aid of Napoles.
He has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame since June 2014 along with former senator Jinggoy Estrada who is out on bail.
PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Benigno Durana Jr. on Friday said Revilla will still undergo a “process”, including a medical examination, before he can be finally released from the custodial center.
Revilla along with his family, lawyers and supporters, arrived at the PNP custodial in Camp Crame around 11:30 a.m. from the promulgation of his case at the Sandiganbayan in Quezon City.
Estrada, who accompanied Revilla as he returned to Camp Crame, said his acquittal gives him hope that charges against him will also be cleared.
“Medyo malaki yung boost sa amin ngayon, lalo na sa ‘kin. Dahil naacquit si Senator Bong Revilla, siguro unti-unti nang nalalaman ng taumbayan na medyo napagkaisahan lang kami in the previous administration,” he said.
He said he is also happy for his friend will be finally released from jail.
“Of course definitely (Im happy). I am praying na ganun rin ang kalalabasan ng kaso ko. Sino na naman di magiging masaya after four years and five months behind bars...ngayon na siya makakalabas okay naman he is in a happy mood,” said Estrada. (Keith Calayag/Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/ SunStar Philippines)
Filipino actor and former Philippine Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., right, hugs his lawyer during the promulgation of a plunder case at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. (AP)