How the plunder case against Ramon “Bong” Revilla was lost? Blame it on the wishy-washy job of the prosecution. PHOTO/Noy Morcoso
The Sandiganbayan could not find any trace that former senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. has a hand in the scheme to receive over P200 million kickbacks from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) projects.
“The Court fails to see the hand of Revilla guiding [Atty. Richard] Cambe, [Janet Lim] Napoles and the JLN staff in the scheme to receive kickbacks or commissions from the PDAF projects,” the Sandiganbayan said in its 186-page decision.
The Court said while there was a request for the release of Revilla’s PDAF and endorsement of the non-government organization to the implementing agency, Revilla’s signature in the endorsement letters were forged as testified by former employees of Napoles – Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas and Mary Arlene Baltazar.
The three testified that it was the government witness Benhur Luy, cousin of Napoles, who forged Revilla’s signature.
Revilla’s signature in the endorsement letters was supposed to be the most crucial piece of evidence that could have pinned him down. The court said the prosecution missed the opportunity to rebut the testimony of the former senator’s document examiner witness.
“The consequence of this factual finding that the purported signature of the accused Revilla is a forgery constitutes as a great blow to the prosecution,” the Sandiganbayan said.
The court noted in its ruling that Revilla had presented evidence to prove that his signature was forged while the prosecution has not.
“The prosecution has not rebutted the evidence of accused nor presented any expert witness to rebut the opinion of [defense] witness [retired National Bureau of Investigation document examiner Desiderio] Pagui,” the court said.
The witnesses, including Luy, testified that they have given monies to Cambe but not to Revilla. The court said it was possible that Cambe received the money for the senator but kept it for himself.
“The fact that these sums received by Cambe for Revilla [were] received by the latter is just a mere possibility. On the other hand, the opposite scenario that the monies received by Cambe was not given to Revilla but was kept by him is also a possibility,” the court said.
The court added that it was possible that Revilla was not aware of the arrangement between Napoles and Cambe because there was no other evidence offered that could prove otherwise.
The prosecution presented as part of its circumstantial evidence the fact that Revilla has been seen in social functions with Napoles./ac
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.