The Sandiganbayan issued today its Resolution dated December 1, 2014 denying the petitions for bail separately filed by Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, his former Chief of Staff Richard Cambe and Janet Lim Napoles, all accused in the plunder case docketed as SB-14-CRM-0240.
In denying the petitions for bail, the Sandiganbayan concluded that the Ombudsman prosecutors “presented compelling evidence that accused Revilla amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth by repeatedly receiving from accused Napoles or her representatives or agents, money, through accused Cambe…and that accused Revilla and/or Cambe made use of their official position, authority, connections and influence.”
In the Resolution penned by Justice Efren dela Cruz, the anti-graft court gave “full faith and credence” to the “testimonies of witnesses and the documents they testified to, which, at this stage of the proceedings, has remained unrebutted.”
“[A] closer look at the prosecution’s evidence will disclose a strong indication that accused Revilla’s participation went beyond endorsement [of NGOs], and his perceived innocuous acts were in reality stained with foul intentions” aimed to “siphon a portion of that PDAF to himself,” the Resolution stated.
The Sandiganbayan junked the “feeble and unacceptable” defense raised by Revilla regarding alleged forgery of signatures, and ruled that the “defense did not succeed in disproving the signatures of accused Revilla and Cambe on the questioned documents with the presentation of a handwriting expert in the person of Atty. [Desiderio] Pagui.”
Insofar as the participation of co-accused Napoles is concerned, the Sandiganbayan said that “Revilla could not have possibly drawn money from his PDAF allocation directly to himself” and that the “indispensable participation of accused Napoles” is necessary. The so-called “Napoles connection” related to the control of the NGOs “are made evident by the bank transactions of the NGOs,” as testified to by Leigh Von Santos of the Anti-Money Laundering Council. The Court saw “no basis to doubt the strong evidence against accused Napoles.”
With respect to co-accused Cambe, the anti-graft court ruled that “the circumstances persuasively attest that accused Revilla on several occasions, received money from the illegitimate deals involving his PDAF, through accused Cambe,” stating that “Cambe profited from the same transactions [so far] computed at P13.935 million.”
The Sandiganbayan stated that the “prosecution has so far strongly proven the amount of P103million” as the amount of money “plundered by accused Revilla and/or Cambe.”
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales welcomed this development and commended the efforts of the prosecution team.
The Ombudsman prosecution team handling the Revilla case is composed of Acting Director Joefferson Toribio, Assistant Special Prosecutor (ASP) III Jacinto Dela Cruz, ASP II Lyn Dimayuga, and ASP I Emerita Francia.
Toribio, head of the team, described that “in a little over four months, we were able to conclude the proceedings in the bail petitions of all the accused.”
Ombudsman Morales also cited the Sandiganbayan’s efficient case management in speedily resolving the bail petitions.
“The prosecution team shall continue pursuing the pending incidents on the transfer of Sen. Revilla to a regular detention center and the attachment of his assets,” Toribio added.
Source: Public Information and Media Relations Bureau, Office of the Ombudsman