Revilla’s P224-M assets frozen
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2015 - 1:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan ordered a freeze yesterday on P224 million in assets of detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. – the amount he is alleged to have received in commissions or kickbacks in the pork barrel fund scam.

Information from the Office of the Ombudsman said the anti-graft court’s First Division issued the freeze order before the close of office hours yesterday.

The prosecution is expected to move for the execution of the freeze order or asset of preliminary attachment today.

Government prosecutors are also asking the Sandiganbayan to freeze more than P183.7 million in assets of detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada to stop him from moving, selling, hiding or disposing of his money and other properties.

The amounts to be recovered supposedly cover the value of the so-called rebates or kickbacks received from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles through her bogus non-government organizations that implemented fictitious projects using the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) allocations of lawmakers.

In a statement, Assistant Ombudsman Asryman Rafanan said the motion for a writ of preliminary attachment and/or garnishment before the Sandiganbayan aims to preserve and prevent any dissipation of prima facie ill-gotten wealth of Estrada totaling P183,793,750.

“Subject to forfeiture are Estrada’s known real and personal properties, bank accounts, shares of stocks, financial instruments and other properties,” he said.

Rafanan said the petition is also based on an Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report showing that Estrada allegedly received commissions from his PDAF through alleged dummies.

“The motion filed today is necessary to protect the interests of the state and to prevent the removal, concealment and disposition of ill-gotten properties and proceeds of plunder and corruption held by unscrupulous public officers,” he said.

Napoles decision out soon

The decision on the illegal detention case against Napoles is set to be promulgated on April 14.

Judge Elmo Alameda of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150 has scheduled the promulgation at 1:30 p.m.

Napoles is detained at the female dormitory of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

Last Oct. 3, defense lawyers presented in court Abelardo Hernales, secretary of a Roman Catholic monsignor, who testified that principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy had stayed for “solitude” at a house known as Bahay ni San Jose at 52 Lapu Lapu St., Magallanes Village in Makati.

Luy was allegedly illegally detained in the house on orders of Napoles.

It used to house several Chinese priests who are reportedly friends of Napoles.

Hernales said he saw Napoles’ brother and co-accused Reynald Lim bring Luy to the house in December 2012.

Luy would spend time reading the Bible at Bahay ni San Jose or writing in his notebook, he added.

He saw Lim fetch Luy from the house to go out several times during his stay, Hernales said.

Two defense witnesses – security officers from the Pacific Plaza Towers condominium – had testified that they heard Luy telling agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on the night of March 22, 2013 that Lim had not detained him, and that he refused to go with them.

Napoles’ lawyer Bruce Rivera told reporters that they are prepared to present a total of 18 witnesses, including several Chinese priests, to prove that Luy was not illegally detained at the Bahay ni San Jose.

5 ex-lawmakers indicted

Five former lawmakers implicated in the pork barrel fund scam have been charged with plunder, graft and malversation before the Sandiganbayan.

They are Rizalina Seachon-Lañete, Samuel Dangwa, Rodolfo Plaza, Edgar Valdez and Constantino Jaraula.

They are accused of collectively misusing PDAF funds in the total amount of P339 million based on complaints filed by the NBI and the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Lanete and Valdez were charged with plunder, while Plaza, Dangwa and Jaraula are facing malversation, graft and direct bribery cases. – With Mike Frialde


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