In this handout photo released by the Philippine National Police Public Information Office, former senator Ramon Revilla Jr. undergoes a medical check up as part of a police booking process before he is brought to his detention cell in Camp Crame police headquarters on June 20, 2014. PNP PIO/Released, File photo

Sandigan OKs Revilla's 3-hour furlough
Elizabeth Marcelo ( - August 24, 2017 - 9:55am

MANILA, Philippines — The First Division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has granted the request of former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to leave his detention on Friday to undergo a dental procedure.

In a minute-resolution issued on Thursday, the court allowed Revilla to undergo dental check-up and restoration of cavities procedure at the Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center (GAOC) located at the ground floor of The Residences, Greenbelt Center in Makati City from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The court said Revilla shall be transported from his detention cell to the GAOC not earlier than one hour before the scheduled time of the procedure and must leave the center strictly not later than 5 p.m.

The court also reminded Revilla that he is not allowed to grant any interview with the media and that he must shoulder all the expenses to be incurred by the Philippine National Police for his security escorts and transportation to and from the GAOC.

The younger Revilla is detained at the PNP Custodial Center since June 2014 for plunder and graft charges in connection with his alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund scam.

At the continuation of the hearing of his plunder case on Thursday, 12 more former local officials testified that they never received any agricultural packages and livelihood assistance from the office of Revilla nor from the non-government organizations he had allegedly chosen to implement the projects funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

The witnesses, who were former mayors and agriculturists in various municipalities Mindanao, said their municipalities were listed by the NGOs Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc., Agrikultura Para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc., and Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. as beneficiaries of Revilla's projects despite not receiving any assistance.

Meanwhile, Maria Josie Gutierrez, a senior risk management specialist from Land Bank of the Philippines testified that they submitted several bank documents to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in 2013 in connection with the agency's investigation on the pork barrel scam.

Upon the query of Revilla's lawyer former Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza, Gutierrez, who in 2013 used to be a chief balance specialist of the Land Bank's anti-money laundering department, admitted that the names of Revilla nor of his former chief of staff Richard Cambe never appeared in the documents they submitted to the AMLC

Gutierrez admitted that the documents they submitted to AMLC such as bank statements, account opening forms, transaction history and fund transfer request from one bank to another, only pertained to the accounts of the NGOs allegedly owned by the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

However, upon cross examination by Napoles' lawyer Dennis Buenaventura, Gutierrez admitted that the NGOs' bank accounts were not under the name of Napoles but of Benhur Luy and other private individuals.

“So, you did not submit any documents to AMLC pertaining to Napoles because she doesn't have an account with you?” Buenaventura asked.

Gutierrez replied in the affirmative.

It was earlier admitted by whistleblowers Luy, Marina Sula and Merlina Suñas that they and the other former employees of Napoles served as the officials of the NGOs allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam.

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