Ombudsman Samuel Martires issued a circular back in September on the revised policy actions to be taken in cases where the court ruled an acquittal or dismissal of criminal cases.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File
Ombudsman Martires: No appeal on Revilla acquittal
Kristine Joy Patag ( - December 7, 2018 - 12:41pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government will no longer appeal former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s acquittal from plunder.

The STAR reported that Ombudsman Samuel Martires reiterated on Tuesday that the Office of the Ombudsman, whose prosecutors lodged the case against Revilla, would no longer file an appeal on the Sandiganbayan’s acquittal of the former senator.

The Sandiganbayan voted 3-2 and ruled that the Court “cannot hold [Revilla] liable for the crime of plunder” due to the prosecution’s failure to “establish beyond reasonable doubt” that the former senator “received, directly or indirectly the rebates commission and kickbacks from his PDAF.”

The court, however, sentenced Revilla’s aide, Richard Cambe, and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles to reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of up to 40 years.

“The policy is based on double jeopardy or the prohibition ‘against being twice put in jeopardy,’” the ombudsman said.

“This doctrine has its roots in Roman law that an ‘issue once decided cannot be tried again,’” Martires added.

Double jeopardy means having the accused answer twice of the same offense.

Policy on appeals

Martires earlier issued Office Circular No. 18 on revised policies in cases of dismissal of administrative cases and acquittal of criminal cases.

“Consistent with the constitutional provision on double jeopardy, the Office shall no longer challenge the dismissal of cases/quashal; of information and judgments of acquittal, either through a motion to dismiss, a demurrer to evidence, or by a decision rendered by the trial courts or the Sandiganbayan,” Martires said in the two-page circular issued last September read.

Rule 119 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure on former conviction or acquittal provides: “When an accused has been convicted or acquitted... the conviction or acquittal of the accused or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or for any offence which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense charged in the former complaint or information.”

Martires’ circular said that a motion for reconsideration or a petition for certiorari might be filed only if the Office of the Ombudsman, in administrative cases, or the People of the Philippines, in criminal cases, was clearly deprived of due process, or when there was a mistrial.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, a day before the promulgation of the ruling, said: "Given the evidence the office gathered, if I were a judge, I would convict him. Period."

The plunder charge was filed against Revilla under Morales' helm of the Office of the Ombudsman.

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