Revilla was acquitted of plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of “pork” funds from 2004 to 2010, he is still facing graft cases in connection with the same alleged anomaly.
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Sandiganbayan not keen on holding Bong Revilla trial at Bilibid
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - January 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan will seek permission from the Supreme Court (SC) to continue the trial on pending graft cases filed against former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. at the anti-graft court’s premises in Quezon City instead of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

The court’s First Division was supposed to resume the trial of Revilla’s 16 counts of graft yesterday, but it was deferred after his lawyer, Reody Anthony Balisi, questioned the absence of Richard Cambe, one of the co-accused.

Although Revilla was acquitted of plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of “pork” funds from 2004 to 2010, he is still facing graft cases in connection with the same alleged anomaly.

Cambe, a lawyer and a former staff member of Revilla, used to represent himself both in the plunder and graft cases.

First Division chairman Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz said that following Cambe’s transfer to the NBP after his conviction on plunder, the hearings for the pending graft cases might have to be conducted at the jail’s premises, in accordance with the Rules of Court.

De la Cruz, however, said that because of the number of individuals who stand as Revilla’s co-accused in the graft cases, it would be impractical to hold trial at the national penitentiary.

“The court will ask the Supreme Court to give us the authority to still hold hearings at Sandiganbayan,” he said.

The prosecution team of the Office of the Ombudsman was scheduled to continue its presentation of “pork” scam star witness Benhur Luy yesterday. 

The court moved the continuation of Luy’s testimony on Jan. 24.

It was on Dec. 7 when the First Division convicted Cambe and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles of plunder for the misuse of Revilla’s priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or a minimum of 20 years to a maximum 40 years in prison.

Following his conviction, Cambe was transferred from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Quezon City, where he had been detained since June 2014, to the NBP in Muntinlupa City, a national penitentiary under the Bureau of Corrections.

Napoles was transferred to the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City on Jan. 4 after the Sandiganbayan denied with finality her motion to remain at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Revilla, the primary accused in the case, was acquitted as the prosecution supposedly failed to present evidence to prove that he received P224.5 million in kickbacks or commissions in exchange for the allocation of his PDAF to the fake foundations linked with Napoles.

The 16 counts of graft against Revilla, however, remain pending since June 2014. Aside from Cambe and Napoles, named as Revilla’s co-accused in the graft cases were several former officials of the Department of Budget and Management and the abolished state firms Technology and Livelihood Resource Center, National Livelihood Development Corp. and National Agribusiness Corp.

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