Bong Revilla’s fate known Friday
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan will hand down its verdict today on the plunder case of former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. after more than four years since it was filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Revilla is expected to appear before the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division as the decision will be read before him by the clerk of court at around 8:30 a.m.

“We are continuously praying for justice and truth to prevail,” Revilla’s wife, Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla, said in a statement.

“We ask everyone to join us in our prayers for divine justice,” she added.

Filed by the ombudsman in June 2014, the case stemmed from Revilla’s alleged misuse of his pork barrel funds when he was senator for supposed fictitious livelihood projects.

Ombudsman prosecutors said Revilla, through his then aide Richard Cambe, allegedly received from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles a total of P224.5 million in kickbacks in exchange for the allocation of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to her bogus non-government organizations.

Revilla and Cambe are detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City. Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the PDAF scam, is being held at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

In a statement posted on his Facebook account, Revilla asked prayers from the public.

In December 2014, the First Division denied Revilla, Cambe and Napoles’ petitions for bail.

Special division formed

A highly placed source told The STAR yesterday that a special division of five members was convened after the three regular members of the First Division failed to come up with a unanimous ruling on Revilla’s plunder case.

The source said aside from First Division chairman Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz and members Associate Justices Geraldine Faith Econg and Edgardo Caldona, two more magistrates – Associate Justices Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, chairperson of the Seventh Division and Georgina Hidalgo – were assigned to participate in the voting.

Under the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan, a unanimous vote of the three justices is required when deciding on a case.

If a unanimous decision is not reached, the presiding justice would have to designate two other magistrates from other divisions to participate in the voting.

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