Sandiganbayan puts giant roadblock in Revilla's bid to dismiss plunder case
MANILA, Philippines – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan's First Division denied in an open court hearing on Thursday, December 7, the motion for leave to file a demurrer to evidence by former senator Bong Revilla in relation to plunder charges over the multi-billion-peso plunder scam.
This just made it much more difficult for Revilla to secure an outright dismissal of his case.
Division Chairman Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz said the “court is of the view that there is a need for the accused to present evidence.”
Had the motion for leave been approved, Revilla would have had the go-signal to file his demurrer of evidence. A demurrer of evidence is a pleading that tells the court his camp no longer needs to present their own evidence because the prosecution’s presentation is weak enough to merit dismissal of the case.
In this situation, Dela Cruz said the defense can still file a demurrer of evidence.
But it would be risky on the part of Revilla. If the demurrer is denied, the court will consider as waived the defense’s right to present evidence, and will base their decision solely on evidence presented by the prosecution.
A denied demurrer will be a big blow to the defense.
Revilla’s lead lawyer Estelito Mendoza said they will study their options.
Revilla is accused of earning P224.5 million in kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) funneled through questionable non-governmental organizations associated with Janet Lim-Napoles.
Napoles and Revilla’s co-accused staff Richard Cambe also filed their own motions for leave, but they too were denied.
Before this development, Mendoza appeared very confident of their move, even foregoing a petition for bail.
"At this point, we do not think it is necessary to file a motion for bail. Rather, we will file [a] demurrer which means the case is over, nothing to have bail for," Mendoza said in October. – Rappler.com