Ombudsman Martires: We will not appeal Revilla acquittal
MANILA, Philippines – Consistent with his new policy at the Office of the Ombudsman not to appeal acquittals at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said they will no longer challenge the plunder acquittal of former senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.
But Martires said "it is just not a policy."
"It is an elementary doctrine in law that you cannot appeal a judgment of acquittal," Martires told reporters when asked if he would appeal the verdict.
A recourse could have been to elevate it to the Supreme Court, challenge the decision on the basis of grave abuse of discretion, and have the decision annulled for being void ab initio or invalid from the very start. It would be the Solicitor General, as lawyer for the government, who could do this.
But when Martires took office, he issued an order instructing prosecutors "to put an end to this practice of bringing up to the Supreme Court judgments of acquittal from the Sandiganbayan."
Deputy Special Prosecutor Manuel Soriano said on Friday, December 7, that they would study the matter. "Pag-aaralan pa," was his brief answer to reporters' questions.
Assistant Special Prosecutor Mariter Delfin Santos said they are disappointed with the verdict. All the prosecutors wore black on Friday as the Sandiganbayan acquitted Revilla.
"The policy is based on double jeopardy or the prohibition 'against being twice put in jeopardy.' This doctrine has its roots in Roman law that an 'issue once decided cannot be tried again,'" Martires said. (READ: ‘Forged signatures’ theory acquits Revilla in plunder case)
The Sandiganbayan Special First Division acquitted Revilla of plunder, but convicted the senator's former staff Richard Cambe and Janet Lim Napoles. (READ: Cambe, Napoles could not have plundered millions without Revilla – dissenter)
The court also ordered the return of P124.5 million to the national treasury, but Revilla's lawyers are claiming the former senator shouldn't be made to pay the amount as he was found "not liable" for the criminal charge. – Rappler.com
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