Bong Revilla insists he has no plundered millions to return

Lian Buan

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Bong Revilla insists he has no plundered millions to return

Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan must now clarify whether the senatorial candidate is liable to return stolen taxpayers money

MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidate Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr insisted that his acquittal from plunder has cleared him of any civil liability to return P124.5 million in plundered public funds.

In a pleading filed on Friday, February 15, Revilla asked the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to dismiss the Office of the Ombudsman’s motion to execute the P124.5 million civil judgment against him.

Revilla even had a message to Ombudsman prosecutors: “As true sportsman of the Bar: Take vindication with grace.”

What civil judgment? While the Sandiganbayan acquitted Revilla, it said in its decision that “the accused” must return to the national treasury the recomputed amount of P124.5 million stolen through the pork barrel scam.

Ombudsman prosecutors pointed out that if the Sandiganbayan had meant to exclude the acquitted Revilla from the civil judgment, it would have specifically named his convicted co-accused, Janet Napoles and Richard Cambe. Instead the court remained vague with the words “the accused.”

The court also did not specifically say that no civil liability must arise from Revilla’s case, as it usually does when it acquits a person.

In Revilla’s motion, his lawyers insisted that the acquittal was enough to clear him from any civil liability.

“The (acquittal) declares that the facts from which civil liability might arise did not exist. Even the body of the decision shows that Revilla did not directly or indirectly receive he rebates, commission and kickbacks from his PDAF. Hence, there is nothing for him to return,” said Revilla’s motion.

Does Revilla still have pork cases? Revilla stands charged with 16 counts of graft.

In her strongly-worded dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Maria Theresa Dolores Gomez Estoesta said Revilla is liable for graft for concealing unexplained wealth related to the scam.

A report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council showed that by 2010, Revilla’s bank accounts accumulated a total of P170.9 million when he only declared P81.16 million in cash and investments in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth for that year.

Revilla is seeking a Senate comeback in the 2019 elections.  He is part of the senatorial slate of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.