Bong Revilla wants PNoy, Mar, PGMA as witnesses
MANILA, Philippines – Indicted plunderer and Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr could be up to something. The opposition senator wants leaders of the administration party to take the witness stand for his plunder case before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan.
In his pre-trial brief filed Wednesday morning, July 9, Revilla listed President Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II among his "witnesses to be presented."
With a warning from the court that a gag order may be issued against him due to his frequent interviews with the media about the pork barrel scam cases, Revilla's lawyer Joel Bodegon kept mum as to why the administration leaders were needed for his client's case.
"We cannot talk of the merits of the case," he said. "Bawal for us to (We are not allowed to) comment on those, per order of the court."
But the lawyer still needs to defend to the court why Aquino's and Roxas' testimonies are vital or cannot be substituted by another's in trial. The court will issue a subpoena to summon witnesses to the trial, after a request for subpoena is filed by the requesting party.
Revilla also wants former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as witness, according to his pre-trial brief.
The budget secretary during Arroyo's presidency, Rolando Andaya Jr, was also listed as witness.
The scam to divert lawmakers' Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to dubious non-governmental organizations is said to be much bigger in scope than is currently being investigated and prosecuted by state authorities. Revilla has previously cited selective prosecution by the administration, with their allies linked to the scam remaining unscathed.
The PDAF or pork barrel is a discretionary lump sum meant for development pet projects of legislators. But 3 acts or schemes under it declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in late 2013.
The prosecution already listed in its own pre-trial brief documents that will attest to the wealth of Revilla, possibly to prove the disproportionality of his assets from his sources of income.
These documents include travel records, certificates of stocks/investments, certificates of titles, condominium titles, certificates of registration and deeds of conveyances of vehicles even of Revilla's immediate family, among others.
A pre-trial brief outlines the documentary evidence and the witnesses to be presented by a party in a court trial.
Possibly to counter these pieces of evidence from the prosecution, Revilla then listed as witnesses "movie and television producers such as GMA-7 and other relevant production and television networks."
Aside from being a legislator, Revilla is a known film and television actor. His father likewise treaded the same tightrope.
Napoles to prove projects not fictitious
In his brief, Revilla said that among the issues that has to be resolved by the court is whether or not the programs and projects allegedly funded by his PDAF are fictitituous, and whether or not he knew these to be so.
He then listed as evidence to be presented lists of beneficiaries of his various livelihood projects coursed through NGOs, attendance sheets of training programs, and accomplishment reports of said projects.
Even before court hearings commenced, lawyer Stephen David said the camp of alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles will prove in court that the Napoles-controlled NGOs actually delivered on the government projects they hosted.
David is the legal counsel of Napoles in her plunder and graft cases before the Sandiganbayan.
Revilla is charged with plunder and 16 counts of graft before the court. He is accused of knowingly and financially gaining from allowing his PDAF to fund bogus projects of Napoles-linked NGOs.
Among the 3 senators charged over the PDAF scam, Revilla allegedly pocketed the biggest amount in kickbacks at P224 million. (READ: 3 PH senators charged with plunder over PDAF scam) – Rappler.com