MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the decision of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to freeze the assets of former senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr in relation to his pork barrel scam plunder case.
The SC en banc denied Revilla's appeal for lack of merit, the Court announced on Tuesday, July 24.
In effect, the SC affirmed the Sandiganbayan's issuance of a preliminary attachment on Revilla's assets back in February 2015.
The en banc also denied the appeals for bail of Revilla's co-accused Janet Lim Napoles and Richard Cambe.
At first, Revilla, Napoles and Cambe filed the same appeals challenging the Sandiganbayan's denial of their applications for bail. But the Court said Revilla later withdrew his petition, which means only the petitions of Napoles and Cambe were denied.
This means that Revilla's most recent petition to stop the trial at Sandiganbayan was still pending.
The trial at the Sandiganbayan is drawing to a close, with possibly the last clarificatory hearings to be held on August 7 and 9.
After that, the anti-graft court will move to resolve the case, which would make it the first pork scam case to be meted out judgment.
Revilla's lawyer Estelito Mendoza has expressed his frustration that the High Court had yet to act on their petition.
Mendoza, who got former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo acquitted of plunder and Juan Ponce Enrile out on bail, argued before the Court that the Sandiganbayan "is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and imputable to the failure of the Sandiganbayan to perform its duty to enforce those rights."
Revilla is charged with plunder for allegedly pocketing P224.5 million in kickbacks through the pork barrel scam, by funnelling his discretionary funds to fake non-governmental organizations (NGO) of Napoles.
To argue for the dismissal, Revilla cited the same grounds he used before the Sandiganbayan but which had already been thumbed down by the anti-graft court: