MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.’s lead counsel on Thursday said pork barrel scam whistleblower Merlina Suñas has helped the defense more than the prosecution with her testimony.
“Nakatulong siya sa amin kasi kinonfirm niya na di niya binigay kay Sen. Revilla yung pera, kung di sa pamamagitan lang daw ni Attorney Cambe,” lawyer Joel Bodegon told reporters after the morning session of Revilla’s bail hearing at the Sandiganbayan First Division.
Cambe is Revilla’s senior staff and co-accused in the plunder and graft case filed in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam.
“Maski yun ay hearsay evidence, walang weight yun. So nagpapasalamat kami kay Mrs. Suñas sa kaniyang tulong sa depensa ni Sen. Revilla,” Bodegon added.
Revilla has been charged with plunder and multiple counts of graft for supposedly conspiring with businesswoman and alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in diverting millions of pesos in his pork barrel funds to bogus non-government organizations.
Bodegon noted how Suñas failed to show that Revilla directly benefitted from the alleged scam, adding that her testimony is no different from co-whistleblower Benhur Luy’s claims.
“Of course, ang husgado naman ang magde-determine. Pero pareho lang naman ang sinabi niya kay Benhur Luy. Si Benhur ang star witness, so this witness can’t be better than him,” he said.
Suñas, Luy and Marina Sula were the whistleblowers who first exposed the pork barrel scheme.
Meanwhile, during Thursday’s bail hearing, Bodegon asked the court to determine whether the prosecution has enough evidence for the case to stand. He said they do not believe the state lawyers have enough evidence to keep Revilla in jail.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense when evidence against the accused is strong.
“Whether the evidence of the prosecution is strong is based on the evidence of the prosecution. As of now our thinking is we do not even need to present evidence dito sa bail hearing,” Bodegon said.
Revilla’s lawyer revealed that he will be away for two weeks, but did not elaborate on why.
Bodegon said he remains confident his client could be released on bail.
“Beginning pa lang sabi namin walang kaso. Confidence is something that you want to have. But that confidence must be reckoned with the determination of the court. As of now we have that confidence and faith in the first division of the Sandiganbayan’s sense of fairness and objectivity,” he said. (MNS)