MANILA (Mabuhay) – The First Division of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Thursday admitted almost all of the evidence presented by the prosecution panel against Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. for plunder charges in connection with his alleged involvement in the multi-billion pork barrel fund scam.
During the formal offering of evidence, the prosecution panel presented all the evidence that it used in the course of more than four months of hearing Revilla’s petition to post bail for the plunder charges.
Among the evidence admitted by the court were the special audit report done by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel of several lawmakers including Revilla.
The COA special audit report became one of the basis of the Office of the Ombudsman in filing charges against Senators Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, as well as their staff, for their alleged involvement in the scam.
Also admitted as evidence by the court was the hard drive of primary whistleblower Benhur Luy.
The hard drive allegedly contained Luy’s daily disbursement reports pertaining to the transactions of trader Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains of the pork scam, with several lawmakers from 2004 to 2012.
The hard drive also allegedly contained the transactions of the bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) allegedly put up by Napoles, where the PDAF of several lawmakers were allocated.
The court, however, refused to admit as evidence the disbursement reports pertaining to 2011and 2012.
The court sided with the argument of the defense that Luy’s disbursement reports from 2011-2012 were no longer relevant to the scope of Revilla’s plunder case which concerns his PDAF allocations from 2004 to 2010.
Also admitted as evidence were the affidavits of Luy and the other whistleblowers Marina Sula, Merlina Suñas and Mary Arlene Baltazar, as well as the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the implementing agencies Technology Resource Center (TRC), National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR) and National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) allegedly chosen by Revilla to implement his pork-funded projects.
The court also admitted as evidence the forensic examination done by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Luy’s hard drive, proving that the files contained in the drive were authentic and unaltered.
The court likewise admitted as evidence the endorsement letters allegedly issued by Revilla with the authorized signature of his chief political adviser and co-accused Richard Cambe.
Other pertinent documents admitted by the court as evidence were memoranda of agreement (MOAs) between the NGOs and the implementing agencies, project listings, list of Revilla’s PDAF beneficiaries and articles of incorporation of the NGOs filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The offering of evidence will continue at Thursday afternoon’s hearing.
Revilla is accused of amassing P224.5 million-worth of kickbacks by allegedly allocating his PDAF to bogus NGOs said to be owned by Napoles.
Revilla is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center inside Camp Crame in Quezon City while Napoles is detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Female Dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
The court will decide on Revilla’s motion to post bail based on the evidence it admitted.
Plunder is a non-bailable offense if proven by the prosecution that the evidence against the accused is strong. (MNS)