Filipino actor and former Philippine Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., correct, hugs his attorney all the design in which via the promulgation of a plunder case at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court docket in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Revilla turned into cleared of plunder by the court docket but two other co-accused, Revilla’s former chief of staff Richard Cambe and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, had been found out guilty of the associated rate in a scandal that broke out years previously that enthusiastic gigantic government funds supposed for anti-poverty projects being stolen by several accused legislators. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
The briber is guilty but no longer the bribed?
The Sandiganbayan decision acquitting former Sen. Bong Revilla while convicting his two coaccused in the plunder case stemming from the P10-billion pork barrel scam case drew pressured reactions and sighs of dismay from the political opposition and authorized circles.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan stated “it’s sophisticated to realise the decision” handed down by the antigraft court docket on Friday to total the four-year trial of 1 of his former Senate colleagues.
“How could presumably the briber be guilty and the bribed no longer guilty?” the Liberal Celebration president stated, apparently regarding the convicted Janet Lim-Napoles, the businesswoman who turned into convicted for devising a racket that allowed pork barrel funds to be funneled to ghost projects, and Revilla who turned into accused of gathering P224 million in kickbacks in swap for endorsing Napoles-linked foundations that obtained the allocations.
Like Napoles, Revilla’s former chief of staff, Richard Cambe, turned into found out guilty by the Sandiganbayan and sentenced to up to Forty years in jail.
Lawyer Theodore Te, a former spokesperson for the Supreme Court, commented on why the antigraft court docket integrated Revilla amongst of us that must pay P124 million as civil liability.
“[I] haven’t read the Revilla acquittal decision but; but when he turned into made to pay P124 million as civil liability, it capability that the Sandiganbayan simplest found out practical doubt as to his guilt but that the act of plunder, from which civil liability can also come up, exists and turned into confirmed,” Te stated in a post on Twitter.
Beyond practical doubt
Te renowned that the ruling reflected Section 2, Rule 120 of the Principles of Court, which states that in case of an acquittal, the judgment could presumably peaceful dispute whether the proof of the prosecution absolutely did no longer prove the guilt of the accused or merely did no longer prove his guilt previous practical doubt.
“In either case, the judgment shall decide if the act or omission from which the civil liability can also come up didn’t exist,” in accordance to the provide.
A staunch critic of the pork barrel system, Sen. Panfilo Lacson stated the court docket decision left him feeling “worn and defeated.”
But “as former colleague and pleasant friend, I am utterly elated for ex-Sen. Bong Revilla,” Lacson stated in a textual drawl material message to newshounds.
“As a legislator who is conscious of the justice system, I appreciate the decision of the Sandiganbayan for (the justices), better than somebody, agree with [a] better appreciation of the proof. On the extinguish of the day, life goes on. Same is correct with our particular person battles,” he stated.
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro stated Revilla’s acquittal “simplest showed the hypocrisy of the Duterte administration’s marketing campaign in opposition to corruption.”
“President Duterte acknowledged over and over that he will no longer enable corruption all the design in which via his length of time. He could presumably peaceful additionally kind sure those charged with corruption motivate their time and pay for their crimes in opposition to the oldsters,” Castro stated.
“(Revilla’s) acquittal … presentations the insincerity of the Duterte administration’s marketing campaign in opposition to corruption (as) fine fishes are allowed to wriggle free.”
Lawyer Levito Baligod, who earlier served as authorized counsel to pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy and stood as non-public complainant in the plunder case, stated he current the decision “because it’s the final result of the judicial route of that we agree with now.”
‘Plot so tainted’
“(It) doesn’t erase the truth, even supposing, that the PDAF (Priority Pattern Assistance Fund) of then Sen. Bong Revilla turned into misused in a design so tainted,” Baligod stated.
The Supreme Court in 2013 declared the PDAF, or pork barrel, unconstitutional and nullified the authorized guidelines that provided lawmakers lump-sum allocations to fund their chosen projects.
In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo stated the government branch had “persistently respected the independence of the judiciary” and would abide by the antigraft court docket’s decision.
“Regardless of the sentiments to the contrary, we agree with now to bow down to the judgment of the Sandiganbayan,” Panelo stated in a observation.
“While justice grinds so behind as a rule, it does grind, and when it stops, it renders a verdict that is exacting and immutable,” the Palace favorable stated. “Nonetheless, we present that either party, whether for the prosecution or the defense, who feels aggrieved of the decision could presumably peaceful pursue therapies available in the market under our procedural authorized guidelines.”
Panelo pressured out that the Duterte administration “takes stock of the teachings realized from cases challenging unconstitutional discretionary funds” and that the government “has implemented measures to make jog that the integrity of the national funds and its correct utilization for our folks.”
For Revilla’s allies, Friday’s historical ruling spelled vindication for the celeb-modified into politician.
Cavite Discover. Strike Revilla, the ex-senator’s younger brother, known because it the supreme Christmas gift for the household. “We are very utterly elated that truth prevailed.”
Gentle Leyte Discover. Martin Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) party, notion to be the acquittal a fine boost to Revilla’s comeback present in the 2019 midterm elections.
While peaceful in detention in October, Revilla, the Lakas-CMD chair, filed his certificates of candidacy for senator via his wife, Bacoor, Cavite Mayor Lani Mercado.
“The verdict is a neatly timed justice to (Revilla), a sufferer of political persecution by the old administration,” Romualdez stated.
“His acquittal simplest validates and proves that the plunder case in opposition to him is politically motivated. Sadly, the plunder case took away better than four years of his life,” he added. —REPORTS FROM DJ YAP, JEROME ANING, MARLON RAMOS AND JULIE M. AURELIO
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