‘COURT HAS SPOKEN’ | Palace ‘bows down’ to Sandiganbayan verdict

1 week ago

(DECEMBER 7, 2018) – Malacañang on Friday said it would abide by Sandiganbayan’s decision finding pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and Richard Cambe guilty of plunder over the ten-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, the same ruling that cleared former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla of similar charges.

(READ ALSO: AFTER FOUR-YEAR WAIT | Revilla ‘cannot be held liable’ in PDAF scam – Sandiganbayan)

“The court has spoken and the Palace abides by its decision. [R]egardless of the sentiments to the contrary, we have to bow down to the judgement of the Sandiganbayan,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

The Palace official said the cases were “lessons learned” for the administration, noting that it has implemented measures to counter misuse of national funds.

“The judiciary has performed its constitutional duty of dispensing justice. While justice grinds so slow most of the time, it does grind, and when it stops it renders a verdict that is exacting immutable,” he said.

But other prominent names were not happy about the anti-graft court’s verdict.

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan questioned the “irony” of Revilla’s acquittal.
“Paano naging not guilty kung inuutusang ibalik ang pera? Mahirap unawaain ang naging pasya,” he said. “Paano naging guilty ang nanuhol pero not guilty ang sinuhulan?”

For his part, former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te questioned the consistency of the ruling on Revilla.

“Haven’t read the Revilla acquittal decision yet; BUT if he was made to pay P124M as civil liability, it means that the SB only found reasonable doubt as to his guilt but that the act of plunder, from which civil liability might arise, exists and was proven,” he wrote on Twitter.

Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus likewise slammed Sandiganbayan’s decision, saying the cases were already questionable from the time that Revilla’s co-accused were allowed to post bail.

“The fact that (Juan Ponce) Enrile and (Jinggoy) Estrada were both allowed to post bail prior to Bong Revilla’s trial warned us of the case’s trajectory: that big politicians will be exonerated while accomplices will be the ones pinned down,” she said in a statement.

‘UUWI NA KAMI’

Meanwhile, friends and family of Revilla are nothing but thankful to his supporters during his four-year legal battle at the anti-graft court.

“Uuwi na kami ni Papa! Kumpleto na ulit ang pamilya namin sa aming bahay. Maraming maraming salamat sa lahat ng nagdasal para sa kanyang paglaya.The truth will always prevail,” Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla, the former senator’s son, posted on Facebook.

Revilla’s wife and Bacoor, Cavite mayor Lani Mercado was teary-eyed, saying her husband had “missed a lot” during his four years in prison.

The former senator’s co-accused Estrada, who is currently out on bail, said he was happy about his friend’s acquittal.

Asked if other PDAF cases would follow suit, Estrada said he did not want to preempt the ruling of Sandiganbayan but expressed hope that he would walk the same fate as Revilla.