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Ombudsman won’t appeal Revilla’s acquittal

July 8, 2021 Joel dela Torre 317 views

THE Office of the Ombudsman will no longer appeal the acquittal of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla against the remaining 16 graft charges he is facing in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Ombudsman Samuel Martirez said his office has rested its case against Revilla following a Sandiganbayan decision clearing the actor-turned politician from all cases slapped against him.

The Sandiganbayan acquitted the Senator for insufficiency of evidence in connection with the graft charges alleging him of diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for the years 2006 to 2009 to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) linked to Janet Lim Napoles.

In the complaints, Revilla was accused of pocketing P224.5 million to which the actor-politician’s camp claimed to be fabricated.

“The recent Sandiganbayan decision has just proven right what the entire Lakas-CMD family believe all along – that our party chairman – Senator Bong Revilla – is innocent of all trumped-up charges leveled against him,” Pangasinan Rep. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia said.

According to the ruling penned by Associate Justice Geraldine Econg, the Sandiganbayan First Division acquitted Revilla on 16 counts of graft for allegedly diverting his PDAF to bogus NGOs controlled by businesswoman (Janet) Napoles. The SB First Division also voted 3-2 to grant Senator Revilla’s demurrer to evidence to which the Ombudsman said it respects the decision.

A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the groud of insufficiency of evidence. The grant of the court of the demurrer is tantamount to an acquittal because the defendant is cleared of the criminal case and is no longer required to present his evidence.

In a statement, the Office of the Ombudsman said: “Consistent with the defendant’s constitutional right against double jeopardy, Ombudsman Samuel Martires sets the policy of no longer challenging the dismissal of cases/quashal of information and judgments of acquittal, either through a motion to dismiss, a demurrer to evidence or by a decision, rendered by the trial courts or the Sandiganbayan except when the People was clearly deprived of due process or there was mistrial.”