By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Sandiganbayan First Division has given the camp of former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. a period of 20 days, or until February 19, for it to file its comment to the motion for execution of judgment filed by the prosecution on January 23.
In its Jan. 23 motion, the prosecution urged the anti-graft court to hold Revilla civilly liable and for him to return P124,500,000 to the national treasury pursuant to Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code.
Revilla’s lawyers, headed by Estelito Mendoza, said they received the motion only on Jan. 29 and are asking for more time to comment on the “unprecedented issues raised.”
Revilla was acquitted last Dec. 7 of a plunder charge in relation to the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam, while his staff, Richard Cambe, and Janet Lim Napoles, were convicted.
The accused were “held solidarily and jointly liable” to return the P124.5 million. The 186-page decision failed to indicate who among them should pay.
Revilla’s lawyers insisted that he should not pay anything back because he never received any kickbacks from his PDAF endorsement. On the other hand, the prosecution argued that Revilla and Cambe set in motion the fraudulent acts that robbed the government of its funds.
“In this regard, it must be noted that these letters of Revilla to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and [former] President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, including the so-called project listings containing, among others, the Napoles-proposed projects, triggered the initial payment of the kickback or commission,” the prosecution said.
Since Revilla was accountable for the funds, the prosecution said he should have been more careful with how taxpayer money was being spent.