Sandiganbayan fails to sign warrants of arrest vs Revilla, 31 others

By on June 20, 2014

Sandiganbayan Building along Commonwealth, Quezon City. Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.
Sandiganbayan Building along Commonwealth, Quezon City. Photo courtesy of DGR Law Offices.

MANILA — No arrest can be done after Sandiganbayan failed to issue warrants of arrest against Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla and his co-respondents after the anti-graft court issued a resolution finding probable cause for their involvement in the pork barrel scam.

This after Sandiganbayan First Division Chairman Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, Associate Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos failed to sign the warrants of arrest against Revilla and other co-accused in the multi-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Earlier, Revilla filed an omnibus motion seeking a complete record of the preliminary investigation, a judicial determination of probable cause and dismissal of the charges and the suspension of proceedings based on prejudicial question as an alternative relief.

After the Sandiganbayan First Division reviewed the omnibus motion, they found that there is probable cause which means they can now issue warrants of arrest to all respondents anytime from now.

“It appears that sufficient grounds exist for the finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest against the accused charged in the instant case,” the resolution released by First Division and read by Clerk of Court Atty. Estella Teresita Rosete.

Among those co-respondents of Revilla were:

Mario Relampagos, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) undersecretary; Richard Cambe, Revilla’s chief of staff; Antonio Ortiz and Dennis Cunanan, former Technology Resource Center directors-general; Allan Javellana, former National Agribusiness Corp. president; Gondelina Amata, President of National Livelihood Development Corporation; Marivic Jover, Francisco Figura and Ma. Rosalinda Lacsamana, all TRC employees; Rhodora Mendoza, Victor Cacal, Maria Ninez Guanizo and Maria Julie Villarolvo-Johnson, all Nabcor employees; Emmanuel Sevidal, Sofia Cruz, Chita Jalandoni, Evelyn Sucgang and Gregoria Buenaventura, NLDC employees; Evelyn De Leon, president of the Philippine Social Development Foundation, one of the nongovernmental organizations set up by Napoles; John Raymond de Asis, Napoles’ employee; Ronald John Lim, Napoles’ nephew; Marilou Bare, Rosario Nunez, and Lalaine Paule, DBM officials; Myla Ogerio, Eulogio Rodriguez, Laarni Uy, Consuelo Espiritu, Encarnita Munsod, Ofelia Ordonez, and Jocelyn Piorato.

Napoles, the alleged mastermind behind the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam was named respondent in the three separate plunder cases and her 42 counts of graft were scattered in three Sandiganbayan divisions.

“The separate motions for judicial determination of probable cause filed by accused Revilla, Richard Cambe, Mario Relampagos, Rosario Nunez, Lalaine Paule, and Marilou Bare, Ronald Lim and Janet Lim Napoles were also resolved as the Court finds probable cause for the purpose of issuing warrants of arrest against them,” the resolution further read.

“Accordingly, the court will deny their prayer to dismiss the case and/or suspend proceedings and/or defer issuance if warrant of arrest grounded on lack of probable cause,” it added.