MANILA — Shortly after the arrest warrants were signed, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. turned himself in to the Sandiganbayan with his family and supporters.
The senator, who was seen smiling throughout the proceedings that followed after he voluntarily submitted himself to the anti-graft court, was with his wife Rep. Lani Mercado and son Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla.
“This is voluntary submission. Surrender is when there is a warrant of arrest,” Revilla’s lead defense counsel Joel Bodegon told reporters.
The police, led by Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), escorted the senator in the booking procedures including the taking of his mug shot and fingerprint samples at the Security and Sheriffs and Services Office of the Sandiganbayan.
The senator was charged with plunder, a non-bailable offense for his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam where he was accused of receiving kickbacks from the alleged pork scam mastermind, Janet Lim Napoles.
Revilla’s lead defense counsel, however, defended his clients denying the allegations and saying that they are to file a petition for bail as there is no strong evidence against the senator.
“He did not receive any kickbacks, even a cent. He did not get anything from that scam. The availment of his fund under the PDAF was all legal,” he said.
Adding that the whistle-blowers’ testimonies are weak, Bodegan said they found no strong evidence in that would directly link the senator to the scam.
“The evidence against him is weak. Actually, there is no case against him. So we want the prosecution to show the court that they really have strong evidence because there is none,” Bodegon said.