MANILA — The government prosecution panel filed separate motions on Monday to suspend from their Senate posts Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada who are both respondents in the plunder cases pending before the Sandiganbayan.
In their four-page motion, the prosecution asked the Sandiganbayan First and Fifth Divisions to suspend Revilla and Estrada, respectively.
Under the plunder law (Republic Act No. 7080, as amended), any public officer against whom a criminal prosecution under a valid information for plunder is pending in court shall be suspended from office.
Jurisprudence sets the period of suspension pendente lite (preventive suspension) at 90 days.
The Office of the Ombudsman asked the Sandiganbayan First Division to suspend Revilla and his employee, Richard Cambe, another plunder case accused who is occupying the position of Director III in his office.
In the pleading before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division, the prosecution asked to suspend Estrada and his deputy chief of staff, Pauline Labayen.
Cambe surrendered to authorities while Labayen went on hiding.
There was no motion for the suspension of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who was also charged with plunder and graft cases for allegedly pocketing P172 million in pork barrel funds, because the Sandiganbayan Third Division has yet to determine whether probable cause exists which will be the basis if warrant of arrest will follow.
Estrada, who did not enter any plea, which prompted the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division to enter a not guilty plea in his behalf, was accused of pocketing public funds through kickbacks and commissions from pork barrel funds in the amount of more than Php 183-million in conspiracy with other respondents.
Revilla, who also did not enter any plea, was accused of pocketing Php 224 million in pork barrel funds.
Estrada and Revilla surrendered to authorities and are currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.