Sandiganbayan defers the five-hour furlough requested by Revilla for lack of supporting documents

By , on March 27, 2015

Sen. Ramon 'Bong' Revilla Jr. with wife Lani Mercado face the public on the night before he surrenders to PNP. Screenshot of Solar News footage.
Sen. Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. with wife Lani Mercado face the public on the night before he surrenders to PNP. Screenshot of Solar News footage.

MANILA – The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan deferred on Thursday the request of detained Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla for a five-hour furlough to attend his daughter’s graduation.

The Sandiganbayan First Division chaired by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz asked Revilla’s camp to submit additional supporting documents to prove that his daughter, Loudette, is graduating this school year and has four honors. The graduation is on March 28.

Government prosecutors have expressed skepticism in the argument that Revilla’s daughter is indeed graduating, noting that there is no proof that his daughter is a candidate for graduation.

“He should have, at the very least, substantiated his claim with proof that his daughter Loudette is indeed one of the candidates for graduation from De La Salle Zobel,” the prosecution said.

“Inasmuch as accused Revilla has not provided any basis to support his assertion, which claims remain unsubstantiated and self-serving, this Honorable Court is left with nothing for the purpose of evaluating the merits of the instant motion,” it added.

When the matter was discussed in open court, however, Revilla’s lawyers agreed to submit documents that would prove Loudette is indeed graduating with honors.

State lawyers handling the case of Revilla likewise asked the Sandiganbayan to reject Revilla’s request to attend the high school graduation of his daughter, saying to do so is tantamount to special treatment.

“If this Honorable Court accedes to Revilla’s request, it will grant him a special privilege that is not accorded to an ordinary prisoner and unduly create an impression to the public that accused Revilla, being a high-ranking public official, is a favored detainee,” the prosecutors said in a four-page opposition.

Revilla, who is detained in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam, has asked the court to allow him temporary liberty on March 28 to attend his daughter’s high school graduation.

Revilla is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City over allegations that he participated in the multibillion- peso pork barrel scam, which saw public funds diverted to bogus non-government organizations owned by alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.

In his motion, Revilla said his daughter will receive four awards, and that as a father, he would like to be present for the occasion.