The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday said it will present its former lead lawyer to challenge the recantation of pork barrel whistleblower Marina Sula’s claim against former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in the plunder suit he is facing.
Ombudsman’s Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval said the prosecution panel would present former director Joefferson Toribio, now a judge in Tarlac City, to be a rebuttal witness in August.
He said they are just waiting for Revilla, who has been detained at Camp Crame for almost four years, and the other accused to complete their formal offers of evidence.
“We’ll call him and present him as rebuttal witness. I understand… The witness [Sula] all the while thought he [Toribio] was no longer with us, and that he was in a far away place. Maybe, that’s what she thinks. She said she was coached but we will see when Judge Toribio testifies,” he said.
Earlier, Sula accused the Ombudsman’s lead prosecutor of coaching her previous testimonies in the plunder trial of Revilla.
During last week’s hearing at the Sandiganbayan’s First Division, Sula claimed it was whistleblower Benhur Luy who falsified Revilla’s signature on several documents, such as endorsement letters, that had paved the way for the release of the senator’s Priority Development Assistance Fund to finance ghost projects supposedly organized by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
She said Toribio coached her to corroborate the testimony of Luy to prevent conflicting statements against Revilla over his alleged receipt of P224 million worth of kickbacks from Napoles.
To prove his innocence of graft and plunder, Revilla presented Sula, Merlina Sunas and Mary Arlene Baltazar as hostile witness.
Sandoval, for his part, said the prosecution remained unfazed by Sula’s recantation, saying they have a strong case against the former senator.
“The documentary evidence is very overwhelming, although I’m refraining from discussing it because it’s sub judice,” he said.