The Sandiganbayan’s First Division on Thursday asked the camp of former Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. 20 days to comment on the prosecution’s motion that he owes the government millions of pesos due to his dismissed plunder case.
The court believes Revilla is still allegedly liable, along with plunder convicts businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles and lawyer Richard Cambe, to return to the government some P124.5 million.
Revilla’s lead counsel, lawyer Estelito Mendoza, welcomed the anti-graft court’s order, saying the 20-day period will allow them to respond to the motion.
After granting the request, Sandiganbayan First Division chairperson Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz ordered the prosecution to comment 10 days upon filing of Revilla’s response.
Earlier, the prosecution said the Sandiganbayan ruling purportedly did not specify Revilla is free of any civil liability after he was acquitted from plunder case last December.
“[The decision was] based merely on reasonable doubt and not due to the absolute failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt,” said the prosecution.
“Had the Court wanted to exclude Revilla, it could have simply and easily named Cambe and Napoles in the third paragraph, as it did in the first paragraph. It would not have used the collective term accused without exception and distinction,” said the prosecution.
But Ramon Esguerra, Revilla’s lawyer, expressed belief that the senatorial candidate was not among those “accused” in the plunder case that were ordered by Sandiganbayan First Division to return to the government some P124.5 million.
Esguerra said Revilla was acquitted for failure of the prosecution to present enough evidence.
“There is no basis for them to actually find Senator Bong criminally liable. Then very clearly, (he) is not civilly liable,” said Esguerra.