Revilla directed to comment on P124.5-million liability

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By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

THE SANDIGANBAYAN first division on Thursday granted the camp of former senator Ramon B. Revilla, Jr. 20 days to comment on the prosecution’s motion asking to hold him civilly liable, in relation to his plunder case.

The graft court was acting on the motion of Mr. Revilla’s legal counsel to be allowed to respond within the said period, beginning Jan. 31 to Feb. 19, 2019.

Lawyer Estelito P. Mendoza said he received the prosecution’s motion on Jan. 29, only two days before a scheduled hearing on Jan. 31.

“Regretfully, undersigned lead counsel would be unable to attend the hearing scheduled at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow,” Mr. Mendoza’s motion dated Jan. 30 read in part. “Nor considering the alleged facts, and the unprecendented issues raised have adequate time to prepare and file a comment thereon.”

The issue stemmed from the Ombudsman’s motion asking the court to compel Mr. Revilla to pay P124.5 million, despite the its decision to convict only co-accused Richard A. Cambe and Janet Lim-Napoles.

The Dec. 7 decision read “accused are held solidarily and jointly liable to return to the National Treasury the amount of P124,500,000.”

The prosecutors had argued that the former senator should pay, considering that his negligence allowed Ms. Napoles and Mr. Cambe to conspire in the multi-billion “pork barrel” scam. The court gave them 10 days to reply, upon receipt of Mr. Revilla’s comment, if needed.