The Sandiganbayan has dismissed the graft complaints filed against Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in connection with the infamous pork barrel scam.
However, the court denied the plea of Janet Lim-Napoles to have the charges against her dismissed.
In a resolution promulgated on July 1, 2021, the Sandiganbayan Special First Division granted Revilla’s demurrer to evidence and dismissed the 16 counts of graft filed against him for lack of evidence.
A demurrer to evidence challenges the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution during trial, and asking for its dismissal.
The senator was accused of receiving kickbacks from Janet Lim-Napoles but the court said that “remained uncertain after the presentation of evidence by the prosecution.”
Revilla was accused of giving his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to organizations controlled by Napoles, and the senator was accused of receiving kickbacks from the latter.
“The glaring absence of evidence proving that Revilla directly received the proceeds from the PDAF projects or any money from accused Napoles that motivated him to give her and her [non-government organizations] unwarranted advantage to the detriment of the government, cannot be ignored by this Court,” the Sandiganbayan said.
“The continued lack of evidence that would prove beyond reasonable doubt accused Revilla’s involvement in these PDAF transactions leads to a conclusion not different from that reached in the plunder case,” it added.