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The P10 billion ‘pork barrel’ case: A timeline

Senator Bong Revilla. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Today, December 7, 2018, the Sandiganbayan will render its verdict on the first pork barrel scam case filed against a Senator.

Will former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. be convicted or acquitted on charges of plunder and graft? His fate lies in the hands of the Sandiganbayan First Division who has included two more justices to decide on the verdict.

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This was how this case came about:

September 16, 2013

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The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against then Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada.

April 1, 2014

The Ombudsman issued a resolution indicting Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged “pork barrel” mastermind, and the three senators of plunder and graft in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

June 5, 2014

The Ombudsman denied the motion for reconsideration filed Napoles, Revilla, Enrile and Estrada.

“Evidently, the motions for reconsideration are rehashes of the arguments previously raised by them and already resolved by this office,” said the Ombudsman.

June 6, 2014

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The Ombudsman filed plunder cases before the Sandiganbayan against Napoles and the three senators.

June 9, 2014

The Ombudsman filed 16 counts of graft against Revilla.

While the filing of cases against him is ongoing at the Sandiganbayan, at the Senate, Revilla delivered “Salamat Kaibigan” privilege speech, his sort of farewell speech saying he will face the cases against him head on and expressing his readiness to go to jail.

He also called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to do his job with love instead of focusing on prosecuting members of the opposition.

June 13, 2014

Sandiganbayan raffled the cases against the three senators. The first division chaired by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz will handle the Revilla case.

June 19, 2014

Revilla asked the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the Sandiganbayan from hearing the plunder and graft cases against him, saying the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion and his rights to due process have been violated when the Ombudsman denied his request that he be given copies of evidence against him so he can properly air his side.

June 20, 2014

The Sandiganbayan First Division ordered the arrest of Revilla, Napoles, and their co-accused.

Revilla immediately surrendered and filed a motion to allow him to post bail.

He then proceeded to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame where he was processed – medical exam, booking procedures.

Sandiganbayan issues a commitment order, saying he will be detained at the PNP Custodial Center.

June 25, 2014

The Ombudsman filed a motion to amend the plunder complaint against Revilla.

June 26, 2014

Revilla Jr. refused to enter a plea on his plunder case in connection with the pork barrel scam, prompting the Sandiganbayan to enter a not guilty plea on Revilla’s behalf.

June 30, 2014

Special prosecutors asked the Sandiganbayan to suspend Revilla from office.

Citing Section 5 of Republic Act 7080 or the Plunder Law, the Office of the Special Prosecutor through Deputy Special Prosecutor John Turalba said “any public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information under this act shall be suspended from office…”

July 9, 2014

The pre-trial conference of Revilla’s case commenced.

July 17, 2014

The Sandiganbayan conducted a hearing on Revilla’s motion to post bail.

July 24, 2014

Whistleblower Benhur Luy, for the first time, testified in court. He said Revilla has been dealing with Napoles since 2006.

Revilla described Luy’s testimony as a “bad script.”

August 4, 2014

The Sandiganbayan issued an order suspending Revilla for 90 days.

August 14, 2014

Luy admitted to receiving a total of P3.4 million kickbacks while working for his cousin Napoles.

However, he also admitted not personally seeing Revilla sign any document or receive commission from dealings with Napoles.

November 13, 2014

The Sandiganbayan granted Revilla’s motion to undergo medical check-up at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City from November 17 to 18.

Revilla underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance angiogram of the brain, plain lumbosacral MRI, cardiac work-up, electrocardiography and 2D-Echo, stress test, and blood chemistry.

December 2, 2014

The Sandiganbayan denied Revilla’s bail plea.

In a 71-page ruling, the court said the prosecution was able to prove that the evidence of guilt is strong against the Senator.

“In fine, the prosecution has duly established that there exists strong evidence that accused Revilla, Cambe and Napoles, in conspiracy with one another, committed the capital offense of plunder… and are thus not entitled to the constitutional right to bail,” the court said.

But the court clarified that its decision does not necessarily mean the accused will be convicted.

February 5, 2015

The Sandiganbayan ordered the garnishment of P224.5 million worth of Revilla’s assets that were believed to be product of kickbacks from his PDAF fund as senator.

Government prosecutors sought the garnishment of the senator’s assets to make sure he cannot stash it away while the plunder trial is ongoing.

A garnishment has similar effect of a freeze order.

July 10, 2015

The Sandiganbayan granted the request of government prosecutors to expand the coverage of its freeze order on Revilla’s assets to include properties registered using his other names.

In a resolution, the antigraft court First Division included in its preliminary writ of attachment properties under the names Jose Marie Bautista: Revilla Jr. Ramon, Bong, Jose Marie M. Bautista, Jose Marie Mortel Bautista, Ramon Bong Jr. Bautista, Ramon Bong Bautista, and Bautista Jose Marie.

The court also ordered to include the joint properties of Revilla with his wife, then Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, as well as properties under Mercado Lani Hernandez, whose other names include Bautista Jesusa Victoria, Jesusa Victoria H. Bautista, and Lani Mercado Revilla.

The court used as basis in issuing the order a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) stating that Revilla and his wife legally changed their names in 2009. Revilla changed his name from Ramon B. Revilla Jr. to Ramon “Bong” B. Revilla Jr. Meanwhile, Mercado also changed her name from Jesusa Victoria Garcia Hernandez to Lani Hernandez Mercado.

July 14, 2015

The Sandiganbayan granted Revilla’s request to visit his ailing father, action star and former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.

December 6, 2016

The SC denied Revilla’s bid to have the plunder case against him dismissed.

Voting 13-1, the SC decided to junk Revilla’s petition filed in June 2014 that sought to stop his trial in the Sandiganbayan and void the plunder and graft cases filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman.

February 14, 2017

The SC denied with finality the bid of Revilla for the dismissal of the P224-million plunder case against him.

June 22, 2017

The trial proper on the plunder case against Revilla and his co-accused started.

January 21, 2018

Revilla filed another petition before the SC accusing the Sandiganbayan of violating his rights as an accused when his motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence as well as his motion to quash and motions for reconsideration have been dismissed by the anti-graft court.

March 21, 2018

Revilla filed an urgent motion before the SC to stop the Sandiganbayan from conducting further proceeding in the plunder case filed against him.

He said the Sandiganbayan has compelled him to present evidence for his defense specifically against the 5,134 pieces of evidence it has admitted.

But Revilla said none of the 5,134 pieces of evidence has shown that the basic elements of plunder exist.

June 28, 2018

Marina Sula, who was supposed to be a government witness being under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) revealed in open court that she was coached by the prosecution to corroborate the testimony of Luy against Revilla.

“Wala pong alam si Sen. Revilla sa pag-prepare ng mga endorsement letters,” Sula said adding that it was Luy who forged the signatures of Revilla.

July 24, 2018

The SC affirms the legality of the order issued by the Sandiganbayan to freeze more than P200 million assets of Revilla.

The Court said the Sandiganbayan did not did not commit grave abuse of  discretion in issuing a writ of preliminary attachment on Revilla’s monies and properties on February 5, 2015.

August 9, 2018

The Sandiganbayan First Division wrapped up Revilla’s plunder trial.

September 2018

The Sandiganbayan First Division has submitted Revilla’s plunder case for resolution.

December 2018

The Sandiganbayan has created a division of five to rule on the plunder case against Revilla.  /kga

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