Ex-Revilla aide wants marathon hearings of PDAF cases-A A +A
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
A CO-ACCUSED of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. in the plunder and graft cases related to the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to allow marathon hearings at the Sandiganbayan so that it can hand down a verdict within six months from the start of trial.
At the same time, lawyer Richard Cambe said in a comment to the SC that he is in favor of the Office of the Ombudsman's proposal for the creation of special divisions to try, hear and decide on cases regarding the alleged misuse of PDAF.
Cambe, who once served as Revilla's political adviser, suggested three special divisions, with each court assigned to "consolidate and hear all cases of one specific group of alleged conspirators."
To illustrate, only one division should handle the cases against Revilla and his co-accused. The two other senators implicated in the scam are Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.
Cambe proposed a daily hearing on the cases and extend the trial hours after 5 p.m. He also said the special divisions must limit the number of witnesses and block attempts to postpone hearings.
The Sandiganbayan has opposed the creation of special divisions, saying this will be unfair for the accused in PDAF cases and other "equally important" cases being handled by the justices.
The SC has no decision yet on the Ombudsman's request pending receipt of other comments from concerned parties.
Cambe allegedly acted on behalf of Revilla in the transactions involving the diversion of the lawmaker's pork barrel to businesswoman Janet Napoles' fake non-government organizations (NGOs) that carried out ghost projects.
Revilla pocketed as much as P242 million from the transactions, according to complainant Office of the Ombudsman.
The cases against Revilla, Cambe and 29 others landed on the Sandiganbayan First Division chaired by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz with Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos as members.
On Tuesday, the Sandiganbayan issued a hold departure order (HDO) against Revilla and his co-accused to prevent them from leaving the country while the cases are still being resolved.
A case in the Sandiganbayan takes about an average of five to eight years to finish. (Sunnex)