Arraignment for Revilla, Napoles underway

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The arraignment of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. and businesswoman Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam, before the Sandiganbayan is underway.

Revilla and Napoles, who arrived at the Sandiganbayan first division together with co-accused Richard Cambe around 7:30 a.m., are expected to enter not guilty pleas on the plunder and graft charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The arraignment started at 8:30 a.m.

His wife Bacoor City Representative Lani Mercado and his brother Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla accompanied the senator.

Revilla allegedly received P224-million in kickbacks by channeling his PDAF allocations to the fake non-government organizations of Napoles.

He surrendered to authorities after the first division, which found probable cause on his charges, signed his arrest warrant last Friday.

Revilla is being held at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame while Napoles has been detained at the Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for the serious illegal detention of Benhur Luy, the main whistleblower in the PDAF scam.

Revilla's co-accused, Senator Jinggoy Estrada set to be arraigned on Monday, June 30, before the Sandiganbayan. Estrada turned himself in to authorities shortly after the court signed his arrest warrant for plunder and graft charges last Monday.

The anti-graft court, meanwhile, has yet to rule on the motions filed by Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, a co-accused in the plunder and graft charges, as the senator maintained his innocence.

In addition, the PNP has been preparing for 90-year-old Enrile's possible hospital arrest. (ABC/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

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