Revilla lawyer warned for giving media interviews

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

THE Sandiganbayan first division warned Thursday the lead counsel of detained Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. that it would impose gag order on him if he continues to air his opinions to the media.

During Revilla's pre-trial, Sandigabayan first division chairperson Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz said the senator's lawyer Joel Bodegon should not discuss the cases before the media because he is violating the sub judice rule.

Dela Cruz told Boedegon that the anti-graft court would be compelled to impose gag order should he continue to voice his opinion on the merits of the cases through media interviews.

“We are not happy that your are giving interviews to the media. You are giving opinion to the merits of the case. That is subjudice,” said Dela Cruz.

Associate Justice Rafael Lagos, a senior member of the First Division agreed with De la Cruz, adding that Bodegon's media interviews are affecting the court proceedings.

In response, Bodegon vowed to heed the concerns raised by the justices.

Revilla, who is facing plunder and graft charges, allegedly pocketed P242 million in pork barrel funds through commission and kickbacks in conspiracy with other respondents. He is now detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

The prosecution's motion to suspend Revilla and his co-accused Richard Cambe from office was submitted for resolution on Thursday and the court gave the defense 10 days to comment on the motion.

The petition of former Technology Resource Center director general on-leave Dennis Cunanan, Revilla's co-accused in the graft cases, to travel abroad was also submitted for resolution.

Meanwhile in the same hearing, the anti-graft court denied the motion for bail filed by Ronald John Lim and Raymund de Asis since they are still both at large.

"As the accused (Ronald John Lim and Raymund de Asis) are still at-large, this joint petition for bail is denied," said dela Cruz on rejecting the joint bail petition of Lim and de Asis who claimed that the evidence against them were weak.

The first division has scheduled on July 10 the hearing for the bail petition of alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, another accused in the plunder case.

Napoles is now detained at Fort Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, for the serious illegal detention of pork barrel scam whistleblower Benhur Luy. (Sunnex)

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