MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Sandiganbayan First Division on Monday ordered the suspension of Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. and his senior staff, Atty. Richard Cambe, for 90 days in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam.
“Accused Revilla and Cambe are hereby suspended from their respective positions as Senator and Director III of Senator Revilla’s office, and from any other public office which he may now or hereafter be holding for a period of ninety (90) days from notice,” the three-page minute resolution read.
The resolution was signed by Fifth Division chairperson Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, Associate Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada, and Associate Justice Rafeal Lagos.
Detained at the PNP Custodial Center since his surrender on June 20, Revilla is accused of allegedly receiving P224.5 million in kickbacks from 2006 to 2010 from alleged pork barrel scam brains, Janet Lim-Napoles.
Both Revilla and Cambe are facing plunder and graft charges over the alleged pork barrel scam. Cambe is also detained at the PNP Custodial Center.
Government prosecutors earlier asked the anti-graft court to suspend Revilla and Cambe as they have already been arraigned, making the criminal information filed by the state prosecutors valid.
“In view of the arraignment of the accused and that validity of the Information in the instant case is no longer in question, and invoking the clear mandate of the law, suspension of both accused pending litigation is now mandatory,” the motion stated.
According to the resolution, however, the suspension will only be implemented once the order is deemed final.
“The President of the Sentate shall implement the order once he has been notified of the finality hereof,” it said.
Revilla and Cambe have two weeks to file a motion for reconsideration of the suspension.
The anti-graft court had earlier ordered the suspension of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who are also detained on plunder and graft charges over the alleged pork barrel scam.
But the Senate has yet to implement the two orders, saying the earlier rulings were not yet final.
In seeking the suspension of Revilla and Cambe, government prosecutors cited Section 5 of Republic Act 7080 states that public officers charged with plunder “shall be suspended from office. Should he be convicted by final judgment, he shall lose all retirement or gratuity benefits under any law.”
They said Revilla’s continued stay in office “may frustrate the prosecution of the crime, if not prejudice the case filed against him.
“To prevent the accused from committing further acts of malfeasance, tamper with documentary evidence and intimidate or influence witnesses in the case, it is necessary that the accused be suspended from office while thy case is pending in court,” they said. (MNS)