The antigraft court docket on Thursday postponed the beginning of former Sen. Bong Revilla’s plunder trial to June 1, after each the prosecution and the protection requested extra time to research the proof they have been anticipated to current.
“I hope we can proceed with the trial already,” Sandiganbayan First Division Justice Efren dela Cruz mentioned.
The case continues to be hounded by numerous pretrial points. The court docket only in the near past denied Revilla’s requests to exclude the problem of ghost projects from the trial and convey the bail listening to witnesses again to the stand.
The pretrial order is but to be finalized, and with out it, there can be no tips to govern the presentation of proof on the trial.
This was the fifth time the beginning of trial was postponed, a proven fact that was not misplaced on Justice Geraldine Faith Econg who noticed that the pretrial stage has lasted greater than a 12 months at this level.
“The problem is, it has been more than a year of pretrial. The Court Upstairs might scold us again, why the pretrial has become protracted,” Econg instructed the legal professionals.
Office of the Special Prosecutor Director Joefferson Toribio mentioned the premarking and comparability of displays couldn’t be completed straight away as a result of a number of the Special Allotment Release Orders (Saros) for Revilla’s Priority Development Assistance Fund disbursements nonetheless have to be delivered from the Caraga administrative area.
He haggled for a minimum of 4 extra classes to full the preparation of proof. This would “ensure we do not have any more issues on the day of the trial” and keep away from one other postponement, he mentioned.
Econg instructed Toribio to maintain his dedication, and warned him that the court docket would now not entertain additional requests for an extension.
Dela Cruz mentioned the Thursday hearings would now begin on June 1 “to enable [the parties] to finally and once and for all complete the premarking and comparison of the exhibits.”
During the identical listening to, the court docket denied Revilla’s memorandum which sought to block the problem of ghost projects from being raised in the course of the trial for being irrelevant to his alleged receipt of P224.5 million in kickbacks.
Revilla’s camp, led by high protection lawyer Estelito Mendoza, identified that he was accused of receiving the commissions when he endorsed doubtful nongovernment organizations linked to Janet Lim-Napoles, manner earlier than the implementation of the projects.
On the opposite hand, state prosecutors had argued that the failure to implement the projects due to the diversion of funds was exactly how Napoles allegedly earned the funds to repay Revilla.
In open court docket, Dela Cruz cited “the prerogative of the prosecution” to thresh out the problem within the trial, even because the Revilla camp would slightly not have to cope with the 77 witnesses.
The Revilla camp additionally needed to recall the bail listening to witnesses, such because the pork barrel rip-off whistle-blowers and Commission on Audit Commissioner Susan Garcia, and grill them once more for his or her testimonies.
Prosecutors had requested to embody the abstract of the witness statements within the checklist of “stipulations” or agreed-upon information to expedite the trial, since they’d reiterate the identical testimonies anyway.
Since the Revilla camp wouldn’t settle for that so as not to concede the veracity of the statements, the court docket as a substitute opted for a slight tweak to the pretrial order.
Stipulations that aren’t disputed would fall below the heading “admissions of fact,” whereas a separate part referred to as “admissions” might be devoted to summarize the testimonies made earlier.
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