Revilla dapat magbayad ng P125-M civil damages

Hinimok ng Office of the Ombudsman ang Sandiganbayan na pagbayarin si dating Senador Ramon “Bong” Revilla ng P124.5 milyon bilang civil damages kahit napawalang sala pa siya sa kasong pangungulimbat kaugnay ng paggamit ng kanyang pork barrel funds.

Base sa 17 pahinang mosyon ng antigraft court’s First Division noong Enero 28, sinabi ng mga state prosecutor na kahit acquitted pa sa plunder si Revilla, hindi nangangahulugang wala na siyang civil liability dahil nangyari ang krimen sa loob ng kanyang tanggapan.

Iginiit ng mga ito na bagamat nadesisyonang walang sala si Revilla at na-convict naman ang kanyang chief of staff na si Richard Cambe at ang pork barrel scam mastermind na si Janet Lim-Napoles, tinukoy naman anila ng korte ang tatlo bilang mga akusado.

Subalit sa order ng pagbabayad sa civil damages, ginamit ng Sandiganbayan ang salitang “accused” nang walang distinksiyon.

Idinagdag pa ng mga prosecutor na tinanggap nila ito, ayon sa kanilang pang-unawa, na kasama si Revilla sa order para magbayad ng civil damages.

Nakapaloob sa desisyon ng plunder case na ang mga akusado ay “solidarily and jointly liable to return to the national treasury the amount of P124,500,000.”

“Had the court wanted to exclude Revilla, it could have simply and easily named Cambe and Napoles in the third paragraph, as it did in the first paragraph [of the decision]. It would not have used the collective term “accused” without exception and distinction,” anang prosecution.

“Courts can acquit an accused on reasonable doubt but still order payment of civil damages in the same case,” sabi naman ni Atty. Manuel T. Soriano Jr, ang namumuno sa mga prosecutor.

“As then senator of the Philippines, Revilla should be held accountable to return the amount of money bled out from the coffers of the government by the scheme and scam maneuvered by a public officer under his direct supervision and control,” dagdag pa ng grupo.

Iginiit pa ng mga ito na nagpabaya si Revilla sa kanyang tungkulin dahil pinahintulutan niyang mangyari ang pork barrel scam nang hindi niya “namamalayan”.

Gayunman, sinabi naman ng abogado ni Revilla na si Estelito Mendoza na hindi na maaaring utusan pang magbayad ng danyos ang kanyang kliyente dahil napawalang sala na ang dating senador.

“Our laws are supposed to be instruments of justice. In criminal cases, justice is served when the guilty party is found to have committed the offense charged beyond reasonable doubt, otherwise, he may not be punished by any measure,” pahayag ni Mendoza.

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