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Sandiganbayan cancels Bong Revilla's graft trial due to Napoles conviction


The Sandiganbayan cancelled on Thursday the resumption of former Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.’s trial for 16 counts of graft over his alleged role in the pork barrel scam.

The First Division of the anti-graft court reset the hearing on March 14 since it has yet to receive a formal authority from the Supreme Court to conduct the proceedings at the Sandiganbayan premises.

Revilla, despite being acquitted of plunder last year, still stands accused for allegedly releasing P517 million of his pork barrel to National Agribusiness Corporation, the Technology Resource Center, and National Livelihood and Development Corp.

The funds were then allegedly funneled to fake non-government organizations of alleged scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles Napoles, currently incarcerated at the Correctional Institute for Women (CIW).

Revilla is running for senator anew in the May elections.

Napoles' conviction made her a “national prisoner” who needs SC approval to leave her cell to attend to her cases at the Sandiganbayan. Otherwise, the Sandiganbayan would conduct the proceedings at CIW.

This was the same reason the plunder trial against former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who is also seeking to return in the Senate, was cancelled last February 19.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin had said the SC allowed the request of the Sandiganbayan to allow Napoles to attend to her pork barrel and Malampaya fund scam cases. —KBK, GMA News

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