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Revilla plunder trial deferred for 5th time

For the fifth time the plunder trial of detained former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. was canceled anew due to unmark documents that have yet to arrive in Manila from Region XIII.
This got the ire of the justices of the Sandiganbayan and told both the prosecution and defense panels to finish the marking and comparison of documentary exhibits that would be used for the proceedings.
The reaction of the justices came after acting Director of Prosecution Bureau lll Joefferson Toribio said that they have yet to compare the exhibits since some of the Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs) have yet to be delivered.
This prompted Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg to dare Toribio to swear on his lawyer’s oath to finish the marking soon and noted that they don’t want to hear again such thing that the documents are in Region XIII.
The lawyers and the clerk of court huddled to determine the additional preliminary conferences for the marking of the documentary evidence as they have limited time since the court will has its team building in the first week of May which is just two weeks away.
First Division chairman Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz reset the trial proper to June 1 after pre-trial conferences were set on April 27, 28 and May 8 after consulting with both panels.
Revilla then was ordered by the court to appear on May 25 for the signing of pre-trial order before the trial proper which has been reset five times since the case of plunder and graft was handled by the division in 2014.
Likewise, Associate Justice Geraldine Econg issued a warning to the prosecution and defense panels handling the case of the former senator that the “court upstairs” may again call their attention for the continued delays in the said case.
She said that they might be scolded by the court upstairs with the pre-trial is protracted.
Revilla is charged with plunder and 16 counts of graft before the anti-graft court for allegedly pocketing P224.5 million worth of kickbacks from ghost projects under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) from 2006 to 2010.
The pork allocations of Revilla were allegedly funneled to bogus non-governmental organizations closely identified with trader Janet Lim-Napoles.
Justice de la Cruz, on the other hand, warned both parties that it would be their last chance to once and for all complete the marking and comparison of exhibits in April and May.
The first schedule of the plunder trial of Revilla was set by the court on January 12 but it was canceled and reset on February 9, 23, March 30 and April 30 due to various excuses of both panels.

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