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PEOPLE VS RAMON “BONG” REVILLA, JR.

, (now the dissent) by making a parallel comparison of the facts


SB-14-CRM-0240 it found as “not sufficiently established”
DECEMBER 07, 2018
The conspiracy can best be fathomed by not just fixating on
isolated acts of the scam but by weaving them as a whole to
complete the entire picture on how the vast network congruently
J. GOMEZ-ESTOESTA’S DISSENTING OPINION
worked together to achieve their purpose of amassing,
“One need only turn a discerning eye, and not look the other accumulating, and acquiring wealth od such magnitude. The
way.” revelations of primary whistleblower Benhur Luy was only the
I vote for conviction, and without reservation, join the dissent tip of the iceberg. While it may have started it all, provoking even
of Justice De la Cruz. The avalanche of an acquittal will soon the most indifferent it was the astounding and overwhelming
fall, but let it not resound without these few words that hope to investigation, verification, and confirmation process exhausted
pierce through what is about to come. by different government agencies which concretized its
implications. Soon, the complicity of the PDAF scam was tested
With the majority opinion, Senator Revilla’s general defense of and uncovered to great lengths in: 1) FIO’s fact finding
denial, in the guise of forgery, was given the most credence, but investigation, as highlighted in the testimonies of the supposed
to a great fault. This consequential ruin runs deep, and may beneficiaries who denied having received any of the agricultural
eventually free a man once accused of having conspired in products or farm inputs and implements, per project listing in the
raiding the public treasury to hundreds of millions. His imminent PDAF allocation; 2) the government wide performance audit
freedom has dismally thrown away all evidence that once under COA Special Audit Report No. 2012-03; and the AMLC
forebode of repelling the scathing tale that never before of such Inquiry Report on the Bank Transactions Related to the Alleged
magnitude has been told. The whistleblower’s revelations of the Involvement of Sen. Ramon B. Bong Revilla Jr. in the PDAF Scam
PDAF scandal is the Pandora’s box that started it all. Yet, the ease submitted by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
which the main accused could be extricated from all this
complicity is one with far-reaching consequences. The weight of the evidence unveiled by these fact-finding
agencies are undeniably relevant and material in stabling the
Majority opinion chose to focus in downplaying the cause of the prosecution. Too potent, as a matter of fact, that it is
circumstantial evidence found as “proven” in the ponencia no wonder the even the majority opinion did not take these into

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considerations. The purpose of such investigations, however, is characteristic similarities, or dissimilarities, between that
not to lay them buried, but to have them assessed and evaluated. questioned handwritten and an authentic one.
A handwriting examination is not simple matter of making This is the reason why such writing examplars should first be
comparisons in the writing style, naked variations, strokes, “admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the
loops, and alignment in the signatures. evidence is offered, or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of
the judge” as provided by Section 22, Rule 132 of the Revised
In Lorenzo v. Diaz, the factors involved in examining
Rules on Evidence.
handwritings were identified and explained in these words:
Thus, before a court resorts to its own independent examination
x x x [T]he authenticity of questioned signature cannot be
of the handwriting, therefore, the ideal examplars should have
determined solely upon its general characteristics, similarities or
been sufficiently introduced for purposed of comparison of the
dissimilarities with the genuine signature. Dissimilarities as
genuine signatures as against that of the questions ones. Verily,
regards spontaneity, rhythm, pressure of the pen, loops in the
forgery cannot be presumed. It must be proved by clear,
strokes, signs of the stops, shades, etc., that may be found
positive and convincing evidence. The burden of proof lies in
between the questioned signature and the genuine one are not
the party alleging forgery. Did Senator Revilla thus succeed in
decisive on the question of the former’s authenticity. The result
proving that his signatures appearing in the questioned documents has
of examinations of questions handwriting, even with the benefit
been forged?
of aid of experts and scientific instruments, is, at best,
inconclusive. There are other factors that must be taken into Without the foundation having been sufficiently laid which
consideration. The position of the writer, the condition of the documents were the ideal examplars, the court could not have
surface on which the paper where the questioned signature is resorted to its own independent examination. The findings
written is placed, his state of mind, feelings and nerves, and the made in the majority opinion, therefore, are only inconclusive.
kind of pen and/or paper used, play an important role on the
It is next to impossible to cite direct positive acts or writings
general appearance of the signature. Unless, therefore, there is, in
showing that Senator Revilla authorized Atty. Cambe to
a given case, absolute absence, or manifest dearth, or direct or
receive his commissions, rebates or kickbacks or that Senator
circumstantial competent evidence on the character of a Revilla himself received his PDAF kickbacks direct from Atty.
questioned handwriting, much weight should not be given to Cambe. Conspiracy only thrives in secrecy.

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The PDAF scheme would have gone undetected, absent any allocation received by Napoles through her bogus NGOs which
positive act to admit to its commission, had it not been for the were sourced and given to Senator Revilla. The majority opinion
miscalculated slip committed by the grand designer which cut even gave its full assent to Napoles; conviction.
loose one tongue, then another, until all there is to know had been
revealed. The tell-all of whistleblowers Benhur K. Luy and Oddly, while the majority opinion thrived on speculating
Merlina P. Sunas was enough to unhook the secret that bled the whether the “various sums of money deposited in the accounts
public treasure for years. It is not, therefore, in the testimonial of Revilla as found by the Anti-Money Laundering Council
accounts of primary whistleblower Benhur K. Luy from which (AMLC) are the very same money from Napoles,” it did not
the crime of Plunder was alone established. There are virtually extricate Senator Revilla from civil liability found for all accused
much more. The manifold layers which hubbed from the in the [re-computed] amount of P124,500,000.00 which they
conspiracy may have been complex and great, but none too should answer for in the joint and several capacity. It only goes
intricate to avoid detection and validation. to say, therefore, that since all three accused were made to
As a whole, the unexplained wealth of Senator Revilla is one answer for the same civil liability, the source of the
glaring fact, left unrefuted, to gloss over. If this should not be accumulation of wealth as found in the criminal liability should
considered as the end-all to the PDAF conspiracy, where only be the same.
should this lead to instead?
I maintain therefore, that the judgment of conviction found in the
Why should be doubted that the various sums of money original ponencia could not have been titled to favor Senator
deposited in the accounts of Revilla are the “very same money Revilla’s acquittal since the Prosecution has presented solid
from Napoles” comes as a little off. Was it not Napoles herself evidence to prove his guilt for the crime of Plunder beyond
who caused the recording of these commissions, rebates or reasonable doubt.
kickbacks, found in Benhuy K. Luy’s ledgers?

Moreover, Benhur K. Luy’s DDRs found in his computed files are


covered by the Rules on electronic Evidence which provide that
these data entries, being business records, are expressly exempt
from the hearsay rule. Since the recorded entries indicate the
money trail to which the PDAF allocations were apportioned to,
it strongly remains that it is the very same funds from the PDAF

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