Senator Revilla faces jail time Today
The first high-profile surrender in the PDAF plunder investigations unravelled today as Senator Bong Revilla appeared before Sandiganbayan a few hours ago and is now in Camp Crame where he will be detained.
Yesterday, Sandiganbayan found probable cause against the senator on charges of graft and plunder. Before noon today it signed a warrant of arrest against the senator along with 32 others. Revilla has made the long journey from his home in Cavite to Sandiganbayan in Quezon City early this morning in a tinted van that also carried his family and siblings.
Revilla was greeted by to a mob of media men at the Sandiganbayan around 11:00am. While there, his lawyers filed a motion for bail and requested the court to send him to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Centre in Camp Crame for his detention. Their group left the Sandiganbayan around 12:30pm and arrived 30 minutes later at Camp Crame.
While undergoing booking procedures, including a medical check, Revilla asked for time to be with his family: Cavite congresswoman Lani Mercado, sons Jolo and Bryan, daughter Loudette and Gianna and grandson. His mugshots and fingerprints have already been taken.
Dressed in a white shirt, Revilla earlier told media ‘I will go to jail with my head held high, and I will come out with my head held high.’ The senator has been thanking his family and supporters since Wednesday and has consistently declared his innocence of the charges: ‘Lalabas ang katotohanan at maaabswelto tayo dito.’
His fears of being shamed by being handcuffed and dragged to jail did not happen. However, colleague and fellow PDAF scam suspect Senator Jinggoy Estrada had earlier warned his friend that the worst of the process would be the time in jail, saying being alone in jail is sad.
Senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile were earlier charged with graft and plunder for their alleged connection to the Php10b PDAF scam. The senators will be tried in separate Sandiganbayan courts under different judges. The arrest warrants for Estrada and Enrile are yet to be released.
As Revilla’s arrest was being processed, Enrile and Estrada’s camps had filed separate motions for determination of probable cause early today at the Sandiganbayan. They argued that an arrest warrant cannot be issued without probable cause and that probable cause cannot be determined by the court immediately.
Despite their move to suspend their cases, Enrile and Estrada have said that they were ready to face jail once an arrest warrant is issued.