The event at the Sandigan courtroom was so surreal-even nauseating for the right reason. It looks like an episode from “Kap’s Amazing Story” with the lead character, the accused himself, grinning as if he has swallowed the proverbial canary.
With a decision that seemed to “tear and strain to rhyme,” it sets free the Kap in a plunder case that brought him behind bars for a good four years.
Stripped of its legalese, the Sandigan majority decision says that the ” brains of the scam are guilty but not the recipient of the bribe”, as headlined by the Inquirer. This defies human experience. Richard Cambe, his co-accused, is the Senator’s Chief of Staff, his alter ego in and out of the Senate Chamber. How then could he operate with that huge amount of money below the Senator’s radar? Either the seasoned Revilla is outright dumb or he was simply playing dumb as he enjoys the fruits of Cambe’s labor.
But the three Sandigan justices who voted for his acquittal would not hear of it, insisting instead on the failure of the Prosecution to prove the former Senator’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, the majority decision speaks in probabilities and possibilities as it acquits Revilla. It observed that “the sums received by Cambe for Revilla was received by the latter is just a mere possibility”. The ruling further said that ” the opposite scenario that the monies received by Cambe was not given to Revilla but was kept by him is also a possibility”.
But where then is the money which the Sandigan ordered the accused to return? It was Justice Estoesta in her dissenting opinion who gave credence to the AMLC Report of the “irrefutable burgeoning wealth of Sen. Revilla”. This was on account of the numerous deposits made by members of his family amounting to P87.63 million within 30 days of the dates mentioned in the ledgers of Napoles. But the majority opinion looked the other way as it demanded proof that the money indeed came from Napoles.
It will take sometime before the public could make heads or tails of the decision. But given the public’s short memory span, it will not be surprising to see a resurgent Revilla cavorting with the public as he seeks a new mandate as Senator.
History teaches us that we never learn from its lessons. We simply re-cast events and recycle personalities, who otherwise, should have landed in its dustbin. PDAF scam which has consumed public attention for some time is an offshoot of the perennial pork barrel which every year finds its resurrection in the national budget. As a lump-sum appropriation, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional. But it has several permutations which show how ingenious and creative our lawmakers are inputting lard in the budget. Every year, pork barrel is the unspoken elephant in the room which only Senator Ping Lacson has valiantly fought. And with Revilla’s nauseating escape from conviction, the public is given a front row seat of how public funds ended in private pockets.
Sadly, while his co-accused will spend almost a lifetime in jail, Revilla is free to the consternation of his once adoring public.
Personal: Merry Christmas to all readers of Restless Wind. May you have peace and joy in this season of hope, and may it last all through the years!
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