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Whistleblower's testimony elates Revilla camp.

The lawyer of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. yesterday thanked whistleblower Merlina Sunas for her testimony before the Sandiganbayan First Division where she admitted that she never personally saw the lawmaker receiving money for transactions related to the pork barrel scam.

"So para sa amin nagpapasalamat kami kay Mrs. Sunas sa kanyang tulong sa depensa ni Senador Bong Revilla (So for us we are thanking Sunas for her help in the defense of Revilla)," Atty. Joel Bodegon, Revilla's lawyer told reporters after the whistleblower ended her testimony at the First Division yesterday.

During yesterday's hearing on the bail petition of Revilla and his co-accused Atty. Richard Cambe and alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, Sunas admitted during cross examination that she never saw Revilla receiving money during transactions for the release of his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) controlled by Napoles.

Sunas, however, testified that she personally saw Cambe, Revilla's chief of staff, receive money on behalf of the Senator on four occasions inside the JLN Corporation office in Ortigas, Pasig City.

In 2006, Sunas said Cambe received money on two separate occasions from her and Napoles.

In 2008, Sunas claimed that Cambe received P5 million and P10 million from fellow whistleblower Benhur Luy. She added that she had helped count the money in those two occasions.

When asked by Third Division Associate Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada how she came to the conclusion that the senator eventually received the money handed over to Cambe, Sunas said she overheard a telephone conversation between Napoles and Revilla confirming the transaction.

Apart from this, she recalled that the NGO People's Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc. (POPDFI), where she was named president by Napoles, was not engaged in any projects that involved the release of Revilla's PDAF.

With the testimony of Sunas, Bodegon pointed out that "kinumpirma niya na hindi naman niya binigay deretso kay Senator Revilla yung pera sa pamamagitan ni Atty. Cambe (She confirmed that money was not directly given to Revilla)."

"At yung sinasabi niya na na-confirm na natanggap ay hearsay evidence rin so walang weight iyon (When she said that Revilla confirmed he received money is hearsay so the testimony has no weight)," the lawyer added.

Apart from this, she recalled that the NGO People's Organization for Progress and Development Foundation Inc. (POPDFI), where she was named president by Napoles, was not engaged in any projects that involved the release of Revilla's PDAF.

Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, however, explained that the presentation of Sunas was intended to show, among others, that Revilla repeatedly endorsed the NGOs of Napoles.

Justiniano explained that the presentation of Sunas was intended to show, among others, that Revilla repeatedly endorsed the NGOs of Napoles.

Ang tanong bakit niya paulit-ulit na in-endorse iyong mga NGO. Ano ba ang special reason (The question is why did he repeatedly endorse the NGOs. What are the special reasons?)," the undersecretary said.

Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, who is part of the prosecution team, admitted that "wala naman sinabi si Sunas na talagang nakita niya na tumanggap ng pera si Senator Revilla (Sunas did not say that she did not see Revilla receive money)."

Justiniano explained that the presentation of Sunas was intended to show, among others, that Revilla repeatdely endorsed the NGOs of Napoles.

"Ang tanong bakit niya paulit-ulit na in-endorse iyong mga NGO. Ano ba ang special reason (The question is why did he repeatedly endorse the NGOs. What are the special reasons)," Justiniano said.

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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Sep 18, 2014
Words:585
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