MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. arrived at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Thursday, June 26, for his arraignment of plunder and graft charges in connection with the pork barrel scam.
The First Division of the Sandiganbayan entered a not guilty plea for Revilla after the senator refused to enter any plea.
On the other hand, two of his co-accused in the plunder charges — his former chief of staff Richard Cambe and alleged pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles — entered a plea of “not guilty.”
Revilla, who is facing one count of plunder and 16 counts of graft, is accused of collecting P224.512 million kickbacks from his Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).
Revilla denied stealing public funds, saying that he earns good money from his career as an actor.
After the arraignment, he spoke to the media for a brief moment, declaring his love for the country.
“Mahal ko kayong mga Pilipino,” he said but was cut short by the police who tugged him away from reporters.
At 2:45 p.m., after his court appearance, Revilla was taken back to his detention cell.
It is important to note that Revilla was not in orange garb and no handcuffs when he arrived at the Sandiganbayan premises.
Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office chief, explained that detainees are only required to wear the orange prison uniform and handcuffed if they were considered flight risks.
“Revilla voluntarily surrendered so the chance of him escaping is very unlikely,” Sindac said in a press briefing.
KLYTE FAYE VELOSO
LNU ABCOM INTERN