Anti-graft court denies request to dismiss Revilla plunder case

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Revilla filed his motion to quash on February 6, 2017, days before his plunder trial was scheduled to begin. (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan on Thursday denied former Senator Bong Revilla's motion to quash a plunder charge over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.

The court's First Division ruled that Revilla's motion lacked merit.

"This court is thus constrained to deny the present motion to quash, which is unmistakably an afterthought and a feeble attempt to make up for a lost remedy," the resolution dated February 23, 2017 read.

Revilla filed his motion to quash on February 6, 2017, days before his plunder trial was scheduled to begin.

He argued the allegations against him are vague.

The Sandiganbayan, however, said the former senator should have filed a motion for a bill of particulars, rather than a motion to quash, if he had an issue with the supposed ambiguity of the charges.

"Indeed, when allegations in the information are vague or indefinite, the remedy of the accused is not a motion to quash but a motion for a bill of particulars," the court said.

It points out Revilla can no longer file a bill of particulars since this particular remedy is only available to an accused before his arraignment.

The former senator was arraigned on June 26, 2014, and the court said he never raised issues on the ambiguity of the charges then.

Revilla also argued the prosecution merely established he endorsed non-government organizations for projects coming from his pork barrel, but that it had no proof on his alleged pocketing of public funds.

The court said this argument is misleading.

"It was clear from the Information that the endorsement was part of the whole process, or as described in the information, it was 'under the following circumstances' of how kickbacks were allegedly repeatedly received by accused-movant from Napoles or her representatives," the court explained.

The ruling comes out on the same day the court was scheduled to hold its first trial day on Revilla's plunder case.

However, the trial was again reset, this time to March 30 due to Revilla's comments to trim down the list of evidence the prosecution will present in the course of the trial.

He also asked for time to file an appeal on the denial of his motion to quash.

This is the third resetting of Revilla's plunder case trial.

Revilla has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center since June 2014 over the pork scam plunder case.