The Ombudsman said Thursday it would no longer appeal the Sandiganbayan's decision acquitting Sen. Bong Revilla Jr. of his graft cases in relation to his alleged misuse of millions of pesos in pork barrel or discretionary funds.
The anti-graft body said it respected the Sandiganbayan Special First Division's ruling to grant the demurrer to evidence filed by Revilla and dismiss the remaining 16 counts of graft against him for insufficiency of evidence.
To protect the accused's right against double jeopardy, Ombudsman Samuel Martires set a policy to no longer challenge dismissal of cases and judgments of acquittal rendered by trial courts or the Sandiganbayan "except when the People was clearly deprived of due process or there was mistrial," it added.
Revilla faced plunder and graft charges after he allegedly pocketed millions in kickbacks from diverting his Priority Development Assistance Fund allocations to fake non-government organizations linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
The court said Revilla's endorsements to NGOs associated with Napoles were "merely recommendatory" and did not "command nor compel the implementing agencies to award the projects to the recommended NGOs."
It also said no other witness or co-accused was able to conclusively show that Revilla received money from Napoles or her representatives.
In 2018, the Sandiganbayan also acquitted Revilla of plunder still in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Revilla said the dismissal of his remaining pork barrel cases showed that all the accusations against him were baseless.
"I am not, and never have been involved in graft and corruption. This is the reason why I did not run; I did not hide; and did not evade the judicial system. I put my trust and my life in our Courts," he said.