Home > News > World
Thursday June 26, 2014 MYT 1:25:02 PM
Thursday June 26, 2014 MYT 1:26:24 PM
MANILA (Reuters) - A popular Philippine action movie hero-turned senator pleaded not guilty to plunder on Thursday in a case seen as landmark test of the government's ability to tackle entrenched corruption in the poor Southeast Asian nation.
Ramon "Bong" Revilla, known for possessing amulets to defeat his enemies in film, stood quietly with about 20 other co-accused during the arraignment hearing. "Not guilty" one of the three judges said when they did not hear him enter a plea.
The opposition senator faces life imprisonment if found guilty of pocketing 224 million pesos (3 million pounds) from 2007 to 2010 from congressional funds. Revilla is being held at a police camp.
The plunder trial is central to President Benigno Aquino's effort to shed the country's image as one of the most corrupt in Asia.
The court set Revilla's first hearing for July 10.
Two other opposition senators are facing similar plunder charges. Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, son of former president and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, will be arraigned next week.
Juan Ponce Enrile, a 90-year-old former senate president and hero of People Power revolt against the dictatorship in 1986, is appealing to avoid detention due to his age and poor health.
Prosecutors, citing government-commissioned reports and witness testimony, said the three senators had siphoned off funds to non-existent non-government organizations for agricultural projects.
(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
Colombia's Santos calls for deadline on FARC peace talks
China building airstrip in disputed South China Sea
Former president defiant as humanitarian toll mounts in Yemen war
Obama: Europe should keep Russia sanctions until Minsk accord implemented
Trillions of dollars needed for new bid to end poverty by 2030
Merkel to tackle refugee surge as tensions in Germany grow
Muslim tourism is a promising market
Runners defy odds to complete Malaysia’s toughest ultramarathon
Web Wanders: Spotlight on the good
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)