"Not guilty" ang hatol ng Sandiganbayan First Division kay former Senator Bong Revilla Jr. sa kaso ng pandarambong o plunder na ibinintang laban sa kanya.
"Guilty" naman ang mga co-accused niya—ang businesswoman na si Janet Lim-Napoles at si Atty. Richard Cambe, ang former staff member ng actor-politician na hinatulan ng reclusion perpetua o habambuhay na pagkakakulong.
Ayon sa isang eyewitness, nagbunyi at nagpalakpakan ang mga tao sa loob ng Sandiganbayan nang marinig nila ang desisyon ng mga mahistrado tungkol sa plunder case ni Bong, pero sinaway sila ng mga sheriff.
Si Bong ay na-detain sa Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center mula noong June 2014 dahil sa kasong plunder at graft, kaugnay ng pagkakasangkot ng pangalan niya, kasama ang mga kapwa senador na sina Juan Ponce Enrile at Jinggoy Estrada, sa pork barrel scam.
Si Atty. Ramon Esguerra, legal counsel ni Bong, ang nagbigay ng paliwanag sa GMA News TV tungkol sa mga nangyari ngayon sa Sandiganbayan at sa mga susunod na hakbang nila dahil may graft cases pang haharapin ang kanyang kliyente.
Pahayag niya, "Unfortunately, accused Richard Cambe and Mrs. Janet Napoles were found guilty of the crime charged of plunder and they were sentenced to reclusion perpetua.
"In the case of Senator Bong, there was a split decision of the division of five justices.
"Three voted in favor of his acquittal for insufficiency of evidence and two voted for his conviction.
"So, for reason of that split decision favoring former Senator Bong, the court has no alternative but to have him acquitted.
"He cannot be held liable for insufficiency of evidence because the prosecution was not able to discharge his burden to prove the guilt of Senator Bong Revilla beyond unreasonable doubt.
"There is a part of the judgment ordering all the three accused including the senator to return P104 million, more or less.
"Of course," patuloy ni Atty. Esguerra, "that will be a subject of motion for reconsideration that we will file because if one is not criminally liable, then how can he be held civilly liable?
"That’s our position, and we need to sit down with Atty. Estelito Mendoza how he would like to proceed about this issue.
"There should be no civil liability if there is no criminal liability.
"Under the law, if a person is criminally liable, he is civilly liable.
"At the moment, the senator was found not criminally liable so there’s no basis for the civil liability.
"Ngayon pa lang, iaayos na namin ang piyansa niya para sa graft cases and we will do that today so he can get out of detention already by this afternoon.
"Pagkatapos ng mga piyansa at maaprubahan ito ng korte, the court will definitely issue an order of release and that would be authority on the part of the custodians of Senator Revilla to release him from detention.
Ayon pa sa abugado, "Siyempre, masaya siya [Bong] at nagpapasalamat tayo sa Panginoong Diyos.
"At si Senador naman, nakikita ninyo na tuwang-tuwa, kasama ang kanyang mga mahal sa buhay at nagpapasalamat din siya sa ating Panginoon."