Lawyer and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla’s former staffer, Richard Cambe, died last Thursday while serving a 40-year jail sentence at New Bilibid Prison.
According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, he suffered a stroke, after which he was brought to a hospital in Muntinlupa City where he passed away.
Cambe was convicted of plunder three years earlier in connection to the 2013 pork barrel scandal where P224 million from senators’ Priority Development Assistance Funds were siphoned away to shell NGOs, a plan masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, who was also sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Cambe was earlier accused of receiving kickbacks for Revilla, and was found guilty. He, however, denied these allegations and called his signatures that appeared on PDAF documents forgeries.
He also denied that he had contact with chief informant Benhur Luy, who testified that he personally turned over money to Cambe.
Revilla, who was also accused, did not suffer the same fate, as the Sandiganbayan said that the prosecution was unable to provide sufficient proof of his involvement.
There was public outcry against his acquittal; but as trial witnesses only claimed that Cambe received these kickbacks and not the senator himself, the court said that Revilla might not have known about this arrangement or that his aide may have kept the money for himself.
Despite his exoneration, the solon has yet to give back P124 million to the national coffers as ordered by the court.
According to Bureau of Corrections spokesman Gabriel Chaclag, there appeared to be no signs of foul play “so far.”
“[Cambe’s family] requested that their privacy be respected. So we can only confirm that he died of stroke,” Chaclag added.
Photo: Philippine Star