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Philippine film star-turned-senator Ramon Revilla pleads not guilty to graft

Published on Jun 26, 2014 1:33 PM
This handout photo released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) shows Philippine Senator Ramon Bong Revilla (centre) having his fingerprints taken at the PNP headquarters before he is brought to his detention cell on June 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP  

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 South-east 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 ($6.3 million) 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.

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