Revilla: Aquino personally asked me to convict Corona

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Monday, January 20, 2014

MANILA -- Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. finally broke his silence on Monday on his alleged participation in the pork barrel fund scam.

In a privilege speech, the actor turned politician denied that he funneled his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the fake non-government organizations ran by businesswoman Janet Napoles.

Revilla said his signatures were forged, adding that those responsible for doing it will be answerable before the proper court.

The movie actor is one of the three senators and dozens other respondents facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the pork barrel fund controversy.

In his speech, Revilla revealed that President Benigno Aquino III personally asked him to vote against former Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona during the former magistrate's impeachment trial.

"Kung nagawa pa ito ni PNoy (Aquino) kay CJ (Chief Justice) Corona ay pwede rin niya maimpluwenisyahan ang Ombudsman at Sandiganbayan laban sa aming nina Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile at Sen. Jinggoy Estrada." Revilla said.

He revealed that then Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas II, whom he tagged as "boy pick-up," invited him personally to meet the President.

Bong Revilla
MANILA. Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. on Monday said President Benigno Aquino III personally asked him to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona during the latter's impeachment trial. (Al Padilla/Sunnex)

He revealed that Roxas drove him from Cubao in Quezon City to Aquino's residence at Bahay Pangarap in Malacanang where he personally took some pictures as evidence.

"Mismong ang Presidente ang nakiusap sa akin at sinabing pare ibalato mo na lang sa akin ito," Revilla said, pertaining to the conviction of Corona.

The senator, however, clarified that he maintained his decency and voted based on what he think is right and used his own conscience.

Revilla tagged the charges against him as political prosecution after he refused to support the candidacy of another political candidate in Cavite.

"Doon po yun nagsimula nung hindi ko pinagbigyan suportahan sa pagka governador ang kanyang kandidato sa Cavite," said Revilla.

Earlier, it was reported that Revilla acknowledged to the Commission on Audit that he approved the release of his pork barrel funds to foundations that were later alleged to have engaged in dubious deals with organizations controlled by Napoles.

According to the report, Revilla's admission is contained in July 8, 2011, letter to Assistant Commissioner Arcadio B. Cuenco Jr.

Revilla, however, maintained that his signature and those of his representatives were forged.

"Hindi po totoo yan. Lahat po yan ay gawa gawa lamang ni Boy Pirma na kilala bilang si Benhur Luy na siyang nagmamaniobra ng mga pirma sa mga pork," Revilla said.

Meanwhile, Revilla called pork scam whistleblower Benhur Luy as "a complete liar and manipulator," as the senator denied the accusations that his chief of staff, lawyer Richard Cambe, received millions of bribes from Napoles. Cambe was out of the country on the dates mentioned by Luy in his ledger, he said.

Revilla attacked the testimony of Luy as totally false, saying "Falsus in uno, Falsus in omnibus -- false in one, false in all. Sinungalins sa isa, sinungaling sa lahat!"

Revilla said he opted to deliver his privilege speech at the resumption of the Senate on Monday, January 20, to clear issues regarding the misappropriation of his pork barrel allocation and due to the fact that it is already destroying his whole being and the name of his family.

"Kung ano po ang mayroon at at ang aking pamilya, ang lahat po ng ito ay pinaghirapan ko sa magdamag na shooting ng daang pelikula maghapon at magdamag. Nasasaktan niyo na po kami ng husto pati ang buo kong pamilya. para po kaming unti unting pinapatay," Revilla stressed.

The senator suspects that the political persecution being employed by the present administration is meant to destroy its enemies in time for the 2016 presidential elections.

"Kagaya po ng Kay Grace Padaca (Comelec Commissioner and former Isabela Governor) kung saan ay mismong Pangulong Aquino pa ang nagpiyansa. Nahaharap din po siya sa kasong katiwalian. Hindi po ba pwedeng magkaroon din kami ng patas na trato gaya ni Padaca. Hindi pa rin po kami convicted gaya niya," said Revilla.

The senator criticized the Aquino administration for prioritizing politics instead of focusing on more important issues.

The Revilla clan led by his father, former senator Ramon Revilla Sr., his wife Cavite Representative Lani Mercado, their children Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla, Brian, Ina, Rodette and his grandson were all present to give their moral support to the senator.

In the complaint the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed before the Office of the Ombudsman last September, Revilla was accused of earning the most kickbacks from PDAF allocations of P224.51 million.

Revilla had filed before the Ombudsman two separate counter-affidavits with counter-charges for plunder against principal whistleblower Benhur Luy and his cohorts and the responsible officers of the implementing agencies.

In his own counter-affidavit, Senator Jinggoy Estrada refuted plunder charges filed against himself and his colleagues by the NBI, saying it was nothing more than a high level political ploy to undermine the opposition in light of the coming 2016 national elections.

Along with Estrada, Revilla and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile charged with plunder were Napoles and 34 other individuals.

Earlier in his privilege speech, Estrada denied that he amassed, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth and that he has no participation or knowledge in the transfer of any amounts forming part of his PDAF allocation to anyone other than the legally intended beneficiaries. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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