BONG REVILLA WILL DEBUNK 'PORK' RAPS IN PRIVILEGE SPEECH

Battle lines are drawn anew at the Senate during the resumption of regular session of Congress today as Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. is expected to break his silence on allegations that he amassed millions from his pork barrel funds. Revilla’s counsel Joel Bodegon said the senator is expected to answer the allegations that he pocketed millions from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) appropriations from 2007 to 2010. He said Revilla will also take the opportunity to answer the allegations of whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy that he siphoned off PDAF funds to his personal accounts in the years before the 2010 presidential elections. “In the main, it is to clear his name and affirm his commitment to the truth in the face of the false allegations against him,” Bodegon said. Bodegon added Revilla remains firm in his stand that Luy and his former colleagues should be held accountable for their actions. “More importantly, he wants those responsible, particularly the whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy, prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added.

ALSO: PNoy met with Revilla but did not meddle in Corona trial - Palace

Malacañang confirmed on Monday that President Benigno Aquino III met with Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. but denied that the chief executive interfered in the Corona impeachment trial. Communications Sec. Sonny Coloma said Aquino indeed met with Revilla at Bahay Pangarap but only "to verify persistent reports that the senators were being pressured by interest groups to influence the outcome of the impeachment trial" "[The President] asked the senator to decide the case on the basis of its merits. The Senator said that he will do what is right—and he voted to convict then Chief Justice Corona," Coloma said. Earlier on Monday, Revilla said in his privilege speech that he was invited to secretly meet with Aquino, Interior and Local Secretary Mar Roxas and Budget Sec. Butch Abad before the Senate voted to convict Corona in 2012. He claimed that the President then personally asked him to vote in favor of the conviction of the ousted magistrate. “Pare, parang awa mo na, ibalato mo nasa akin ito. Kailangan siyang ma-impeach,” the senator quoted the President as saying. But Coloma said the President made no such statement. He said Revilla should just explain to the public how he used his pork barrel funds.

ALSO: Revilla throws mud at PNoy; denies 'pork' allegation

'Aquino asked me to convict Corona' Senator Bong Revilla Jr. on Monday turned the tables against the Aquino administration as he again denied involvement in the alleged pork barrel scam. In a televised privilege speech, Revilla fired back criticisms at the Aquino administration, among them was about the President's alleged interference in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Senate. Revilla said he secretly met with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and President Aquino before the Senate voted to convict Corona in 2012. He said Roxas, whom he called "Boy Pickup," first invited him to his house in Cubao in Quezon City. Revilla said the Interior Secretary then drove him personally to Malacañang for a breakfast and meeting with the President and Abad. He claimed that the President then personally asked him to vote in favor of the conviction. “Pare, parang awa mo na, ibalato mo nasa akin ito. Kailangan siyang ma-impeach,” the senator quoted the President as saying.

ALSO: ‘PNoy meddled in Corona Trial’ Palace Denies Rap, Tells Revilla To Explain How His PDAF Was Spent

Revilla, who is linked to the P10-billion pork barrel scam, aired the allegation in a privilege speech at the resumption of Senate session yesterday. He likewise accused the President of politically persecuting him and revealed a litany of other allegations against the Aquino government. “I have already accepted whatever fate has in store for me. I have already accepted this political persecution and I will face whatever comes next. I am not afraid. Hindi ako natatakot. I have already surrendered my fate to God,” Revilla said as he completely denied allegations that he profited financially from the controversial P10-billion pork barrel scam. READ MORE BELOW...

ALSO: Revilla lambasts Aquino, denies ‘pork’ allegations


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BONG REVILLA WILL DEBUNK 'PORK' RAPS IN PRIVILEGE SPEECH

MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2014 (PHILSTAR) Battle lines are drawn anew at the Senate during the resumption of regular session of Congress today as Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. is expected to break his silence on allegations that he amassed millions from his pork barrel funds.

Revilla’s counsel Joel Bodegon said the senator is expected to answer the allegations that he pocketed millions from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) appropriations from 2007 to 2010.

He said Revilla will also take the opportunity to answer the allegations of whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy that he siphoned off PDAF funds to his personal accounts in the years before the 2010 presidential elections.

“In the main, it is to clear his name and affirm his commitment to the truth in the face of the false allegations against him,” Bodegon said.

Bodegon added Revilla remains firm in his stand that Luy and his former colleagues should be held accountable for their actions.

“More importantly, he wants those responsible, particularly the whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy, prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added.

Luy and his former colleagues at the JNL Corp. owned by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles admitted falsifying documents to ensure releases of funds of lawmakers to spurious non-government organizations (NGOs).

Revilla denied having transacted with Napoles, who was accused of allegedly siphoning off the pork barrel funds of lawmakers through fake NGOs.

Revilla filed counter-affidavits before the Ombudsman last Jan. 16 in relation with the pork barrel controversy. The Ombudsman is expected to issue rulings on the pork barrel-related cases anytime soon.

Revilla, who topped the past senatorial elections, will also be decrying political persecution, a position also shared by fellow Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

Bodegon said Revilla has long maintained that he has “been the subject of political persecution when he stated that he wants to run for president in 2016.”

Bodegon, however, refused to elaborate further on Revilla’s privilege speech but a member of the senator’s staff revealed it would be about PDAF and “the truth about the allegations.”

Revilla, in a text message to The STAR last night, sought for prayers in his privilege speech.

“Tuloy tayo bukas. (We will do it tomorrow). Please pray for me,” he said.

Revilla early on admitted that he and his family have been severely affected, even distraught, by the accusations.

“I have worked for what I have in my life as an actor and a politician. There is no truth to the allegations. (All my wealth) are hard-earned, all product of my sweat and perseverance,” Revilla said in Filipino.

Revilla, along with opposition Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Estrada, is facing plunder charges before the Ombudsman, which had directed the three respondents to answer the charges filed by the Department of Justice against them.

Estrada also decried political persecution, adding that the filing of plunder charges were “nothing more than a high-level political ploy to undermine the opposition.”

Estrada said he had no hand in the implementation of projects under the PDAF, and that his participation was limited to identifying a project from a menu of projects for funding as provided by law.

Estrada said his endorsements of NGOs came from a limited list of duly and previously accredited.

Palace: PNoy met with Revilla but did not meddle in Corona trial

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang confirmed on Monday that President Benigno Aquino III met with Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. but denied that the chief executive interfered in the Corona impeachment trial.

Communications Sec. Sonny Coloma said Aquino indeed met with Revilla at Bahay Pangarap but only "to verify persistent reports that the senators were being pressured by interest groups to influence the outcome of the impeachment trial"

"[The President] asked the senator to decide the case on the basis of its merits. The Senator said that he will do what is right—and he voted to convict then Chief Justice Corona," Coloma said.

Earlier on Monday, Revilla said in his privilege speech that he was invited to secretly meet with Aquino, Interior and Local Secretary Mar Roxas and Budget Sec. Butch Abad before the Senate voted to convict Corona in 2012.

He claimed that the President then personally asked him to vote in favor of the conviction of the ousted magistrate.

“Pare, parang awa mo na, ibalato mo nasa akin ito. Kailangan siyang ma-impeach,” the senator quoted the President as saying.

But Coloma said the President made no such statement.

He said Revilla should just explain to the public how he used his pork barrel funds.

"The main issue here is the proper use of public funds for which Senator Revilla is accountable. It is his duty to start explaining to our people how his PDAF allocation was actually spent," Coloma said.

"Hindi lamang piso-piso ang sangkot dito, daan-daang milyon po ang sangkot sa usaping ito, at may karapatan po ang mga Pilipino na malaman kung paano ginamit ang pondo ng bayan na nakalaan doon sa PDAF ni Senator Revilla," he added.

Revilla has been accused of getting kickbacks in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam, which supposedly channeled lawmakers' funds to fake non-government organizations.

In a statement, Roxas also denied Revilla's claims and urged his former colleague not to divert the issue.

"[H]indi solusyon sa problema niya ang paglilihis ng isyu, pagbaluktot sa katotohanan at panloloko ng tao," Roxas said. "Sagutin na lamang niya ang mga sinabi ng mga testigo laban sa kanya at ipaliwanag na lamang niya ang mga dokumentong nag-uugnay sa kanya sa Napoles scam."

The interior chief also sees nothing wrong with their meeting with Revilla, saying it is only "natural" for Aquino to meet with high-ranking government officials as the country's President.

Roxas admitted that he drove Revilla to the meeting with PNoy since the the actor-politician wanted to meet the President.

"Dati kaming magkasama ni Senator Bong sa Senado kaya nang iparating niya na mayroon siyang gustong i-take-up sa Pangulo kasama ang Cityhood ng Bacoor at ang kanyang pagiging Pangulo ng Partido Lakas, gumawa ako ng paraan para magkausap sila.

"Noong oras na iyon, wala sa Malakanyang at nasa Bahay Pangarap ang Pangulo. Para matugunan ang reglamento ng PSG at hindi na maaberya si Senator Bong, ako na ang nagmaneho ng sasakyan papunta sa Bahay Pangarap," Roxas said.

REVILLA THROWS MUD AT PNoy; DENIES 'PORK' ALLEGATION


'Aquino asked me to convict Corona'

MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) Senator Bong Revilla Jr. on Monday turned the tables against the Aquino administration as he again denied involvement in the alleged pork barrel scam.

In a televised privilege speech, Revilla fired back criticisms at the Aquino administration, among them was about the President's alleged interference in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Senate.

Revilla said he secretly met with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and President Aquino before the Senate voted to convict Corona in 2012.

He said Roxas, whom he called "Boy Pickup," first invited him to his house in Cubao in Quezon City.

Revilla said the Interior Secretary then drove him personally to Malacañang for a breakfast and meeting with the President and Abad.

He claimed that the President then personally asked him to vote in favor of the conviction.

“Pare, parang awa mo na, ibalato mo nasa akin ito. Kailangan siyang ma-impeach,” the senator quoted the President as saying.

Revilla said Abad allegedly added: "Magtulungan tayo, senador."

While feeling pressured by the President's request, Revilla said he promised nothing and only told the President that he will do "what is right."

In his speech, however, Revilla questioned whether it was right for the President to interfere in the impeachment proceedings at the upper house.

"Ginoong Pangulo, kung pag-uusapan lang naman po natin ang tama at mali, tama po ba na habang nililitis ang dating Chief Justice na si Renato Corona ay kailangang makialam ang mismong Pangulo ng Republika sa isang prosesong legal na dapat ay independyente?" Revilla asked.

'Is this the Daang Matuwid?'

Revilla also attacked the Aquino administration for allegedly using the pork barrel scam to cover up its supposed failures.

“Gusto ko pong ipaabot sa mga minamahal nating mga kababayan na lahat ng ito ay isang palabas lamang ng gobyernong nabigong maglingkod nang totohanan sa publiko at nagkukunwaring may malasakit sa bayan gamit ang propagandang tuwid na daan," Revilla said.

The actor-politican also assailed the Aquino administration over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program and the supposed shortcomings in the government's relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon "Yolanda."

He also cried of "harassment" from the Aquino administration, saying politics was behind the allegations hurled against him.

"Is this the Daang Matuwid?" Revilla repeatedly said this in Filipino in his speech.

Like Senators Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, Revilla is facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing pork barrel funds that were diverted to bogus non-government organizations supposedly set up by Napoles.

But Revilla once again denied hand in the pork barrel scam as he asked for a chance to clear his name.

"For the record, I have nothing to do with this scam, those whistleblowers, nor Janet Lim-Napoles. I have no dealings or transactions with them," Revilla said

The senator said he did not sign the documentary evidence presented by the government and by the alleged scam whistleblowers.

He said the signatures were forged by key whistleblower Benhur Luy whom he called as "Boy Pirma," adding that there there was a "SARO Gang" in government offices involved in the controversy.

Revilla also denied that a certain lawyer identified as Richard Cambe was his chief of staff and received money on his behalf, as claimed by Luy.

"Kung humahaba lang ang ilong ni Benhur Luy na yan, malamang umabot na ang ilong niya mula dito sa Senado hanggang sa Malacanang," he said.

FROM MANILA BULLETIN

‘PNoy meddled in Corona Trial’ Palace Denies Rap, Tells Revilla To Explain How His PDAF Was Spent by Genalyn D. Kabiling and Madel Sabater-Namit January 21, 2014

Manila, Philippines – Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. yesterday accused President Benigno S. Aquino III of meddling in the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. denied Revilla’s allegations, saying President Aquino merely asked the senator to decide on the merits of the Corona case.


Manila Bulletin REVILLA’S BATTLE – Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. delivers a privilege speech in the Senate, denying allegations he pocketed millions from his Priority Development Assistance Fund appropriations from 2007 to 2010. Revilla is one of three senators – the two others are former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Jinggoy Estrada – facing plunder complaints for allegedly siphoning off their PDAF to fake non-government organizations of supposed mastermind Janet Lim Napoles in exchange for commissions. (Photo by Tony Pionilla)

Revilla, who is linked to the P10-billion pork barrel scam, aired the allegation in a privilege speech at the resumption of Senate session yesterday. He likewise accused the President of politically persecuting him and revealed a litany of other allegations against the Aquino government.

“I have already accepted whatever fate has in store for me. I have already accepted this political persecution and I will face whatever comes next. I am not afraid. Hindi ako natatakot. I have already surrendered my fate to God,” Revilla said as he completely denied allegations that he profited financially from the controversial P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Don’t Divert Issue

But Coloma called on the senator to address the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds leveled against him rather than diverting the issue.

“The main issue here is the proper use of public funds for which Senator Revilla is accountable. It is his duty to start explaining to our people how his PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) allocation was actually spent,” Coloma said.

In his speech in the presence of his wheelchair-bound father, former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr., and other members of his family, the younger Revilla revealed how he was taken by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II to the Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang where President Aquino allegedly tried to convince him to vote for the impeachment of Corona, a statement denied by Coloma.

The senator from Cavite recalled that he rode in a vehicle owned by a Cabinet member whose protocol license plate had been detached and driven by Roxas himself to Malacañang. Revilla said he was asked by Roxas to stay at the back seat probably to hide him.

After a breakfast in Malacañang, Revilla said he was surprised when the President asked the senator to side with him against the then Chief Justice.

‘Parang Awa Mo Na’

“Pare, parang awa mo na, ibalato mo na sa akin ito. Kailangan siya ma-impeach,” Revilla quoted the President as saying.

“Magtulungan tayo, senator. (Let us help each other),” Revilla quoted Budget Secretary Florencio Abad as saying after the President’s statement.

Revilla recalled telling the President that he would do what is right and that his decision should be for the Filipino people.

“Wala pong salitang ‘ibalato mo na lang sa akin ito’ – wala pong ganoon,” Coloma said.

Not long after Corona was convicted by majority of the senators, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada revealed that Malacañang had given tens of millions of funds, later identified by Abad as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), to senators supposedly for voting to oust Corona.

If a Philippine President could meddle in an impeachment trial by the Senate, a co-equal body, he (the President) could also influence the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan, Revilla said.

Revilla, a movie actor, also said Malacañang had allegedly tried to influence the Supreme Court to declare as constitutional the controversial multi-billion-peso DAP, which he described as the President’s own pork barrel.

“Di ba tinatakot pa ang mga justices na ma-impeach sila at balita pa na yung DAP mismo ang ginamit sa impeachment noon? Habit-forming na po ito, Mr. President,” he said.

“We have all been witnesses to a calibrated plan of piece meal and serial revelations to create a bandwagon of hatred,” he said.

“I, including my family and children, have been vilified and demonized in media. Kawawa naman po and aking buong pamilya,” he said.

He also accused his political enemies of taking hook, line, and sinker the allegations of whistleblower Benhur Luy in accusing him of plunder when they know that Luy is an expert forger.

‘Boy Pick Up’

Revilla tagged Luy as “Boy Pirma,” and Roxas as “Boy Pick Up,” apparently for bringing him to Malacañang.

The senator, a possible opposition presidential candidate in 2016, said that while the government is soft on its political allies such as Commission on Elections Commissioner Grace Padaca, in which the President’s funds were used to bail her out, Malacañang wants to keep in jail its political enemies.

“Is this Daan na Tuwid?” he asked as he mocked the “straight path” policy of President Aquino.

He also hit back at Luy for claiming that he pocketed his commission from pork barrel funds given from the office of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged owner of non-government organizations that cornered several pork barrel allocations of some legislators.

The commission was allegedly given to his chief political officer, lawyer Richard Cambe.

“For the record, Cambe has never been my chief political officer. Get your facts right,” Revilla said.

He said Cambe, based on records of the Philippine Airlines and his own passport, was abroad at the time of the alleged payoff.

At the end of Revilla’s speech, his father could not help but cry. He was later wheeled out of the Senate session hall as tears flowed from his eyes.

Revilla lambasts Aquino, denies ‘pork’ allegations by Jomari Guillermo January 20, 2014 (updated)

Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. on Monday finally broke his silence and assailed the Aquino administration and alleged pork barrel scam whistle blowers for their “baseless” accusations.

“Kinimkim ko ang aking nasa kalooban ng ilang buwan. Nandito ako ngayon sa ngalan ng katotohanan. [I kept to myself what I was feeling all these months. I am here now in the name of truth],” Revilla said in his televised privilege speech at the Senate during its first session for the year.

Revilla said that he never betrayed the millions of Filipinos who voted for him to become a two-term Senator.

“Hindi ako nagtraydor sa inyo. Bigyan nyo ako ng pagkakataon na linisin ang aking pangalan. ‘Wag nyo ho akong husgahan [I did not betray you. Give me a chance to clean my name. Please don't judge me],” he said.

Revilla flayed the whistleblowers particularly Benhur Luy whom he tagged as “Boy Pirma” for forging signatures of senators.

He even showed his real signature comparing it with the “fake” signatures of Luy.

“Sinungaling sila. [They are liars] I have nothing to do with this scam. I have no dealings or transactions with them,” he said.

He said that the whistle blowers don’t know him personally and that he never got any money from them.

He also said that he never had a chief of staff named Atty. Richard Cambe whom Luy said received the money.

He said what personal money he owns today is the product of his hardwork for 30 years as an actor.

He criticized the Aquino administration for failing to serve its people and called their allegations just a “show.”

“They are tarnishing my reputation just for politics,” he said in Filipino.

Revilla also urged the Senate to conduct a probe on the incident when agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) surrounded and broke in to his family house in Cavite and harassed them.

He said his political problems all started when he refused to support Aquino’s bet for the Cavite gubernatorial race.

Revilla also revealed that Aquino has urged him to impeach former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“It is improper for the president to meddle with the impeachment of Corona,” he said in Filipino.

He also said that it worries him now especially that he has proven that Aquino can influence a lot of people and even the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman.

The senator’s father, former Senator Ramon Revilla, Sr., shed tears as his son spoke about fighting for his family and his reputation and about not being scared.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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