BONG:  NOY, MAR LOBBIED FOR CJ OUSTER

Over breakfast of pan de sal and cottage cheese at Malacañang, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. said President Aquino made it clear to him – in the presence of two Cabinet officials – that he wanted the senator’s vote for the conviction of then chief justice Renato Corona.Revilla made the accusation yesterday in a privilege speech in which he also belied allegations that he had embezzled his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in connivance with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. With the President during the breakfast meeting were Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II – at the time transportation secretary – and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Revilla said. The meeting took place at the Bahay Pangarap at the height of the impeachment trial of Corona in 2012. He said the President himself had intervened in the impeachment process, which was supposed to be shielded from pressures from the executive. He said he secretly took pictures of Roxas behind the wheel, as he had been instructed to stay in the passenger seat, away from view, so that the Palace guards would not notice him as they entered Bahay Pangarap. Over breakfast of pan de sal, cottage cheese, eggs, ham, tapa, fried rice and fruits, Roxas went about discussing the reasons why they wanted Corona impeached. Revilla said what surprised him most was when President Aquino directly appealed to him to vote for Corona’s conviction.

Mar: Don't divert issue, twist truth

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II advised Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. yesterday not to divert the issue, and to stop twisting the truth and deceiving the public. “Naiintindindihan ko kung bakit galit si Sen. Bong Revilla sa mundo. Mahirap ang sitwasyon niya na may COA documents at testigong nagpapatunay ng koneksyon niya sa Napoles scam. Pero hindi solusyon sa problema niya ang paglilihis ng isyu, pagbaluktot sa katotohanan at panloloko ng tao (I understand why Sen. Revilla is mad at the world. He is in a very difficult situation because there are Commission on Audit documents and witnesses proving his connection to the pork barrel scam. But his problem won’t be solved by diverting the issue, nor by twisting the truth and fooling the people),” Roxas said in a statement. Roxas said it was Revilla who requested the meeting with the President, which he claimed would be about the cityhood of Bacoor, Cavite.

Roxas to Revilla: Spinning lies not the solution

Stop spinning lies and don’t veer away from the issue. That was the advice Monday of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II to Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. after the latter’s emotional privilege speech at the Senate to deny involvement in the pork barrel scam. In a statement, Roxas said he understood Revilla’s anger, especially because the Commission on Audit has the documents that support Revilla’s involvement in the scam. The former senator, however, said that veering away from the pork barrel scam and telling lies is not a step ladder out of Revilla’s pit of despair.

Palace denies Revilla claim he was influenced to impeach Corona

Malacañang on Monday denied the allegations of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in his privileged speech at the Senate that President Benigno Aquino III influenced him to convict the then Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Revilla should not divert from the real issue, that is for the senator to explain to the people how he spent his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation. “The main issue is the proper use of public funds for which the senator is accountable,” Coloma said during a press conference in Malacañang. He confirmed that Aquino met with Revilla during the impeachment trial but stressed that he did not influence the senator on his decision to convict Corona. He said the President only asked Revilla to decide based on the merits of the case and not to be dictated by interest groups.


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Noy, Mar lobbied for CJ ouster - Bong



MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2014 (PHILSTAR) Over breakfast of pan de sal and cottage cheese at Malacañang, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. said President Aquino made it clear to him – in the presence of two Cabinet officials – that he wanted the senator’s vote for the conviction of then chief justice Renato Corona.

Revilla made the accusation yesterday in a privilege speech in which he also belied allegations that he had embezzled his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in connivance with businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

With the President during the breakfast meeting were Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II – at the time transportation secretary – and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Revilla said. The meeting took place at the Bahay Pangarap at the height of the impeachment trial of Corona in 2012.

“Pare, parang awa mo na, ibalato mo na sa akin ito. Kailangan siya ma- impeach (Friend, I’m begging you. Give me this one. He has to be impeached),” Revilla said, quoting the President as telling him.

Revilla recalled the events prior to the handing out of the guilty verdict against Corona by the Senate convened as an impeachment court, as he turned the tables on the administration which he believed was pinning him down on the pork barrel scam.

He said the President himself had intervened in the impeachment process, which was supposed to be shielded from pressures from the executive.

Throughout his privilege speech, Revilla repeated like a mantra the administration’s campaign slogan, “Ito po ba ang daang matuwid (Is this the straight path)?”

Revilla said Roxas personally drove him to Malacañang from the secretary’s house in Cubao, Quezon City.

He said he secretly took pictures of Roxas behind the wheel, as he had been instructed to stay in the passenger seat, away from view, so that the Palace guards would not notice him as they entered Bahay Pangarap.

He said this made him feel awkward, especially when Roxas had his license plate #6 removed from the black SUV and placed on the sun visor.

Over breakfast of pan de sal, cottage cheese, eggs, ham, tapa, fried rice and fruits, Roxas went about discussing the reasons why they wanted Corona impeached.

Revilla said what surprised him most was when President Aquino directly appealed to him to vote for Corona’s conviction.

It was then that Abad butted in that they should help one another. “Magtulungan tayo, senator,” Revilla quoted Abad as saying.

Astonished, Revilla said he replied, “Mr. President, I will do what is right. Naniwala po ako na dapat manindigan sa tama, at gagawin ko lang po ang tama para sa bayan (I believe we should stand up for the truth, and I’m ready to do what is right for the country).”

It was the first time that he set foot at Bahay Pangarap, Revilla said. Roxas, he added, later drove him to a restaurant near the Palace because the official was in a hurry to fetch another person. He derisively called Roxas “Boy Pick-Up.”

He also mocked his accusers, calling one of them – whistle-blower Benhur Luy – as “Boy Pirma” for faking his signature.

Revilla expressed fear that the Palace might use the same tactic to pressure other officials into agreeing to Aquino’s every wish.

“For the record, Mr. President. I have nothing to do with this scam, those whistle-blowers, nor Janet Lim-Napoles. I have no dealings and transactions with them,” Revilla said.

“It’s all lies,” he added, showing photographs of the supposed fake signatures.

“Isn’t it clear that these signatures are different from one another?” he said in Filipino.

Revilla noted that Luy had admitted faking signatures a number of times in their dealings with the Department of Budget and Management and non-government organizations. If there was a so-called “Boy Xerox” at the DBM involved in the duplicating of SAROs (special allotment release orders), then there was “Boy Pirma” in the pork barrel scam, he said.

He said he found it suspicious that the government readily agreed to make Luy a state witness.

Forged signatures

Revilla said his signatures were forged at least thrice, disputing claims by the Commission on Audit (COA) that he had confirmed his signatures in an exchange of memos when the COA sought his answers during their audit on the pork barrel.

He also defended his former staff member, Richard Cambe, from accusations that he received kickbacks from Napoles on behalf of the senator.

“Mr. President, if Benhur Luy’s lies could make his nose grow longer I believe it would stretch from here at the Senate to Malacañang,” he said in Tagalog.

He presented Cambe’s passport and flight details with the Philippine Airlines which contradicted Luy’s claims of the alleged payouts. “Mr. President, Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus – false in one, false in all. Sinungaling sa isa, sinungaling sa lahat,” Revilla said.

At the start of his speech, Revilla revealed how he was hell bent on delivering his speech which had been set even before the Palace set Monday as a national day of prayer.

He sought understanding from the public, as well as for pity, not to prejudge him over allegations that he had amassed millions of pesos out of his PDAF. He said it would have been easier to keep silent on the issues, which he branded as “baseless,” but he owed an explanation to the 16 million to 20 million people who voted him to office in 2004 and 2010.

According to Revilla, he had displeased the Palace with his decision not to support the administration gubernatorial bet in Cavite in 2012.

More pressure

He said it’s not hard to imagine that the President might also try to influence the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan in the plunder and other criminal charges against him in connection with the pork barrel scam.

But he stressed he still has confidence and trust in the institutions and the justice system in the country, including the Supreme Court, Sandiganbayan and Ombudsman.

“I hope I’m not mistaken,” he added.

Holding back tears, Revilla said the administration’s act of persecution is severely affecting his family.

“We have all been witness to a calibrated plan of piecemeal and serial revelations aimed to create a bandwagon of hatred,” the senator said.

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

“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,” Revilla said.

Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, the senator’s wife, said the family is bracing for the repercussions of her husband’s privilege speech. “We lift it all to the Lord,” she said in an interview.

Strong message

Interviewed after the privilege speech, Revilla’s lawyer, Joel Bodegon, explained that his client is hoping that his privilege speech would send a strong message to Malacañang that exerting pressure on institutions would have a backlash.

“This should send a message that what they did during the impeachment trial should not be replicated in the case against him now pending before the Ombudsman,” Bodegon said.

“It is not good that (the Palace) is intervening in a process which should be independent, and free from interference from any other agency of the government,” Bodegon added.

Bodegon admitted that his client is feeling Malacañang’s hands moving to ensure that the plunder case against Revilla would prosper in the Sandiganbayan.

Revilla and two colleagues – Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada – are facing plunder before the Ombudsman in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Asked if Aquino’s move is an impeachable offense, Bodegon said the President should be held liable for his actions.

As regards who would file an impeachment complaint, Bodegon, who was part of Corona’s defense team, said that would be a different matter altogether.

At the moment, Bodegon said they want to hurdle first the plunder complaint now pending before the Ombudsman.

Mar: Don't divert issue, twist truth

MANILA, Philippines - Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II advised Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. yesterday not to divert the issue, and to stop twisting the truth and deceiving the public.

“Naiintindindihan ko kung bakit galit si Sen. Bong Revilla sa mundo. Mahirap ang sitwasyon niya na may COA documents at testigong nagpapatunay ng koneksyon niya sa Napoles scam. Pero hindi solusyon sa problema niya ang paglilihis ng isyu, pagbaluktot sa katotohanan at panloloko ng tao (I understand why Sen. Revilla is mad at the world. He is in a very difficult situation because there are Commission on Audit documents and witnesses proving his connection to the pork barrel scam. But his problem won’t be solved by diverting the issue, nor by twisting the truth and fooling the people),” Roxas said in a statement.

In his speech, Revilla detailed how Roxas facilitated a meeting between him and President Aquino allegedly to seek his support on the impeachment of then chief justice Renato Corona.

But Roxas said it was Revilla who requested the meeting with the President, which he claimed would be about the cityhood of Bacoor, Cavite.

“It is natural for the President to meet with high-ranking officials of the government. Sen. Bong and I were former colleagues in the Senate, that is why when he told me that there was something he wished to take up with the President, including the cityhood of Bacoor and his leadership of the Lakas party, I made a way for them to meet,” Roxas said.

He advised Revilla to simply answer the issue raised by witnesses on the pork barrel scam.

It would be best for Revilla to explain the documents manifesting his involvement in the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund or the congressional pork barrel, Roxas said.

He also denied Revilla’s claim that he deliberately removed the number 6 license plate from his car, that he took the wheel and made Revilla hide so the guards would not see him.

“At that time, the President was not in Malacañang but in Bahay Pangarap. In line with the regulations of the Presidential Security Group and so as not to cause any trouble to Sen. Bong, I was the one who drove the vehicle going to Bahay Pangarap,” Roxas said.

He said he does not use a special plate for his vehicle – not the “6” plate for a Cabinet member or the “7” plate when he was a senator and “8” as a congressman.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Roxas to Revilla: Spinning lies not the solution By Bong Lozada INQUIRER.net 9:16 pm | Monday, January 20th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines— Stop spinning lies and don’t veer away from the issue.

That was the advice Monday of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II to Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. after the latter’s emotional privilege speech at the Senate to deny involvement in the pork barrel scam.

In a statement, Roxas said he understood Revilla’s anger, especially because the Commission on Audit has the documents that support Revilla’s involvement in the scam.

The former senator, however, said that veering away from the pork barrel scam and telling lies is not a step ladder out of Revilla’s pit of despair.

“I understand why Senator Bong Revilla is angry at the world,” Roxas said. “But veering away from the issue, breaking the truths and fooling the people is not the solution to the problem.”

“He just has to answer to the witnesses that testified against him and explain the documents that link him to the Napoles scam.”

Roxas said that President Benigno Aquino III, naturally, has to meet with the officials of the country.

According to Roxas, he even personally arranged the meeting of Aquino and Revilla regarding the cityhood of Bacoor and Revilla’s wish to be the head of Lakas party as they were all fellow senators before.

“During that time (when the meeting was supposed to happen) the President was not in Malacañang as he was in Bahay Pangarap,” Roxas said in the statement. “Not to bother Senator Bong with all the regulations of the Presidential Security Group, I personally drove Senator Bong to Bahay Pangarap.”

Roxas clarified that he does not use official plates on his car. Instead, he uses the plates that the Land Transportation Office issues to new car-owners when Revilla accused him of removing his car plate en route to Bahay Pangarap.

Palace denies Revilla claim he was influenced to impeach Corona By Nestor Corrales INQUIRER.net 8:28 pm | Monday, January 20th, 2014


Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Monday denied the allegations of Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in his privileged speech at the Senate that President Benigno Aquino III influenced him to convict the then Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Revilla should not divert from the real issue, that is for the senator to explain to the people how he spent his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation.

“The main issue is the proper use of public funds for which the senator is accountable,” Coloma said during a press conference in Malacañang.

He confirmed that Aquino met with Revilla during the impeachment trial but stressed that he did not influence the senator on his decision to convict Corona.

He said the President only asked Revilla to decide based on the merits of the case and not to be dictated by interest groups.

He also said the President deplores the unfair insinuation made by Revilla against his sister, Maria Elena Aquino-Cruz, and her husband Eldon, despite the fact that the Czech ambassador has clearly stated that they were not in any way involved in the MRT project in which a Czech firm was interested.

He said Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas III will issue a separate statement regarding the allegations thrown at him by Revilla.

Revilla made a privileged speech on Monday afternoon when the Senate resumed session to answer allegations against him regarding the use of his pork barrel funds.

Revilla made stinging attacks on the pork barrel scam whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy, but shifted to making allegations against the President and his allies related to the Corona impeachment trial.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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