IN THE KNOW: REVILLA GAVE 16th CRUCIAL VOTE TO OUST CORONA

When the Senate voted to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. took the floor and rendered a guilty verdict, giving the crucial 16th vote to remove Corona. The votes of at least 16 out of the 23 senators were needed to oust the Chief Justice. The final tally was 20-3 for the ouster of Corona for dishonesty in submitting his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs). “In the end, I arrived with a conclusion that, through his own direct admission, the Chief Justice failed to properly disclose all of his assets in his SALN. This, therefore, has necessary consequences that attach to the position he holds in trust,” Revilla said in explaining his vote.

ALSO: Revilla letter to COA belies forgery claim

As early as two and a half years ago, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla acknowledged to the Commission on Audit (COA) that he approved the release of his pork barrel funds to foundations that were later alleged to have engaged in dubious deals and included those allegedly controlled by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles. Revilla made the admission in a July 8, 2011, letter to Assistant Commissioner Arcadio B. Cuenco Jr., a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer. The letter debunks his claim that his signature and those of his representatives were forged—his main defense after the pork barrel scam was exposed in July last year and he was implicated in the alleged racket. “After going through these documents and initial examination, it appears that the signatures and/or my initials on these documents are my signatures or that of my authorized representatives,” Revilla said in his letter.

ALSO: Lowly’ employee in plunder case blames Revilla, DBM

A self-described “lowly” government employee implicated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam has accused Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. of dictating the terms and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of abetting the National Livelihood Development Corp.’s (NLDC) forced role in the release of state funds to fake foundations. The NLDC handled P1 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and P370 million in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) from 2008 to 2012, but Alexis Sevidal, head of the firm’s Accounts Servicing and Asset Management Group, claimed that his agency’s role was limited to documentation and liquidation. “The responsibilities of ensuring that the NGOs (nongovernment organizations) are legitimate and capable of implementing the projects and ensuring that the projects will be implemented according to plans, will rest upon the lawmakers,” Sevidal said in his counteraffidavit to the plunder case filed against him in the Office of the Ombudsman. “Personally, I dare say that I and the other respondents are victims of a faulty system which creeps in both houses of the Congress and the executive department,” he said.


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In the Know: Revilla gave 16h crucial vote to oust Corona


Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, JANUARY 21, 2014 (INQUIRER) When the Senate voted to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona in May 2012, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. took the floor and rendered a guilty verdict, giving the crucial 16th vote to remove Corona.

The votes of at least 16 out of the 23 senators were needed to oust the Chief Justice. The final tally was 20-3 for the ouster of Corona for dishonesty in submitting his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

“In the end, I arrived with a conclusion that, through his own direct admission, the Chief Justice failed to properly disclose all of his assets in his SALN. This, therefore, has necessary consequences that attach to the position he holds in trust,” Revilla said in explaining his vote.

“Although difficult [to make], for the sake of unity and healing of our country, for the sake of upholding government institutions, and for the sake of the next generations and our future, I find Chief Justice Renato C. Corona guilty,” he declared.

Monday’s privilege speech was Revilla’s third since 2004.

In December 2004, the actor-turned-senator took the floor to propose the death penalty for illegal loggers after seeing for himself the destruction caused by landslides and floods in Quezon province brought by Typhoon “Yoyong.”

In a privilege speech titled “A Doctor’s Perversity” in May 2009, Revilla accused Dr. Hayden Kho of being behind a sex video with a “prominent personality” that was “obviously taken without [her] consent.” Revilla called Kho a “pervert of the highest order” and a “predator.” The speech came after sex videos involving Kho and other women were uploaded on the Internet.—Inquirer Research Sources: Inquirer Archives

Revilla letter to COA belies forgery claim By Gil C. Cabacungan Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:31 am | Monday, January 20th, 2014

As early as two and a half years ago, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla acknowledged to the Commission on Audit (COA) that he approved the release of his pork barrel funds to foundations that were later alleged to have engaged in dubious deals and included those allegedly controlled by detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

Revilla made the admission in a July 8, 2011, letter to Assistant Commissioner Arcadio B. Cuenco Jr., a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer. The letter debunks his claim that his signature and those of his representatives were forged—his main defense after the pork barrel scam was exposed in July last year and he was implicated in the alleged racket.

“After going through these documents and initial examination, it appears that the signatures and/or my initials on these documents are my signatures or that of my authorized representatives,” Revilla said in his letter.

The letter was part of the special audit conducted by the COA on the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) releases from 2007 to 2009 during which P503.69 million of Revilla’s pork barrel allegedly went to dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs).

Revilla, along with Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, was named in a plunder complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman in September in connection with a P10-billion PDAF racket that allegedly diverted state funds into ghost projects and kickbacks purportedly engineered by Napoles.

Napoles is detained on a serious illegal detention charge involving her personal aide, Benhur Luy. She allegedly had Luy detained to prevent him from exposing her alleged multibillion-peso scam.

The senators and Napoles have all denied any wrongdoing.

Revilla is scheduled to deliver a privilege speech on the Senate floor on Monday at the resumption of its session following the holiday break.

“In the main, it’s to clear his name and affirm his commitment to the truth in the face of false allegations against him,” said Joel Bodegon, Revilla’s counsel. “More importantly, he wants those responsible, particularly the whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy, prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The Inquirer.net will post live-blogging updates on Revilla’s speech.

Signatures authenticated

Last October, Revilla filed a civil suit in his home province Cavite accusing former employees of Napoles who had turned whistle-blowers of falsifying documents and forging his signatures on the release of P500 million of his PDAF and demanding that they return the money to the government.

In his July 8, 2011, letter, Revilla expressed gratitude to the COA for reviewing his PDAF releases.

“I appreciate the efforts being undertaken now by the COA and it also gives me the chance and opportunity to ask the various implementing agencies why it took the central office of the commission to initiate this and would not submit their own performance audit and evaluation to me directly every end of the year whether these projects and programs are effective, beneficial and were able to reach more end users and target beneficiaries. I suppose they have their annual audit report and these funds are duly included and audited on those yearly reports,” said Revilla, who requested a copy of the results of the special audit immediately.

Revilla’s letter was in response to the COA’s request that he authenticate his signatures on documents submitted by NGOs implementing his PDAF projects—National Agribusiness Corp., ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp., National Livelihood Development Corp. (NLDC) and Technology Resource Center.

The documents included liquidation and disbursement reports, letters to Cabinet officials and implementing agency heads and project proposals and financial plans.

In a counteraffidavit, Alexis Sevidal, head of NLDC Accounts Servicing and Asset Management Group, insisted that his agency’s role in releasing Revilla’s pork was limited to documentation and liquidation as “the responsibilities of ensuring that the NGOs are legitimate and capable of implementing the projects … rest upon the lawmakers.”

Sevidal, who is among those under investigation by the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged Napoles scam, presented as evidence Revilla’s letter to NLDC chair Gondolina Amata in which the actor identified the projects, their costs (combined P135 milion) and the NGO beneficiaries (controlled by Napoles).

Earlier Revilla letter

In an earlier letter dated Aug. 17, 2009, Revilla said the Department of Budget and Management had already released the Notice of Cash Allotment for these projects and that he had appointed his chief of staff, Richard Cambe, “to monitor and assist in the implementation thereof and act and sign on my behalf all other documents needed.”

Revilla named Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (P45 million), Social Development Program For Farmers Foundation Inc. (P40 million), Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (P30 million) and Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc. (P20 million) “as our partners in the implementation of the program.”

The four NGOs were among the 20 foundations that Luy claimed were bogus and controlled by Napoles.

Sevidal also presented a letter dated Sept. 8, 2009, from Enrile endorsing Revilla’s pet projects. Sevidal said the memorandum of agreements (MOA) signed between NLDC and Revilla’s preferred NGOs showed a “clear pattern” that the identification of the project, determination of the project cost and choice of the NGO is done by the lawmaker and Napoles and only communicated to and imposed upon NLDC, before the execution of the MOA.”

He said the MOAs were “done deals” even before NLDC entered the scheme. “Nowhere in these stages did I ever participate, as an employee of NLDC, or in my personal capacity,” Sevidal said.—With a report from TJ A. Burgonio

EARLIER REPORT FROM INQUIRER

Lowly’ employee in plunder case blames Revilla, DBM By Gil C. Cabacungan Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:10 am | Friday, January 17th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—A self-described “lowly” government employee implicated in the P10-billion pork barrel scam has accused Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. of dictating the terms and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of abetting the National Livelihood Development Corp.’s (NLDC) forced role in the release of state funds to fake foundations.

The NLDC handled P1 billion in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and P370 million in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) from 2008 to 2012, but Alexis Sevidal, head of the firm’s Accounts Servicing and Asset Management Group, claimed that his agency’s role was limited to documentation and liquidation.

“The responsibilities of ensuring that the NGOs (nongovernment organizations) are legitimate and capable of implementing the projects and ensuring that the projects will be implemented according to plans, will rest upon the lawmakers,” Sevidal said in his counteraffidavit to the plunder case filed against him in the Office of the Ombudsman.

Sevidal is among the nine government employees named in the plunder and malversation cases filed last September by the National Bureau of Investigation, principally against businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Revilla, and former Representatives Rizalina Seachon-Lanete, Edgar Valdez, Rodolfo Plaza, Samuel Dangwa and Constantino Jaraula.

“Personally, I dare say that I and the other respondents are victims of a faulty system which creeps in both houses of the Congress and the executive department,” he said.

“There are inherent or unwritten rules in the bureaucracy that everyone should follow, otherwise one will get the ire of powerful politicians. A lowly government employee like me receiving a meager salary only sufficient enough to feed my family’s hungry stomach, just like anyone else including the Board of Trustees of the NLDC, must follow those unwritten rules,” Sevidal said.

Revilla’s role

He said his role in the processing of the PDAF in his agency was purely “ex-officio” as the NLDC had already been picked as implementing agency, the project’s nature and cost had been predetermined, the NGO had been named, the special allotment release order (Saro) approved by the DBM and the project cleared by the NLDC Board.

Although there were other senators and lawmakers who tapped the NLDC as go-between for their pork, Sevidal zeroed in on Revilla.

“From the foregoing narration in the (NBI) complaint, it is crystal clear that the coconspirators in the planning, identification of the project, determination of the project cost, choice of the NGOs and even in the choice of the implementing agencies, are Senator Revilla Jr. and Napoles only. Not even the NLDC as an institution is a part of the conspiracy,” Sevidal said.

Sevidal presented as evidence Revilla’s missive to NLDC chair Gondolina Amata in which the actor identified the projects, their costs (combined P135 milion) and the NGO beneficiaries.

In his Aug. 17, 2009 letter, Revilla pointed out that the DBM had already released the notice of cash allocation (NCA) for these projects and that he had appointed his chief of staff, Richard Cambe, “to monitor and assist in the implementation thereof and act and sign in my behalf all other documents needed to smooth the progress of the same.”

Revilla named Agri and Economic Program for Farmers Foundation Inc. (P45 million), Social Development Program For Farmers Foundation Inc. (P40 million), Masaganang Ani Para sa Magsasaka Foundation Inc. (P30 million), and Agricultura para sa Magbubukid Foundation Inc. (P20 million) “as our partners in the implementation of the program.”

DBM role

These four NGOs were among the 20 foundations that whistle-blower Benhur Luy claimed were bogus and controlled by his former boss Napoles.

Sevidal presented a Sept. 8, 2009, letter of then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile endorsing Revilla’s pet projects.

Sevidal also said that while the DBM was supposed to be the only agency in “direct communication” with Congress on fund releases of lawmakers, it directed NLDC to communicate directly with legislators “in violation of the systems flow of the Philippine Budget System.”

“The NLDC can only surmise that the DBM does not want to defy the holders of the power of the purse that is Congress,” he said.

Sevidal said that NLDC did not want to take part in implementing the PDAF and the DAP first in 2008 and second in 2011 but that the DBM denied the request for exclusion.

He noted that the abuse of NLDC carried over to the Aquino administration and even extended to DAP funds, supposedly “savings” of agencies realigned to other projects to stimulate the economy, some of which found their way to pet projects of senators.


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