SANDIGAN: WE WILL BE FAIR

Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and the other justices of the Sandiganbayan vowed yesterday to uphold the right to due process of those facing plunder and graft charges for alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam. “We will not be swayed by public opinion,” Tang said. Tang made the declaration during a hearing of the Sandiganbayan Third Division on the motions to dismiss and other pleadings of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and his co-accused. Tang assured Janet Lim-Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David and other defense counsels that they will decide based on evidence alone. “We will only be guided by what is on record, nothing more, nothing less,” she said. Tan chairs the Third Division. READ MORE...

ALSO: Estrada joins Revilla in detention today (Monday)

Barring last-minute hitches, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada will join his bosom buddy and fellow movie actor, Sen. Bong Revilla, in the rat-and-cockroach-infested Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame on Monday.A Sandiganbayan official said Sunday that the antigraft court would order Estrada’s arrest on Monday on charges of plunder and graft in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam. The Sandiganbayan official, who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak for the court, said the warrants for the arrest of Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile were drafted on Friday, but the signing of the warrant for Enrile could take a few days. Estrada will not wait for the arrest warrant to be served on him. He told the Inquirer on Saturday night that he would surrender as soon as he learned that the warrant for his arrest was out. But there won’t be a 10-vehicle convoy, no busloads of screaming fans, no speeches and no threat to run for Malacañang in 2016. Estrada said he would turn himself in at the Sandiganbayan “quietly,” but he would ask the court to allow him bail. “That is what’s important to me at this point,” he said, insisting that he would be acquitted if given a “fair trial.”
Estrada is accused of pocketing P183 million of his pork barrel allocations, a charge that he denies and blames on politicking by the administration of President Aquino. His best friend Revilla, who surrendered to the Sandiganbayan on Friday accompanied by family members, rowdy political supporters and screaming fans, is accused of plundering the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and pocketing P242 million in kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the pork barrel scam.READ MORE...

ALSO: Revilla spends first Sunday in jail reading Bible, sweeping floor

As the beleaguered Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. spent his first Sunday in detention, he drew a huge boost of support from the Senior himself. Ramon Revilla Sr., the patriarch of the Revilla clan, paid a visit to his son who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame. Revilla was ordered detained for his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. He was charged with plunder for allegedly receiving hundreds of millions of pesos in kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who skimmed the money from government allocations for the poor. The actor-turned politician denied any role in the scam. Plunder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and is non-bailable. Family members accompanied Revilla Sr., while the senator’s son Bacoor City Mayor Strike Revilla aided the former senator on a wheelchair.
As his first Sunday in detention, Revilla Jr. was treated to a morning Bible study with his family and close friends while they feasted during lunch, Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office Chief, said. Congresswoman Lani Mercado brought with her two boxes of cakes and other food stuffs while friend Jimmy Santos was the first to visit Revilla. Sons Jolo and Bryan were also present for the pseudo family reunion.
Together with his friends and family, Revilla Jr. had a bible study in the morning and ate lunch after.
According to Revilla Jr.’s son Bryan, the group ate grilled pork belly, grilled fish, tamarind chicken, and for dessert, leche flan. In a happy and peaceful atmosphere, the senator preferred the grill fish which, as his son said, was his favorite and a little of the grilled pork belly.read more...

ALSO: ‘Sorry, senator, but this is not a five-star hotel’

So what’s wrong with having cockroaches and rats inside jail? Some officials of the Philippine National Police on Sunday sneered at relatives and friends of Sen. Bong Revilla for raising a fuss over the crawling pests and other unwanted “guests” inside his detention cell at Camp Crame. “Senator Revilla is not on vacation at Camp Crame. Spending time in detention is not supposed to be like a hotel accommodation,” a senior police officer, who agreed to talk on condition of anonymity, told the Inquirer. “Although he is an elected official, he is accused of committing a crime. The presence of [bugs] and other crawling insects inside his detention cell should be the least of their concerns,” the officer said. The PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, confirmed the presence of night crawlers inside Revilla’s detention room. “We admit we are having pest problems at the Custodial Center. [We will address this concern] with pest control measures,” Sindac said. Revilla’s wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, and lawyer and family friend Salvador Panelo told reporters on Saturday that they saw cockroaches and rats at the senator’s detention cell at the PNP Custodial Center. They also complained about the lack of ventilation in the 32-square-meter room which, they said, could pose health risks to Revilla. Unbearable heat
Another PNP official, who asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak to the media, admitted that the searing heat inside Revilla’s detention room could be unbearable during daytime and may even cause a headache.
Since his arrest on Friday, Revilla has been occupying the first room of the newly built four-room bungalow inside the high-security detention compound.READ MORE...

ALSO: Expecting shame campaign, Bong Revilla wife to snub PNoy’s SONA

Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.'s wife is snubbing President Benigno Aquino III's State of the
Nation Address this July, saying she expects him to crow about her husband's arrest and detention over the P10-billion pork barrel scam. Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado said this will be the second time she will not be attending Aquino's SONA, which is scheduled July 28 at the House of Representatives' complex in Quezon City. "I have no intention of attending. This will be the second time...," she said in an interview on dzBB radio. On Friday, Revilla was placed under detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, after he surrendered to the Sandiganbayan. Revilla faces graft and plunder charges before the anti-graft court in connection with the multibillion-peso scam. Mercado said she and Revilla had been victims of a shame campaign by Aquino, adding Aquino is "bound to do that" in his SONA. "Oh yes. Naging biktima na kami ng maraming [pamamahiya] and he's bound to do that," she said when asked if she expects Aquino to mention Revilla's detention. She added Aquino shamed her husband by telling people not to believe in "anting anting" and "agimat" during a speaking engagement in Cavite, Revilla's home province. In his speech in February, the president said the electorate should not take their chances on “agimat” or “anting-anting (amulets)” – a statement that could be construed as referring to Bong Revilla and his family. Last Independence Day, Mercado said Aquino took a dig at showbiz workers when he claimed in his speech that the country does not need to elect people who can deliver scripts or song and dance numbers. "Hindi natin kailangan ng magaling bumigkas ng script, mahusay sumayaw, o kaya magaling kumanta," Aquino had said in his speech. Revilla is a movie actor and television personality, while Mercado is a former actress and television host. Meanwhile, Mercado said she continues to pray for "true justice," saying she believes there is "selective justice" under this administration. "Naniniwala ako may selective justice talaga," she said. THIS IS THE FULL REORT

ALSO: PNoy yet to pick new Sandiganbayan justice as ‘pork’ cases start moving

President Benigno Aquino III has yet to choose a new associate justice for the Sandiganbayan more than 90 days after a vacancy was created when Associate Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang was appointed presiding justice of the anti-graft court. According to a report on "24 Oras" aired Saturday, the president found out that one of the nominees for the position, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Bernelito Fernandez, was recommended to the position by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in 2012. Enrile is one of three senators charged with graft and plunder before the Sandiganbayan over their alleged participation in the Priority Development Assistance Fund. According to the Palace, the president has asked the Judicial and Bar Council, which prepares a list of nominees for vacancies in the judiciary for additional information on the nominees. The request was made because the president wants the appointee to be "beyond suspicion" especially since PDAF cases are already with the Sandiganbayan. "Considering na sa Sandiganbayan po ‘yung puwestong pinag-uusapan natin, kung saan tumatayong akusado ‘yung nag-endorso sa kanya, siguro po malinaw naman ‘yung duty ng Executive na i-verify muna at i-clarify ‘yung katayuan; at kung meron pa hong similar cases that would apply to those in the shortlist, kung merong similar circumstances," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a briefing over government radio dzRB on Saturday. Valte added: "We expect some movements in filling this particular position very soon." Judge Fernandez has confirmed that he asked for Enrile's recommendation, but said that that was back in 2012. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is his principal endorser now, the "24 Oras" report said. The report said Fernandez believes there is a demolition job against him. Under the Constitution, the president is supposed to issue appointments within 90 days of the JBC's submission of the list of nominees. The JBC submitted its shortlist of nominees on February 28, giving the president until May 28 to pick an appointee. Whomever the president appoints will fill the vacancy on the Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division. That division will handle the cases filed against Senator Jinggoy Estrada and others accused in the PDAF scam THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Palace: Warrants vs Revilla, et al 'a significant step forward'

Malacanang called Friday the issuance of warrants of arrest against Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. and 32 others accused of plunder and graft over the billion pork barrel scam "a significant step forward in the judicial process." "We believe that through a fair and just trial, accountability will be clearly established and in like manner, those that are innocent will be exonerated," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said Friday. "We join the citizenry in hoping that truth and justice will prevail," he added. Revilla surrendered late Friday morning to the Sandiganbayan and has been ordered detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, where a new, bungalow-like facility has been built to keep him and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, who are facing similar charges and are expected to be ordered arrested soon. In a related development, Gabriela partylist Representative Luz Ilagan said the arrest of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. should not steal the spotlight from the reality that several "plunderers" still roam free and have yet to be held accountable for their involvement in the pork barrel scandal. At the same time, Akbayan partylist Representative Walden Bello said that "the momentum of exacting justice must be sustained and even accelerated," adding that the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court should similarly order the immediate arrest of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, who are also facing plunder charges. "The arrest of high-ranking public officials will help in banishing the obfuscation and confusion created by the corrupt in an effort to evade accountability," Bello said. READ MORE...


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Sandigan: We will be fair

MANILA, JUNE 23, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Michael Punongbayan - Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and the other justices of the Sandiganbayan vowed yesterday to uphold the right to due process of those facing plunder and graft charges for alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

“We will not be swayed by public opinion,” Tang said.

Tang made the declaration during a hearing of the Sandiganbayan Third Division on the motions to dismiss and other pleadings of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and his co-accused.

Tang assured Janet Lim-Napoles’ lawyer Stephen David and other defense counsels that they will decide based on evidence alone.

“We will only be guided by what is on record, nothing more, nothing less,” she said.

Tan chairs the Third Division.

During the hearing, Associate Justice Samuel Martires made a similar declaration after hearing oral arguments from Enrile’s lawyer Estelito Mendoza, who appealed for a thorough review of the cases filed.

Mendoza said not one of the 9,506 sheets of paper submitted by the Office of the Ombudsman as evidence proves Enrile pocketed P172 million in alleged kickbacks and commissions from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) projects.

No evidence shows that Enrile had committed plunder or graft, he added.

Speaking in open court, Martires said he will not yield to public opinion as Enrile’s case is no different from the case of an ordinary mayor.

“I assure you, I will personally read those (documents),” he said.

Martires said he was attacked in the case of the controversial plea bargaining agreement between the Office of the Ombudsman and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

“I will do my duty,” he said.

“I do not care what the lawyers will say. I do not care what the media will say. This court will base its decisions on what the prosecution (presents).”

Mendoza said Enrile is facing possible arrest and detention “perhaps for a lifetime” based on a plunder charge that is full of general allegations.

“It is impossible for accused to understand why he is being charged,” he said.

A criminal charge must state ultimate facts and not conclusions of fact or law, Mendoza said.

Enrile’s motion to dismiss is generally anchored on his argument that the only supposed evidence against him is Benhur Luy’s business ledger which, apart from being hearsay, does not even clearly show that he received kickbacks or commissions from the pork barrel funds.

The prosecution’s case actually points to Napoles as the one who allegedly misappropriated PDAF allocations, Mendoza said.

He dared prosecutors to pick out the evidence against Enrile in the 9,506 documents that they have submitted in court.

He questioned how a plunder complaint can be comprised of only one and one-fourth page when the graft charges are three pages long.

Responding to Mendoza’s arguments, prosecutors said the motion to dismiss of Enrile must be dismissed for lack of merit.

After the hearing, the Third Division said all motions filed by respondents are now considered submitted for resolution, considering that prosecutors no longer want to file written comments.

The Fifth Division chaired by Associate Justice Roland Jurado also heard yesterday Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s motion for judicial determination of probable cause.

The proceedings were almost immediately terminated after no oral arguments were allowed since written motions already filed aptly explain the defense’s stand that the plunder and graft charges must be dismissed for lack of probable cause.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Estrada joins Revilla in detention on MondayEstrada vows quiet surrender to PNP By Gil C. Cabacungan, Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:31 am | Monday, June 23rd, 2014


Sen. Jinggoy Estrada: Joining his bosom buddy Sen. Bong Revilla. PHOTO BY NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines–Barring last-minute hitches, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada will join his bosom buddy and fellow movie actor, Sen. Bong Revilla, in the rat-and-cockroach-infested Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame on Monday.

A Sandiganbayan official said Sunday that the antigraft court would order Estrada’s arrest on Monday on charges of plunder and graft in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

The Sandiganbayan official, who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak for the court, said the warrants for the arrest of Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile were drafted on Friday, but the signing of the warrant for Enrile could take a few days.

Estrada will not wait for the arrest warrant to be served on him. He told the Inquirer on Saturday night that he would surrender as soon as he learned that the warrant for his arrest was out.

But there won’t be a 10-vehicle convoy, no busloads of screaming fans, no speeches and no threat to run for Malacañang in 2016.

Estrada said he would turn himself in at the Sandiganbayan “quietly,” but he would ask the court to allow him bail.

“That is what’s important to me at this point,” he said, insisting that he would be acquitted if given a “fair trial.”

Estrada is accused of pocketing P183 million of his pork barrel allocations, a charge that he denies and blames on politicking by the administration of President Aquino.

His best friend Revilla, who surrendered to the Sandiganbayan on Friday accompanied by family members, rowdy political supporters and screaming fans, is accused of plundering the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and pocketing P242 million in kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged brains behind the pork barrel scam.

Estrada, Revilla, Enrile, Napoles and five others were indicted by the Ombudsman in the Sandiganbayn on June 6.
Enrile allegedly pocketed P172.8 million in kickbacks from Napoles’ phantom projects funded with his allocations from the PDAF.

His lawyer Estelito Mendoza said by text message Sunday that there was “no need to rush” the arrest. “JPE (Enrile’s initials) is not going anywhere,” Mendoza said.

‘Rounding up’ opposition

Estrada’s half-brother, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, on Sunday said the Aquino administration was “rounding up” members of the political opposition.

Ejercito cited the filing of plunder charges against Estrada, Enrile and Revilla, and the report that another opposition legislator, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, would be the next one to be charged in the Office of the Ombudsman.

Revilla, who has been talking about running for President from jail since last week, topped the 2010 senatorial election with 19,513,521 votes while Estrada, said to have his eyes on the vice-presidential race in 2016, placed second with more than 18 million votes.

Ejercito said he, too, had received information that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would try to nail him for “overspending” during the 2013 senatorial campaign.

“I hope this is just a coincidence and this is not true,” he said on Nimfa Ravelo’s radio program on dzBB. “But if they take us all out, there will be no opposition left against the Aquino administration.”

Estrada earlier lambasted Ejercito for signing the Senate blue ribbon committee report recommending the filing of plunder cases against him, Enrile and Revilla.

Flashbacks of 2001

On the eve of his arrest, Estrada admitted he was seeing flashbacks of 2001 when he was also arrested on plunder charges.

“Here we go again, I’m being persecuted all over again,” he said.

Estrada spent two years in jail but was eventually acquitted. Now he is confident he will be cleared sooner by the Sandiganbayan.

To this end, he said he would instruct his lawyers—three teams of legal experts led by Jose Flaminiano—to ask the Sandiganbayan to hold “marathon hearings.”

“Like before, I will again prove to my critics, to my persecutors that I will be acquitted because there is really no case against me,” he said.

“I want marathon hearings to prove my innocence,” he added.

At the Sandiganbayan, he said he would be accompanied by his parents, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and former Sen. Luisa Ejercito, his wife and their children.

The scene, he said, should be unlike the one on Friday when Revilla surrendered to the Sandiganbayan. Revilla traveled in a 10-vehicle convoy and brought his own camera crew to document his “voluntary submission.”

Not thinking of elections

Unlike Revilla, who was tying the arrest to his plan to run for President in 2016, Estrada said he was not thinking of the elections two years from now.

“What’s important to me is to prove my innocence,” said the senator, who admitted getting “legal advice” and “moral support” from Vice President Jejomar Binay, his presumed running mate in 2016.

On Saturday, Estrada took his family to a hotel for an overnight stay, their final “bonding” before his new incarceration.

On Sunday, he and his family spent the afternoon at his father’s house on Polk Street, in San Juan City, for their regular Sunday reunion.

Estrada said he had made arrangements with the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for his surrender so that policemen would not have to pick him up.

“But if they still want to put me in handcuffs, that would be fine,” he said. “We are now at the mercy of these people, so what can we do?”

For his second detention in 13 years, Estrada said he planned to bring only clothes and medicine for his acid reflux. If allowed by the court, he said, he would bring an iPad.

Enrile’s case

In the case of Enrile, who was charged with plunder and 11 counts of graft, the Sandiganbayan source said it could take a few days or weeks before an arrest warrant could be issued depending on the “mood” of the Third Division, which handles the charges against the Senate minority leader.

During Friday’s hourlong oral arguments, Associate Justice Samuel Martires, a member of the Third Division, assured Mendoza that he would read all 9,000 pages of evidence submitted by the Ombudsman and that he would not be swayed by public opinion. His peers in the Third Division are Associate Justices Amparo Cabotaje-Tang (chair) and Alex Quiroz.

“It is the responsibility of all the members of the court, not just Justice Martires, to look and evaluate admissibility and probative value of the approximately 10,000 [documents] submitted that JPE received P172 million and how,” Mendoza said in his text message on Sunday.

Martires had admitted to having been castigated for his participation in the Sandiganbayan’s grant of plea bargain to former military comptroller Carlos Garcia, which it was later forced to abandon by the Supreme Court.

The Sandiganbayan source said it was difficult to “fathom” what direction the Third Division was taking on Enrile’s case, especially since it had yet to act on the appeal of Enrile’s coaccused and the motion of his former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, to suspend the proceedings on grounds that she was denied a copy of the “principal evidence” (state witness Ruby Tuason’s testimony) against her.

The Sandiganbayan source pointed out that the antigraft court normally avoids issuing piecemeal decisions on its cases.

Delay seen

Cavite Rep. Elpido Barzaga Jr. said Enrile’s case could be delayed, especially if the three members of the Third Division failed to reach a unanimous decision in finding probable cause for his prosecution.

In such a case, Barzaga said that under its rules of procedures, two justices would be added to the Third Division to reach the minimum three votes needed to proceed with the case. Originally posted: 8:02 pm | Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Revilla spends first Sunday in jail reading Bible, sweeping floor By Bong Lozada INQUIRER.net 4:30 pm | Sunday, June 22nd, 2014


Sen. Bong Revilla having his finger print taken at Camp Crame. File photo courtesy of PNP

MANILA, Philippines – As the beleaguered Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. spent his first Sunday in detention, he drew a huge boost of support from the Senior himself.

Ramon Revilla Sr., the patriarch of the Revilla clan, paid a visit to his son who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

Revilla was ordered detained for his involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. He was charged with plunder for allegedly receiving hundreds of millions of pesos in kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who skimmed the money from government allocations for the poor.

The actor-turned politician denied any role in the scam.

Plunder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and is non-bailable.

Family members accompanied Revilla Sr., while the senator’s son Bacoor City Mayor Strike Revilla aided the former senator on a wheelchair.

As his first Sunday in detention, Revilla Jr. was treated to a morning Bible study with his family and close friends while they feasted during lunch, Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP Public Information Office Chief, said.

Congresswoman Lani Mercado brought with her two boxes of cakes and other food stuffs while friend Jimmy Santos was the first to visit Revilla.

Sons Jolo and Bryan were also present for the pseudo family reunion.

Together with his friends and family, Revilla Jr. had a bible study in the morning and ate lunch after.

According to Revilla Jr.’s son Bryan, the group ate grilled pork belly, grilled fish, tamarind chicken, and for dessert, leche flan.

In a happy and peaceful atmosphere, the senator preferred the grill fish which, as his son said, was his favorite and a little of the grilled pork belly.

A healthy man

Sindac said that Revilla Jr. was in a “fairly good” condition. However, the detained senator had complained of migraines due to the humidity in his cell.

He added that Revilla Jr. went to sleep at 10:30 Saturday evening and experienced migraines at 4 a.m. Sunday early morning.

Doctors and nurses from the PNP Health Service rushed to Revilla’s aid and provided medication.

A single ceiling fan provided relief from the heat as family members pushed for an air cooler and some indoor plants to be put in Revilla Jr.’s cell.

“It still has to undergo court proceedings, which would open tomorrow (Monday),” Sindac said.

Son Bryan said that his father still gets a fair share of exercise in the small cell.

“What he does is sweep the floor and water the ground to lessen the heat,” the young Revilla said.

Visitation

Sindac said that even though visiting hours for Revilla were only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Thursday and Sunday, food from the family can be delivered anytime of the week.

Also, Revilla is only allowed a maximum 30 visitors as it is the capacity of the visitor’s sector of the Custodial Center.

Revilla’s visitors are only allowed to enter the visitor’s sector and are barred from entering the actual detention cell.

According to Bryan, they wish they could have more days, though they are happy with what the PNP has given them.

Special treatment

Sindac said that Revilla is treated properly, and not everything should be considered as “special treatment.”

“There is no special treatment, we treat him with respect. We treat him humanely,” Sindac said. “He is still a sitting senator.”

He added that Revilla’s room is not a detention cell, rather it was supposed to be an officer’s quarters of the PNP Custodial Center.

Camp Crame is undergoing building renovations and the supposed officer’s quarters were hastily transformed into a detention cell to accommodate Revilla.

“This wasn’t designed as a detention cell, this would only be used temporarily,” Sindac said as the Sandiganbayan would decide where to permanently detain Revilla.

He added that steel bars were added to turn the quarters into a makeshift detention cell.

Rat race

Sindac added that they would address the cockroach and rat infestation that plagued Revilla’s quarters.

He inferred that the pests probably came out when the renovation began.

“We will try to do some pesticide work,” Sindac said.

Bryan said that the rats were almost as big as kittens and, with a joking sigh of relief, said that some were already captured.

He was not, however, sure if his father had a hand in baiting the vermin.

‘Sorry, senator, but this is not a five-star hotel’ By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer 3:30 am | Monday, June 23rd, 2014 4 106 61Currencies News

MANILA, Philippines–So what’s wrong with having cockroaches and rats inside jail?

Some officials of the Philippine National Police on Sunday sneered at relatives and friends of Sen. Bong Revilla for raising a fuss over the crawling pests and other unwanted “guests” inside his detention cell at Camp Crame.

“Senator Revilla is not on vacation at Camp Crame. Spending time in detention is not supposed to be like a hotel accommodation,” a senior police officer, who agreed to talk on condition of anonymity, told the Inquirer.

“Although he is an elected official, he is accused of committing a crime. The presence of [bugs] and other crawling insects inside his detention cell should be the least of their concerns,” the officer said.

The PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, confirmed the presence of night crawlers inside Revilla’s detention room.

“We admit we are having pest problems at the Custodial Center. [We will address this concern] with pest control measures,” Sindac said.

Revilla’s wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, and lawyer and family friend Salvador Panelo told reporters on Saturday that they saw cockroaches and rats at the senator’s detention cell at the PNP Custodial Center.

They also complained about the lack of ventilation in the 32-square-meter room which, they said, could pose health risks to Revilla.

Unbearable heat

Another PNP official, who asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak to the media, admitted that the searing heat inside Revilla’s detention room could be unbearable during daytime and may even cause a headache.

Since his arrest on Friday, Revilla has been occupying the first room of the newly built four-room bungalow inside the high-security detention compound.

“But he can still consider himself lucky,” the second source said. “That building was intended to be the barracks of the officials of the Custodial Center who are forced to stay in an old and dilapidated building.”

The PNP official also disclosed that Revilla had been refusing to eat the food rationed to detainees since he was brought to the detention facility.

Tilapia for lunch

Instead, he said, the senator had been eating the food brought in by his wife, his siblings and close friends.

“While he has the right to decline the food we give him, Senator Revilla should also understand that the PNP is using public funds for the food ration of detainees like him,” he said.

Actor Bryan Revilla, the senator’s eldest son, said his father had sinampalukang manok (chicken in tamarind soup) and grilled tilapia for lunch on Sunday.

“We also brought grilled liempo. But he didn’t touch it because he’s avoiding foods which are high in cholesterol and uric acid,” Revilla’s son said.

Healthy diet

The family, he said, had leche flan (custard) for dessert.

“We bring him food so that at least he can feel our presence. Our family and some friends have agreed who among us would bring him food for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Bryan said.

“If he eats foods which are high in uric acid, he may not be able to walk. That’s why we keep him on a healthy diet,” he added.

‘As big as a kitten’

Bryan also confirmed that there were “many” cockroaches and rats inside his father’s cell.

Asked if mosquitoes were also causing problems for his father at night, he said: “It’s OK. He has [insecticide] inside.”

He said the visitors saw a rat “as big as a kitten” outside the detention facility’s visitor’s lounge, where the family held a Bible fellowship led by actor-turned-Christian pastor Chinkee Tan.

“But the rat has been captured. We were told it was already brought to the detention room of Tito Jinggoy,” he said in jest, referring to Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, his father’s close friend and coaccused in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Pest control measures

Besides Revilla and Estrada, opposition Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and 51 others have been charged with plunder and graft for allegedly funneling billions of pesos of Priority Development Assistance Fund to ghost projects of bogus nongovernment organizations of detained businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.

Revilla’s former chief of staff, lawyer Richard Cambe, who also surrendered to the Sandiganbayan on Friday, is also held at Camp Crame. He is staying in 9-square-meter cell.Originally posted: 9:04 pm | Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Expecting shame campaign, Bong Revilla wife to snub PNoy’s SONA June 22, 2014 8:19am 5083 183 1 5777


Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. hugs his wife Cavite 2nd District Representative Lani Mercado before he leaves the Revilla mansion in Imus, Cavite after the Sandiganbayan issued his warrant of arrest on June 20.(Photo by Ali Vicoy)

Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.'s wife is snubbing President Benigno Aquino III's State of the Nation Address this July, saying she expects him to crow about her husband's arrest and detention over the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado said this will be the second time she will not be attending Aquino's SONA, which is scheduled July 28 at the House of Representatives' complex in Quezon City.

"I have no intention of attending. This will be the second time...," she said in an interview on dzBB radio.

On Friday, Revilla was placed under detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, after he surrendered to the Sandiganbayan.

Revilla faces graft and plunder charges before the anti-graft court in connection with the multibillion-peso scam.

Mercado said she and Revilla had been victims of a shame campaign by Aquino, adding Aquino is "bound to do that" in his SONA.

"Oh yes. Naging biktima na kami ng maraming [pamamahiya] and he's bound to do that," she said when asked if she expects Aquino to mention Revilla's detention.

She added Aquino shamed her husband by telling people not to believe in "anting anting" and "agimat" during a speaking engagement in Cavite, Revilla's home province.

In his speech in February, the president said the electorate should not take their chances on “agimat” or “anting-anting (amulets)” – a statement that could be construed as referring to Bong Revilla and his family.

Last Independence Day, Mercado said Aquino took a dig at showbiz workers when he claimed in his speech that the country does not need to elect people who can deliver scripts or song and dance numbers.

"Hindi natin kailangan ng magaling bumigkas ng script, mahusay sumayaw, o kaya magaling kumanta," Aquino had said in his speech.

Revilla is a movie actor and television personality, while Mercado is a former actress and television host.

Meanwhile, Mercado said she continues to pray for "true justice," saying she believes there is "selective justice" under this administration.

"Naniniwala ako may selective justice talaga," she said. — Joel Locsin /LBG, GMA News

PNoy yet to pick new Sandiganbayan justice as ‘pork’ cases start moving June 21, 2014 10:18pm 173 23 0 214 Tags: Bantay Kaban , Sandiganbayan

President Benigno Aquino III has yet to choose a new associate justice for the Sandiganbayan more than 90 days after a vacancy was created when Associate Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang was appointed presiding justice of the anti-graft court.

According to a report on "24 Oras" aired Saturday, the president found out that one of the nominees for the position, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Bernelito Fernandez, was recommended to the position by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in 2012.

Enrile is one of three senators charged with graft and plunder before the Sandiganbayan over their alleged participation in the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

According to the Palace, the president has asked the Judicial and Bar Council, which prepares a list of nominees for vacancies in the judiciary for additional information on the nominees.

The request was made because the president wants the appointee to be "beyond suspicion" especially since PDAF cases are already with the Sandiganbayan.

"Considering na sa Sandiganbayan po ‘yung puwestong pinag-uusapan natin, kung saan tumatayong akusado ‘yung nag-endorso sa kanya, siguro po malinaw naman ‘yung duty ng Executive na i-verify muna at i-clarify ‘yung katayuan; at kung meron pa hong similar cases that would apply to those in the shortlist, kung merong similar circumstances," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a briefing over government radio dzRB on Saturday.

Valte added: "We expect some movements in filling this particular position very soon."

Judge Fernandez has confirmed that he asked for Enrile's recommendation, but said that that was back in 2012.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is his principal endorser now, the "24 Oras" report said.

The report said Fernandez believes there is a demolition job against him.

Under the Constitution, the president is supposed to issue appointments within 90 days of the JBC's submission of the list of nominees.

The JBC submitted its shortlist of nominees on February 28, giving the president until May 28 to pick an appointee.

Whomever the president appoints will fill the vacancy on the Sandiganbayan's Fifth Division. That division will handle the cases filed against Senator Jinggoy Estrada and others accused in the PDAF scam. — JDS, GMA News

FROM INTERAKSYON.COM

Palace: Warrants vs Revilla, et al 'a significant step forward' By: Dexter San Pedro and Lira Fernandez, InterAksyon.com June 20, 2014 1:02 PM InterAksyon.com The online news portal of TV5


Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma

(UPDATE - 3:28 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines -- Malacanang called Friday the issuance of warrants of arrest against Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. and 32 others accused of plunder and graft over the billion pork barrel scam "a significant step forward in the judicial process."

"We believe that through a fair and just trial, accountability will be clearly established and in like manner, those that are innocent will be exonerated," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said Friday.

"We join the citizenry in hoping that truth and justice will prevail," he added.

Revilla surrendered late Friday morning to the Sandiganbayan and has been ordered detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, where a new, bungalow-like facility has been built to keep him and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, who are facing similar charges and are expected to be ordered arrested soon.

In a related development, Gabriela partylist Representative Luz Ilagan said the arrest of Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. should not steal the spotlight from the reality that several "plunderers" still roam free and have yet to be held accountable for their involvement in the pork barrel scandal.

At the same time, Akbayan partylist Representative Walden Bello said that "the momentum of exacting justice must be sustained and even accelerated," adding that the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court should similarly order the immediate arrest of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, who are also facing plunder charges.

"The arrest of high-ranking public officials will help in banishing the obfuscation and confusion created by the corrupt in an effort to evade accountability," Bello said.

Ilagan said that the three senators and their staff do not even make half of those allegedly linked to the pork barrel scam, based on the list of whistle-blower Benhur Luy.

"Let's not forget there are many more who should be held accoutable," she said, alluding to the observation that the biggest pork disbursements came from the President himself, citing the over P150 billion fund under the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

"The arrest of senators is something that the President will most likely brag about during the State of the Nation Address to cover up the fact that under his administration, the biggest plunderers roam free while his economic policies continue to trap millions in poverty," Ilagan said.

Bello expressed satisfaction on the arrest of Revilla, saying, "Today is a breath of fresh air. Today is a 'Thank God it's Friday' kind of day. The wheels of justice already cranked into motion."


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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