TOP SANDIGAN NOMINEE SON OF JUSTICE WHO HANDLED NINOY AQUINO'S CASE

The top nominee for the vacant post in the Sandiganbayan is reportedly the son of the former justice who acquitted the late Gen. Fabian Ver, a trusted military officer of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, of murder charges in connection with the Aug. 21, 1983 assassination of President Aquino’s father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. The STAR has learned that Quezon City Presiding Judge Bernelito Fernandez is the son of former Sandiganbayan presiding justice Bernardo Fernandez, who also served as Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) during the Marcos regime. The younger Fernandez topped the six names the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) included in its shortlist that was submitted to the President, who will choose a replacement for former Sandiganbayan justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang who was promoted as presiding justice. The elder Fernandez, now in his 80s and who recently stopped teaching in law school, was among the magistrates who absolved Ver and many others in the 1983 double murder case of Ninoy Aquino and Rolando Galman, the alleged assassin of the former senator. In 1986, when Aquino’s mother Corazon was president, the Supreme Court under then Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee declared the proceedings a “mistrial.” The soldiers were eventually convicted, but set an exception to the principle of double jeopardy. Malacañang, however, is blaming Aquino’s failure to appoint – within the 90-day constitutionally prescribed deadline – a new justice of the anti-graft court on JBC’s providing “insufficient background,” using an endorsement of opposition Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. Enrile’s endorsement was dated June 5, 2012, a year before the pork barrel scandal broke out and he was still the Senate president. READ MORE...

ALSO: Enrile endorsee to Sandigan prompts Palace to ask for JBC review 

The inclusion of a magistrate endorsed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the Judicial and Bar Council's nominees to the Sandiganbayan pushed President Benigno Aquino III to ask for a review of the list submitted by the constitutional body, Malacanang said on Friday. Undersecretary Abigail Valte, the deputy presidential spokesperson, said Malacanang asked the JBC to review certain information after finding out one of the nominees was endorsed by Enrile for an earlier Sandiganbayan post vacancy. Valte also denied that the executive branch returned the list to the constitutional body tasked to screen nominees to the judiciary. "Siguro sa parte naman ng Pangulo, nag-doble ingat lang din considering na iyong posisyon na ito, isa siya doon sa mga posibleng humawak doon sa mga PDAF cases," Valte said in a news briefing. Enrile, in a letter to Aquino dated June 5, 2012, endorsed Quezon City RTC Judge Bernelito Fernandez. Enrile is one of three senators charged with plunder and graft before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam. Request for review--Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., in a letter to Supreme Court Justice Lourdes Sereno dated June 19, 2014, said it was "appropriate that the JBC be afforded the opportunity to revisit its shortlist given the current extraordinary circumstances." He said the President needed to know if the JBC was still nominating Fernandez and if it could supply more information about the other nominees, specifically their past and present relations and affiliations with lawmakers charged before the Sandiganbayan and Office of the Ombudsman. "The vetting process has become more rigorous to ensure that the nominee to be appointed by the President will not only be of impeccable probity and competence, but also free of any conflict of interest," Ochoa said in his letter to Sereno, the JBC chair. "The nominee to be appointed has to be, like Caesar's wife, completely above suspicion," he added. READ MORE...

ALSO: JPE's former chief of staff, Gigi set to surrender

Lawyer Jessica Lucilla “Gigi” Reyes (photo), the former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, will surrender once the Sandiganbayan issues the warrant of arrest. Sources from Reyes’ camp said Enrile’s trusted ally has been weighing her options since she returned from abroad last April, about six months after she left as she was dragged into the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund misuse. “She’s just around. She will give herself up to the proper authorities once a warrant of arrest is issued,” a person close to Reyes told a group of Senate reporters over the weekend. Warrants for the arrest of Reyes and Enrile as well as Sen. Jinggoy Estrada are expected to be out this week. Estrada renewed his marriage vows with wife Precy in ceremonies last night at their home in Greenhills, San Juan in preparation for his expected detention without bail for plunder. Reyes, a lawyer by profession, has studied the plunder charges leveled against her and is ready to clear herself in court, a close aide revealed. Whistle-blowers have directly linked her to the pork barrel fund skimming. Observers have pointed out that she is the only person who can directly link Enrile to the scam. Reyes reportedly returned to the country upon Enrile’s d2 advice and to take care of her children who became traumatized after their mother was implicated in the controversy. Reyes asked the Sandiganbayan on Friday to suspend its proceedings on the plunder case and defer the issuance of warrant of arrest against her. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noy won’t humiliate Revilla in SONA - Coloma

President Aquino has no plan to humiliate Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. when he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) before a joint session of Congress on July 28. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. allayed the fears of Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado that her husband would be put to shame before the entire country. “We respect and recognize her right to express her feelings,” he said in Filipino. “Our President had no such plans.” Mercado said she will not attend the SONA even if she is a member of the House of Representatives. On Revilla’s chances in the 2016 polls, Coloma said the nation would be the judge. Coloma said Aquino is not politicking as he is focused on how to achieve the reform programs he had initiated. “More or less, we have 738 days up to June 30, 2016 when the term of the President ends,” he said in Filipino. “We won’t be deterred from implementing the reforms promised to our countrymen.” Clampdown feared -Sen. JV Ejercito believes the administration has effectively clamped down on the political opposition with the imminent arrest of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and his brother, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. “Well, there is definitely (a chilling effect),” he said. “As you can see, many of our colleagues are very quiet now. They have really made examples of non-allies, especially the others who might be facing charges.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Detention cell too hot for Bong --Revilla family

Detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. may have felt uneasy in detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) cell in Camp Crame, Quezon City but the condominium-type structure is far more comfortable compared to congested jails nationwide. Revilla’s camp yesterday complained that the detention cell is too hot for the senator since he was not allowed to bring any cooling machine inside the facility without approval of the Sandiganbayan. Revilla is facing plunder charges for alleged misuse of his pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Some observers reminded Revilla’s camp that they should not criticize the PNP custodial center considering that if the actor-turned politician were not detained, the 32-square meter facility would have been comfortable quarters for an officer of the police Headquarters Support Service. A source said Revilla did not touch any of the jail food provided to him and other inmates. The PNP served fried alumahan and sauteed monggo with ampalaya leaves for dinner last Friday and hot porridge (lugaw) for breakfast on Saturday. “He (Revilla) did not eat the food served to him by the staff of the Custodial Center. He just waited for the food brought to him by his family,” the source noted. According to Revilla’s eldest son Bryan, their family and friends brought different kinds of food, including grilled pork belly, grilled tilapia and sinampalukan manok. He said he did not see the other food brought in by their friends. The PNP served pan de sal for breakfast yesterday, sauteed ground pork for lunch and sauteed ampalaya. “He has no particular favorite food, but he was conscious not to eat food which is high in uric acid and could trigger a migraine attack,” Bryan told reporters yesterday afternoon. He said they have designated the members of their family who would bring food to his father everyday. READ MORE...


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Top Sandigan nominee son of justice who handled Ninoy’s case

MANILA, JUNE 23, 2014 (PHILSTAR)  By Delon Porcalla - The top nominee for the vacant post in the Sandiganbayan is reportedly the son of the former justice who acquitted the late Gen. Fabian Ver, a trusted military officer of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, of murder charges in connection with the Aug. 21, 1983 assassination of President Aquino’s father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.

The STAR has learned that Quezon City Presiding Judge Bernelito Fernandez is the son of former Sandiganbayan presiding justice Bernardo Fernandez, who also served as Tanodbayan (Ombudsman) during the Marcos regime.

The younger Fernandez topped the six names the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) included in its shortlist that was submitted to the President, who will choose a replacement for former Sandiganbayan justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang who was promoted as presiding justice.

The elder Fernandez, now in his 80s and who recently stopped teaching in law school, was among the magistrates who absolved Ver and many others in the 1983 double murder case of Ninoy Aquino and Rolando Galman, the alleged assassin of the former senator.

In 1986, when Aquino’s mother Corazon was president, the Supreme Court under then Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee declared the proceedings a “mistrial.” The soldiers were eventually convicted, but set an exception to the principle of double jeopardy.

Malacañang, however, is blaming Aquino’s failure to appoint – within the 90-day constitutionally prescribed deadline – a new justice of the anti-graft court on JBC’s providing “insufficient background,” using an endorsement of opposition Senator Juan Ponce Enrile.

Enrile’s endorsement was dated June 5, 2012, a year before the pork barrel scandal broke out and he was still the Senate president.

Enrile, along with fellow opposition Senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada and 34 others, was among the high-profile government officials charged with graft and plunder before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam.

“The nominee to be appointed has to be like Caesar’s wife, completely above suspicion. So we wanted more information on one of the appointees,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, justifying a purported review of the nominees’ credentials.

Being the appointing authority, Aquino does not have to appoint the JBC’s top choice.

The Chief Executive in many instances had appointed the most junior of the nominees in the shortlist, as in the case of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Sandiganbayan Justice Tang.

“We feel that because of the extraordinary circumstances that are attendant in this particular case, we recognize the urgency. And that’s why we wanted also further assistance from the JBC,” Valte told a news briefing.

Under the law, Aquino has a non-extendible period of 90 days within which to choose from among a shortlist provided by the JBC for any vacancy that may occur in the judiciary or at the Office of the Ombudsman.

The three-month deadline, specifically set in the charter, lapsed last May 26.

A violation of the Constitution, more so from a sitting president, has serious legal repercussions and can even be used as a ground for impeachment.

The appointing authority has the option to return the list if he wanted to, but will still be bound by it should the JBC stand by its decision, as in the case of former chief justices Hilario Davide Jr. and Reynato Puno during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

But the fixed period will still remain – the appointment has to be made within 90 days.

For several times in her nine-year administration until mid-2010, Arroyo returned the JBC shortlist which it usually stands pat on, but her appointment always fell within the 90-day prescribed period.

This is the first time that a President missed the deadline of appointing a magistrate.

The STAR learned from unimpeachable sources that Aquino had been informed way ahead of the May 26 JBC deadline.

JBC returns shortlist to Palace

The JBC has returned to Malacañang its shortlist for the lone vacancy in the Sandiganbayan for associate justice, rejecting a request from the Office of the President for a re-evaluation.

Last Thursday, Malacañang returned to the JBC the shortlist it submitted last Feb. 28.

The Palace, in a letter, asked the JBC to further review and evaluate the candidates for the Sandiganbayan vacancy.

But the JBC rejected the request on the same day and returned the shortlist with eight nominees back to the Office of the President.

In a one-page letter signed by its ex-officio chair Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno, the council told the Palace it could review or revise the list.

“We do not read anything from the Constitution that authorizes the JBC, once it submits a list of recommendees, to revisit the same even under changed circumstances,” stressed Sereno.

“We also see no process for confirmation by the JBC of any list of recommendees, if the list has been transmitted officially through the appropriate channels,” she added.

The JBC, however, did not tackle the issue involving the expiration of the 90-day period prescribed in the Constitution for President Aquino to choose from its shortlist.

The position in the fifth division of Sandiganbayan, where some of the plunder and graft cases involving the pork barrel fund anomaly have been assigned, has been vacant since October last year or over eight months.

In the shortlist were five court judges, two Department of Justice (DOJ) officials and an assistant solicitor general:

  • Judges Maryann Corpus-Manalac of Makati regional trial court,
  • Bernelito Fernandez of Quezon City RTC,
  • Ronaldo Martin of Antipolo RTC,
  • Andres Soriano of Makati RTC and
  • Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta of Manila RTC;
  • DOJ Undersecretary Leah Tanodra-Armamento and
  • Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras III; and
  • Assistant Solicitor General Marissa Macaraig Guillen.

The vacancy is in the fifth division of the anti-graft court, which will hear the plunder and graft cases against Estrada and 13 others charged in the pork barrel fund scam.

Lawyer Jose Mejia, JBC member representing academe, explained that the date of the appointment paper from the Palace would determine whether or not the Palace violated the constitutional provision.

“If the date is within the 90-day deadline, then there’s no violation. But if the date of appointment is not within this period, there is violation of the constitutional provision,” he told reporters.

Mejia, however, stressed that there is nothing wrong with antedating of appointment papers as it has been practiced by previous presidents.

But a member of the Supreme Court Appointment Watch also believes that holding the President liable for culpable violation of the Constitution over the delayed appointment would be far-fetched.

Lawyer and law professor Marlon Manuel, of Alternative Law Group, explained that missing a deadline set by the Constitution is not exactly the culpable violation that an impeachment proceeding would require.

“Culpable violation is when the official deliberately violates the Constitution through actions contrary to provisions in the charter. Missing a deadline may not be considered as such because there could be a valid justification for that,” he pointed out in a separate interview, also citing the practice of antedating appointment papers. – With Edu Punay

FROM GMA NETWORK

Enrile endorsee to Sandigan prompts Palace to ask for JBC review By KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMA NewsJune 20, 2014 1:37pm 1239 163 0 1909 Tags: Sandiganbayan (UPDATED 2:44 p.m.)

The inclusion of a magistrate endorsed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in the Judicial and Bar Council's nominees to the Sandiganbayan pushed President Benigno Aquino III to ask for a review of the list submitted by the constitutional body, Malacanang said on Friday.

Undersecretary Abigail Valte, the deputy presidential spokesperson, said Malacanang asked the JBC to review certain information after finding out one of the nominees was endorsed by Enrile for an earlier Sandiganbayan post vacancy.

Valte also denied that the executive branch returned the list to the constitutional body tasked to screen nominees to the judiciary.

"Siguro sa parte naman ng Pangulo, nag-doble ingat lang din considering na iyong posisyon na ito, isa siya doon sa mga posibleng humawak doon sa mga PDAF cases," Valte said in a news briefing.

Enrile, in a letter to Aquino dated June 5, 2012, endorsed Quezon City RTC Judge Bernelito Fernandez.

Enrile is one of three senators charged with plunder and graft before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the pork barrel scam.

Request for review

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., in a letter to Supreme Court Justice Lourdes Sereno dated June 19, 2014, said it was "appropriate that the JBC be afforded the opportunity to revisit its shortlist given the current extraordinary circumstances."

He said the President needed to know if the JBC was still nominating Fernandez and if it could supply more information about the other nominees, specifically their past and present relations and affiliations with lawmakers charged before the Sandiganbayan and Office of the Ombudsman.

"The vetting process has become more rigorous to ensure that the nominee to be appointed by the President will not only be of impeccable probity and competence, but also free of any conflict of interest," Ochoa said in his letter to Sereno, the JBC chair.

"The nominee to be appointed has to be, like Caesar's wife, completely above suspicion," he added.

Valte, however, said the proposed review did not intend to add or take away any nominee from the shortlist.

"It’s really merely to vet that particular piece of information and its relation and the possible existence of other connections to other people that are on that shortlist," she said.

But Sereno already said that the JBC did not see anything in the Constitution that allowed the council to review the shortlist "even under changed circumstances."

"We also see no process for 'confirmation' by the JBC of any list of recommendees, if the list has been transmitted officially through the appropriate channels," she added.

90-day period

The JBC is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Offices of the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsman. The President is then required to pick from the shortlist drafted by the JBC within 90 days.

But Lawyer Jose Mejia, a JBC regular member for the academe, said Aquino may have violated the Constitution by failing to pick within the prescribed period.

The Palace, however, reiterated that this was not the case.

"We feel that because of the extraordinary circumstances that are attendant in this particular case, we recognize the urgency. And that’s why we wanted also further assistance from the JBC," said Valte on Friday. —NB, GMA News

FROM PHILSTAR

Gigi set to surrender By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 23, 2014 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Lawyer Jessica Lucilla “Gigi” Reyes (photo), the former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, will surrender once the Sandiganbayan issues the warrant of arrest.

Sources from Reyes’ camp said Enrile’s trusted ally has been weighing her options since she returned from abroad last April, about six months after she left as she was dragged into the multibillion-peso pork barrel fund misuse.

“She’s just around. She will give herself up to the proper authorities once a warrant of arrest is issued,” a person close to Reyes told a group of Senate reporters over the weekend.

Warrants for the arrest of Reyes and Enrile as well as Sen. Jinggoy Estrada are expected to be out this week.

Estrada renewed his marriage vows with wife Precy in ceremonies last night at their home in Greenhills, San Juan in preparation for his expected detention without bail for plunder.

Reyes, a lawyer by profession, has studied the plunder charges leveled against her and is ready to clear herself in court, a close aide revealed.

Whistle-blowers have directly linked her to the pork barrel fund skimming. Observers have pointed out that she is the only person who can directly link Enrile to the scam.

Reyes reportedly returned to the country upon Enrile’s d2 advice and to take care of her children who became traumatized after their mother was implicated in the controversy.

Reyes asked the Sandiganbayan on Friday to suspend its proceedings on the plunder case and defer the issuance of warrant of arrest against her.

In her urgent motion, Reyes said the Sandiganbayan should first await the Supreme Court resolution on her application for temporary restraining order and/or write of preliminary injunction “as a matter of courtesy.”

Reyes raised concerns whether the resolutions of the Ombudsman are tainted with nullity for denying her right to due process and equal protection of the law, and whether the Ombudsman disregarded vital and essential facts and evidence on record which negate the existence of probable cause against her.

Compared to Pauline Labayen, appointments secretary of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada who resigned after she was implicated in the case, Reyes has been asserting her rights to due process in connection with the plunder case.

The Estrada camp has not seen nor heard from Labayen since the controversy erupted last year.

Reyes is expected to be arrested anytime this week along with Enrile and Estrada as principal accused in the pork barrel scam.

The period in which the Sandiganbayan’s Third and Fifth Divisions chaired by Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang and Roland Jurado, respectively, to determine probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest will end on Friday.

Sandiganbayan spokesman Renato Bocar earlier explained the magistrates have 10 days to review criminal complaints and rule on whether the Office of the Ombudsman has a case, with or without motions for judicial determination of probable cause from the defendants.

If there is a finding of probable clause, the anti-graft court will issue arrest orders and schedule an arraignment date much like how Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. voluntarily surrendered last Friday and will be arraigned on June 26 before the First Division headed by Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz.

Enrile, through lawyer Estelito Mendoza, is challenging the indictment before the Third Division, claiming there is no evidence to show the senator committed the crime of plunder by pocketing public funds through the pork barrel scam.

Mendoza filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of Enrile, asking the Sandiganbayan to junk the criminal complaint. He argued the complaint does not even clearly state what crime was committed and how because it was chockfull of general allegations.

Estrada, through lawyer Jose Flaminiano, is also asking the Fifth Division to junk the cases filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman, citing his innocence and the lack of evidence to support the criminal charges, among others.

A total of 45 cases divided roughly into three, based on one principal accused and their respective co-accused had been filed before the Sandiganbayan against Enrile, Estrada and Revilla. The cases were raffled off to separate divisions of the anti-graft court.

Enrile’s 16 cases – one plunder and 15 graft – where he and other respondents, including Reyes are accused of pocketing P172 million in pork barrel fund kickbacks or commissions, went to Tang.

Estrada’s 12 cases – one plunder and 11 graft – where he and fellow respondents are accused of stealing P183 million, went to the Fifth Division chaired by Associate Justice Jurado.

Revilla’s 17 cases – one plunder and 16 graft – where he is accused of pocketing P242 million went to the First Division chaired by Justice de la Cruz.

Since suspected pork barrel fund scam operator Janet Lim-Napoles is a respondent in all the cases filed against the lawmakers, she will face charges and/or trial in all three courts.

On Friday, the First Division issued the warrant of arrest for Revilla and the other co-accused.

Revilla is now detained at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Camp Crame under the custody of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. –Michael Punongbayan

Noy won’t humiliate Revilla in SONA-- Coloma By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 23, 2014 - 12:00am


REVILLA, PNoy

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has no plan to humiliate Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. when he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) before a joint session of Congress on July 28.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. allayed the fears of Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado that her husband would be put to shame before the entire country.

“We respect and recognize her right to express her feelings,” he said in Filipino. “Our President had no such plans.”

Mercado said she will not attend the SONA even if she is a member of the House of Representatives.

On Revilla’s chances in the 2016 polls, Coloma said the nation would be the judge.

Coloma said Aquino is not politicking as he is focused on how to achieve the reform programs he had initiated.

“More or less, we have 738 days up to June 30, 2016 when the term of the President ends,” he said in Filipino.

“We won’t be deterred from implementing the reforms promised to our countrymen.”

Clampdown feared

Sen. JV Ejercito believes the administration has effectively clamped down on the political opposition with the imminent arrest of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and his brother, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada.

“Well, there is definitely (a chilling effect),” he said.

“As you can see, many of our colleagues are very quiet now. They have really made examples of non-allies, especially the others who might be facing charges.”

Speaking over radio dzBB, Ejercito said the administration is attempting to silence the political opposition, including his father, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who is facing a disqualification case in the Supreme Court (SC).

The impending arrest of Senators Estrada and Enrile might deter other personalities from criticizing the administration, he added.

Ejercito said the Senate minority’s role as administration critics has been affected since Enrile, Estrada and Revilla were implicated in the pork barrel scam last year.

“Even if our colleagues are detained, we have to continue to play our roles as fiscalizers especially since this is a democracy,” he said.

Ejercito said the Senate minority will continue to perform its functions despite being reduced in numbers.

Otherwise, the Senate will deteriorate into a runner stamp of the administration, he added.

Ejercito sees a pattern that critics of the administration would face its wrath.

Sen. Gregorio Honasan is also reportedly next in line to face charges linked to the pork barrel scam, he added.

Ejercito said he has received reports that he will be the subject of a disqualification case for poll overspending in the last elections.

The charges would be similar to those thrown at his cousin, ousted Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito, he added.

The Senate minority would be reduced to four, including Ejercito, Deputy Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III, and Sen. Nancy Binay. – With Christina Mendez

Detention cell too hot for Bong By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 23, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - Detained Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. may have felt uneasy in detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) cell in Camp Crame, Quezon City but the condominium-type structure is far more comfortable compared to congested jails nationwide.

Revilla’s camp yesterday complained that the detention cell is too hot for the senator since he was not allowed to bring any cooling machine inside the facility without approval of the Sandiganbayan.

Revilla is facing plunder charges for alleged misuse of his pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Some observers reminded Revilla’s camp that they should not criticize the PNP custodial center considering that if the actor-turned politician were not detained, the 32-square meter facility would have been comfortable quarters for an officer of the police Headquarters Support Service.

A source said Revilla did not touch any of the jail food provided to him and other inmates.

The PNP served fried alumahan and sauteed monggo with ampalaya leaves for dinner last Friday and hot porridge (lugaw) for breakfast on Saturday.

“He (Revilla) did not eat the food served to him by the staff of the Custodial Center. He just waited for the food brought to him by his family,” the source noted.

According to Revilla’s eldest son Bryan, their family and friends brought different kinds of food, including grilled pork belly, grilled tilapia and sinampalukan manok. He said he did not see the other food brought in by their friends.

The PNP served pan de sal for breakfast yesterday, sauteed ground pork for lunch and sauteed ampalaya.

“He has no particular favorite food, but he was conscious not to eat food which is high in uric acid and could trigger a migraine attack,” Bryan told reporters yesterday afternoon.

He said they have designated the members of their family who would bring food to his father everyday.

Aside from Revilla, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, and 51 others were also charged with plunder and graft in connection with the pork barrel scam.

The PNP constructed a four-door quarters for police officers of the jail but the rooms were converted into detention cells for the senators.

Revilla is currently occupying the first of four living quarters after the Sandiganbayan issued arrest orders for the senator. Arrest orders were also expected to be issued against Enrile and Estrada next week.

Security has been tightened inside Camp Crame.

Meanwhile, Bryan said that they also had bible fellowship, led by their pastor Chinkee Tan, which was attended by about 15 to 20 persons.

Revilla’s father, former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr. arrived at the custodial center at around 11 a.m. Revilla used a wheelchair from his vehicle to get to the detention cell of his son and left about two hours later.

Other visitors included the senator’s wife Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, son Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla, brother Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla, comedian Jimmy Santos, director Marlon Bautista, Revilla’s sister Andrea Bautista-Ynares and her husband.

When asked about the presence of rats and cockroaches, Bryan said he himself saw a rat as big as a kitten while he was at the custodial center visitors’ lounge.

Bryan said the mouse was later caught. – With Dino Balabo


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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