Revilla still hot on Palace run
Unfazed by the charges he’s facing, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. said on Saturday he would run for president in 2016 if there’s a public clamor for it.
“If we need to sail in 2016, as long as our countrymen ask for it, I’ll be up to it because I’m innocent of the charges being hurled at me,” Revilla said in an interview on radio dwIZ. “I can look every Filipino in the eye, and I have nothing to fear.”
His lawyer, Joel Bodegon, said in a telephone interview that Revilla’s indictment had emboldened him to consider running for the highest office in the land in May 2016.
And if the public clamor for him to run for president “grows [louder]” and “snowballs,” Bodegon said he believed Revilla would go for it.
Bodegon said he believed it was Revilla’s earlier announcement of his plans for 2016 that prompted the Aquino administration to prosecute him in the pork barrel scam.
“That was his announced intention before, and that earned him the ire of Malacañang. He is perceived as one of the contenders. That’s why he’s in trouble now,” Bodegon said.
In his Independence Day speech, President Benigno Aquino III declared that politics had nothing to do with the indictment of the three senators, insisting they were accorded due process.
“This development would be the impetus for him to consider running. What could be a bigger vindication than people electing him to the highest office? His election means the people have cleared him of any culpability of the charges filed against him,” Bodegon said.
In the radio interview, Revilla said it was difficult for him to announce his political plans this early, and took a swipe at the administration, which he accused of “politicking.”
“We can see that this administration is engaged in too much politicking. They’re demolishing their rivals; now they’re targeting VP Binay,” he said, referring to Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Lakas-CMD president Rep. Martin Romualdez of Leyte declared that the party would remain a political force in 2016, despite the indictment of its chair, Revilla.
In January 2013, months before the pork barrel scam broke, Revilla said the party was looking to field him in the 2016 presidential election.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has said Revilla and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile can run for public office in 2016 despite being indicted for plunder and graft in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
“That is consistent with the provision of the Constitution that one is innocent until proven guilty. The filing of the case is only the next step. There’s no conviction there yet,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on state-run radio.
Revilla, Enrile and Estrada are facing arrest and long detention.
No need for ‘Boy Pickup’
Meanwhile, Revilla said there was no need for Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to pick up him and bring him to jail.
Revilla said he would go straight to jail once the Sandiganbayan issued a warrant for his arrest.
And while he’s ready to be thrown in the slammer, Revilla aired this challenge to the Aquino administration: Are you ready to jail your allies, too?
“I understand that ‘Boy Pickup’ is checking on our detention cell,” he said, referring to Roxas. “Maybe, he wants to pick me up again. He doesn’t need to. I’ll go there myself.”
In a privilege speech in January, Revilla claimed that President Aquino pleaded with him to vote for the conviction of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
Revilla claimed that it was then Transportation Secretary Roxas who drove him to Bahay Pangarap, the President’s official residence, from Roxas’ home in Cubao, Quezon City. He called Roxas “Boy Pickup.”
Revilla was one of the 20 senators who voted to convict Corona for dishonesty in disclosing his assets.
On Friday, Revilla wondered aloud if the administration was ready to crack the whip and file charges against its allies implicated in the scam.
Someday truth will come out
“I’m ready to be jailed. What about them, are they ready too? Are they ready to jail their allies,” he said. “We’re ready, and we’re ready to clear our names.”
To the administration, he gave this advice: “Look around you. I hope you’re clean. Someday, the truth will come out.”
Malacañang has consistently stated that the administration is ready to prosecute the President’s political allies who will be found to be involved in the pork barrel scam.
Both Revilla and Estrada had expressed confidence of being acquitted of the charges in a fair trial.
Revilla also declared that he would not seek “special treatment” from the government. He said he had prepared himself and his family for his imprisonment.
Plunder is a nonbailable offense.
He welcomed last Friday’s raffle of the plunder and graft cases to three divisions in the Sandiganbayan as a crucial step to fast-tracking the process.
“If you ask me, I prefer to be jailed now just to get it over and done with. As things stand, I feel like I’m in jail already, although I’m still out. The earlier we do this, the better to put a stop to the trial by publicity,” he said.
Revilla likened his predicament to a never-ending “nightmare.”
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