‘It will be a lonely Christmas,’ says Revilla
MANILA, Philippines – It will be a lonely Christmas in jail for detained Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. as he lamented the Sandiganbayan’s junking of his bail petition in the plunder case filed against him over the pork barrel scam.
Speaking to reporters on Monday after the anti-graft court First Division’s hearing on his motion for reconsideration, Revilla said he was saddened by the court’s decision but he remained faithful in the justice system.
“Syempre malungkot ‘yun. Pero naniniwala pa rin ako na mayroong hustisya sa ating bansa,” Revilla said.
(I am saddened by it. But I still believe that there is justice in our country.)
“In God’s time,” added the movie actor, who wore a shirt that said “God is on my side” when he surrendered to authorities last June.
Asked how his Christmas will be in jail, the movie actor-turned-lawmaker said: “Malamig ang Pasko. (It will be a lonely Christmas). But I’m okay.”
Revilla said he no longer asked the court to grant him a Christmas and New Year furlough, unlike his colleague and fellow co-accused detained Senator Jinggoy Estrada, for fear that he might be criticized on social media.
“Baka ma-lambast pa tayo sa social media. Handa naman tayo magsakripisyo. Talagang ganun eh (We might be lambasted on social media. We are ready to make sacrifices. That’s just how it is),” Revilla said.
Revilla filed a motion for reconsideration on the court’s denial of his bail, saying that the court erred in finding strong evidence against him.
“With due respect, the Honorable court erred in finding that strong evidence of guilt exists against Senator Revilla for the crime of plunder,” the motion read.
He said handwriting expert Atty. Desiderio Pagui was able to prove that his signature on the pork barrel documents were forged.
Revilla also said that principal whistleblower Benhur Luy and the other witnesses did not personally see him received kickbacks from the scam.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report, which supposedly showed that he deposited millions of unexplained wealth and withdrew all of these at the height of the scandal, was not conclusive, the senator said. The report, he said, did not also show that he committed plunder.
Revilla said the court brushed aside the inconsistencies in Luy’s hard drive, which contained the daily transactions pertaining to the scam.
Revilla then asked the court to allow him to present more evidence for his bail petition, saying he would present more handwriting experts to prove that his signatures were forged.
The court gave the prosecution 20 days to comment on the motion, and 15 days thereafter for the defense to reply.
“In fine, the prosecution has duly established that there exists strong evidence that accused Revilla, Cambe and Napoles, in conspiracy with one another, committed the capital offense of plunder… and are thus not entitled to the constitutional right to bail,” according to the court’s 71-page resolution denying Revilla’s bail.
“However, the court cautions that such conclusion shall not be regarded as a prejudgment on the merits of the case that are to be determined only after a full blown trial,” it added.
Revilla has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center with co-accused Senator Estrada while another co-accused, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, has been on hospital detention.
The three have been accused of receiving kickbacks after allegedly funneling their Priority Development Assistance Funds to bogus foundations being linked to businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the scam, has also been charged with plunder and detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa female dormitory for plunder.
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