Revilla’s acquittal ‘sends wrong signal,’ says De Lima
MANILA, Philippines — The acquittal of former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. in his plunder trial gives the “wrong signal,” Sen. Leila de Lima said on Saturday.
“At a time when pork barrel is making a comeback in Congress with the House giving Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s district P2.4 billion, the acquittal of former Sen. Bong Revilla by the Sandiganbayan in the [Janet] Napoles PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] Scam plunder case sends the wrong signal,” De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame in Quezon City.
The Sandiganbayan’s Special First Division ruled on Revilla’s plunder case on Friday.
De Lima was also referring to the alleged pork barrel bared by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who claimed that Arroyo’s district was getting a P2.4-billion pork after realignments in the proposed 2019 national budget.
“With Revilla’s acquittal, it now appears that legislators are not responsible for how they use their pork, even if this ends up being plundered,” De Lima said.
She also noted that other legislators with pending criminal cases at the Sandiganbayan could “rest easy.”
“If this becomes the trend in the trial of the PDAF Scam plunder and corruption cases, certainly all Senators and Congressmen awaiting trial and judgment at the Sandiganbayan can all rest easy,” she said.
Aside from Revilla, former Sens. Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile were also charged with plunder.
“Under this administration, what is now patently evident is that the corrupt and big plunderers are set free, while critics are targeted and charged with fabricated accusations, and mere suspects are gunned down in broad daylight,” De Lima said.
De Lima is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City on drug charges. /atm
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