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Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest

Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.: How to evade arrest? INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Weeks after the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam broke out in July last year, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. sought a meeting with Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson to ask  how the one-time fugitive had evaded arrest, according to a source privy to the meeting.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said Revilla requested the meeting with Lacson through a mutual friend “for a consultation.”

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The source said Revilla wanted to know how Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, was able to leave the country and evade authorities during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and surface later after the order for his arrest was quashed.

When contacted by the Inquirer, Lacson confirmed the meeting with Revilla took place but was mum on the details.

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Lacson, who completed his Senate term in June last year is now a presidential assistant on rehabilitation and recovery in typhoon-devastated Eastern Visayas.

Asked for comment, Revilla’s lawyer, Joel Bodegon, said: “That’s gossip. That’s not true.”

“I will be back on the 13th (of April). Sobra na ang paninira nila (The demolition is too much),” Revilla said in a text message coursed through his staff.

Lacson went to Hong Kong on Jan. 5, 2010, before charges were filed against him in connection with the murders of publicist Bubby Dacer and his driver. He reappeared in Manila on March 26, 2011, after the Court of Appeals withdrew the murder charges against him.

Revilla, the source said, had then already anticipated charges would be filed against him in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam, for which he has been indicted.

“As early as July of last year, Senator Revilla had already asked Lacson about when is the best time to leave and how to hide from authorities.” the source told Inquirer.

The meeting, the source said, took place in one of the smaller function rooms of Inagiku, a Japanese restaurant in Makati Shangri-La over dinner. Revilla was accompanied by a staff and a friend also close to Lacson, who arranged the meeting.

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According to the source, Revilla was straightforward in his questions to Lacson about how the former police general was able to remain at large.

The source added that Revilla was persistent on knowing details of Lacson’s escapade and kept on going back to the “topic” during the dinner.

“Revilla wanted details from Lacson and had even asked him to introduce him to his ‘caregiver’ while he was in hiding abroad.

The source said that Revilla also asked for Lacson’s advice on when it’s legally possible to leave unhampered.

“When the resolution of the case is ready for submission, preliminary hearing had been completed and during that time there is really nothing to do but wait,” the source explained.

Revilla, with his wife Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado and two children, left on Sunday for a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. According to a source in the Revilla camp, the family was to return on April 13.

On Tuesday, the Office of the Ombudsman announced the indictment of Revilla, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, for plunder in connection with the pork barrel racket.

Estrada and his family left for the United States on March 26, on board a Cathay Pacific flight, via Hong Kong. According to a source close to the senator, Estrada is expected to return before April 19, the birthday of his father, former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.

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TAGS: Bong Revilla, evading arrest, Panfilo Lacson, pork barrel scam
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