Revilla tells Aquino: End this political mudslinging
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. on Monday called on President Benigno Aquino III to put an end to mudslinging and urged him to lead the country towards unity, and not partisanship.
In what he described as probably the last time that he would express his sentiments, Revilla took the floor to deliver a privilege speech, which sounded like a valedictory address as he thanked his colleagues one by one.
“Mr. President, muli po akong tumatayo sa harapan ng ating mga kababayan upang minsan pa at posibleng pagkakataon ay mailahad ko ang aking damdamin na hindi para humudyat ng pagkawatak-watak, bagkus ay maipaubaya at magbukas ng bagong kabanat sa ating kasaysayan,” he said before a jam-packed gallery.
His family, relatives and supporters all trooped to the Senate to show their support for him.
“Mr. President, nasabi ko na nga po dati, malinis po ang aking konsensya. Ngayon na naisampa na ang kaso laban sa amin, hayaan nyo na po kaming harapin ito sa husgado. Ipaubaya na po natin ito sa korte at doon ko na po ipagtatanggol ang aking sarili,” he said.
Revilla was referring to the plunder and anti- graft cases that were filed against him and other individuals allegedly involved in the “pork barrel” scam.
Now that the issue was brought in court, he said, the government should now shift its attention to the more pressing problems of the country.
“Tama na ang batuhan, tama na ang siraan…” Revilla said in his privilege speech.
(Enough of the mudslinging, enough of the defamation.)
He said the President should use its remaining two years in government to address the problems of our countrymen.
“Lead this country not with hatred but with love. Lead the country towards unity and not partisanship. Push our nation’s interest and not political agenda. Bibihira ang nabibigyan ng pagkakataon ng maging pangulo at mapalad ka Pangulong Aquino,” Revilla said.
He said it would not be good for Aquino and his administration to be remembered for jailing only those who are not allied with them.
“Jailing your oppositors should not be the only achievement and legacy you will be leaving behind,” said the senator.
Revilla also expressed hopes that a seeming attempt to destroy the Senate and the House of Representatives was not part of what he called a “grand design” towards abolishing the institution by changing the Constitution or pushing for a Charter change.
Before ending his speech, the senator bared his own “list.”
“Mas matindi ito sa lahat ng iba pang listahan. Para sa ikabubuti ng bansa hayaan nyong ibahagi koi to sa inyo. Wala akong itatago,” he said.
Topping his list, he said, is God.
“Thank you for walking with me during these times of trial. Tulad ng lagi, alam ko pong hindi Niyo ako pababayaan. Alam kong hindi Mo pababayaan ang bayan.”
Revilla said second on his list was his father, and family, who he said continue to give him strength.
Third on his list, he said, was his colleagues. The senator then enumerated the names of his colleagues, and thanked them one by one.
To Senate President Franklin Drilon, Revilla expressed hopes that the former would be able successful in rebuilding the institution.
“Ipaglaban mo ang institusyong ito,” he told Drilon.
Revilla, who was emotional at the start of his speech, managed to laugh when he addressed Senators Lito Lapid , Joseph “JV” Ejercito, and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
“Kaibigang Lito, ikaw and Leon Guerrero ng masang Pilipino. Bida ka talaga ng masa,” he said of Lapid.
And to Estrada, Revilla said: “Kosa, hanggang dito ba naman magkasama tayo? Pinagtatawanan siguro tayo ni Daboy ngayon.”
Daboy is the name of the late actor Rudy Fernandez. Revilla, Estrada and Fernandez are known close friends since they were in showbiz. Estrada has also been charged with plunder at the Sandiganbayan.
Laughter broke out inside the gallery when Revilla turned to Estrada’s half-brother.
“Sa maikling panahon ng pagkakasama natin, nakita ko ang puso mo ng tulad ng iyong ama. Isa lang ang hiling ko, sana magkasundo na kayo ng kapatid mo,” Revilla said.
Estrada and Ejercito are both sons of former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada from different women and both admitted that they are not in good terms.
Revilla also has this meaningful message to Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee that investigates the “pork” scam.
“Kaibigan pa rin kita, no matter what. Lead the blue ribbon committee in fulfilling its true mandate,” he said.
Revilla ended his speech with a song entitled “Salamat kaibigan” played in an audio-video presentation.
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