Revilla grateful over Duterte’s remarks vs Ombudsman
Former Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., detained for charges of plunder over the pork barrel scam, on Thursday said he is grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte for criticizing Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales for her “selective justice.”
Revilla faced reporters at the sidelines of the resumption of his plunder trial at the Sandiganbayan.
Revilla lamented that his detention at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for over three years already seems to give the impression that he is guilty of a crime he did not commit.
“Ang tagal tagal natin nakakaulong. Para tayong guilty na e. I just hope na mabigyang liwanag na ito (I’ve been detained for quite a while now. Seems I’m guilty of the charges already. I just hope everything clears up),” Revilla said.
He expressed gratitude to Duterte for seeming to take his side when the latter criticized the Ombudsman for her “selective justice.”
“Nagpapasalamat tayo kay Pangulong Duterte at least na oobserbahan din pala nya. Prayers lang po hinihiling natin sa ating mga kababayan at least ngayon may liwanag na (We are thankful for President Duterte at least he also observed what’s happening. I’m just asking for prayers from our countrymen at least things are clearing up),” Revilla said.
In a speech on Tuesday, Duterte criticized the Ombudsman’s partiality in filing cases and for her failure to wrap up the plunder cases involving the three senators over the pork barrel scam.
“It seems that the Office of the Ombudsman has mastered the art of selective justice – hard on some, soft on others,” Duterte said.
“Bakit ang Ombudsman, matagal na siya diyan, natapos na si Aquino, why can’t they just wind up the cases against the senators?” he added.
Revilla lamented the situation he and his colleagues former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada are experiencing while they face plunder cases for allegedly earning kickbacks from ghost pork barrel projects.
He said the Ombudsman should study well the cases they are preparing against public officials lest they cause damages to officials who are innocent of the allegations.
“Kung ganito lang din aabutin ng ibang senador, dapat pag-aralan din mabuti ng Ombudsman kung ipa-file kasi dahil minsan makakadamage ka ng isang tao. Halimbawa at the end of hearing lalabas ang katotohanan na wala naman sila pananagutan,” Revilla said.
(If this is what a senator would go into, the Ombudsman should study well the cases before they file it because they can damage the reputation of a person. For example at the end of the hearing the truth will come out that these people are innocent.)
Revilla said if he is given an opportunity to be free from his charges, he would be returning to the showbiz industry.
“Namimiss ko na ang show business. Gusto ko bumalik sa pag-a-artista. Public service naman, kahit wala sa pulitika. Andoon pa rin yan e (I really miss show business. I wanted to go back to acting. Public service actually remains in us even if you are not in politics.),” Revilla said.
In a separate interview, Revilla’s lead counsel former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza said his client is entitled to bail already because of the denial of his right to a speedy trial.
“Senator Revilla is not under detention for about four years. In my opinion and I will raise this point to the court that his detention has ceased to be preventive but punitive… Senator Revilla has been detained, with liberty lost which can never be recovered,” Mendoza said.
“The only solution I can think of and which is not certainly going to be prejudicial is that when there is a delay such as this at the very least if the case is not to be dismissed, yet for denial of right to speedy trial, the accused must at least be entitled to be released on bail,” he added.
Revilla surrendered and was detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in 2014 for plunder for allegedly pocketing P224.5 million in kickbacks from his PDAF in the scheme of using the pork barrel fund in ghost projects by mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
Also detained for plunder is Revilla’s former colleague, Jinggoy Estrada, who is accused of pocketing P183.7-million in kickbacks. Former senator Juan Ponce Enrile is also accused of receiving P172.8-million but is out of bail for humanitarian reasons
The alleged mastermind of the PDAF scam, Janet Lim Napoles, is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. JPV
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