MANILA, Philippines – “Ito ang totoong script kagaya ng sinasabi ni Secretary Mar. Sila ang gumagawa ng script nito.” (This is the real script that Secretary Mar mentioned. They are the ones writing this script.)
Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr blasted Interior Secretary Mar Roxas for saying the actor-turned-politician should stop inventing scripts and instead respond to allegations he plundered the taxpayers’ money.
Revilla spoke in his Senate office on Tuesday, February 25, at one time turning emotional and stopping the press conference midway to collect himself. When the briefing resumed, he went on the offensive and even called on Roxas to resign. Watch:
In the latest tit-for-tat between the two politicians, Revilla sought to discredit the testimony of potential state witness Dennis Cunanan by insisting that it was Roxas who “convinced” the director general (on leave) of the state firm Technology Resource Center (TRC) to testify against him.
Revilla said he got the information from a “source,” whose name he refused to reveal because the person’s life was supposedly on the line. He refused to give details for now.
The senator responded to Cunanan’s claim that he pressured the TRC to expedite the release of his pork barrel funds to fake non-governmental organizations.
“That’s a lie. Sinungaling siya. Never ko siyang tinawagan. Hindi ko siya kilala at wala akong tinatawagan sa mga ganoong bagay, and it’s not my character para magalit. Ikaw makikiusap? Kung mayroon kang gustong kausapin, hindi ang deputy director ang tatawagan mo eh. Ang tatawagan mo ang head, ‘di ba? So kaya ito lahat ay gawa-gawa nila eh,” Revilla said.
(He’s a liar. I never called him. I did not call anyone about those things, and it’s not my character to be mad. To talk to him? If there is anyone I am supposed to talk to, it should be the head and not the deputy director, isn’t it? So this is all a fabrication.)
Revilla accused Roxas and the administration of orchestrating Cunanan’s testimony after self-confessed bagman Ruby Tuason surfaced but only testified against Senator Jinggoy Estrada and lawyer Jessica Lucila “Gigi” Reyes, the former chief of staff of Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.
“Lumabas si Ruby Tuason, ‘di ako nababanggit. Ngayon wala silang makuhang mag-witness against me, biglang lalabas si Cunanan.” (Ruby Tuason came out but I was not mentioned so now, they got a witness against me. Cunanan suddenly came out.)
Revilla, Estrada, Enrile, Tuason, and Cunanan face a plunder complaint for allegedly conniving with scam mastermind Janet Napoles to transfer the lawmakers’ pork barrel funds to her bogus non-governmental organizations in exchange for millions of pesos in kickbacks.
Revilla allegedly got the highest kickbacks worth P224.51 million.
‘Roxas a talking disaster’
Over the weekend, Roxas said he pitied Revilla for dragging his name into Cunanan’s testimony, and advised him not to “write scripts” and to stop treating the scam “like a movie.”
A bristling Revilla responded to the dig by pointing to Roxas’ alleged blunders as former Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) secretary and now Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief.
“Itong si Secretary Mar, every time kasi he opens his mouth, it’s a disaster. Simula nang maging secretary siya ng DOTC, problema sa plaka, problema ng LRT, MRT, ang plaka natin, kailan pa nila maimplement, by next year. Ang mga drivers’ license, ang mga problema diyan, ang problema sa LTFRB, sa kanya din nagmula iyan.”
(Every time Secretary Mar opens his mouth, it’s a disaster. Even when he was DOTC secretary, we had problems with license plates, LRT and MRT. The plates, when will those be implemented, by next year. The drivers’ licenses are another problem, the problem of LTFRB, those all started with him.)
“Ngayon secretary siya ng DILG, kumbaga sunod-sunod ang mga kapalpakan niya. Ang problema sa Tacloban, Zamboanga, puro siya iyan eh. Sabi ko ang bigat yata ng dala-dala ni Secretary Mar. Kung ako siya, mag-resign na lang siya. Makakatulong pa siya sa bayan kaysa mag-advice siya ng kung anu-anong kapalpakan sa Presidente.”
(Now he is secretary of DILG, he is committing one blunder after another. The problem in Tacloban, Zamboanga, that’s all him. I said he carries such a heavy burden. If I were him, I would resign. That way, he will help out the nation instead of giving the President lousy advice.)
Revilla maintained Roxas was getting back at him for saying in a privilege speech that the secretary he called “Boy Pick-up” drove him to a secret meeting in Malacañang, where the President supposedly convinced him to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona in the impeachment trial.
The rumored presidential aspirant repeated his usual argument on the scam. “This is 2016, for sure, 100%.”
‘Why is Cunanan changing his tune?’
Revilla’s tirade against Roxas and Cunanan comes a week before the TRC official is set to testify before the Senate blue ribbon committee in a hearing on March 6, Thursday.
Revilla and his close friend, Estrada, asked why Cunanan is now saying he called the two senators to verify their signatures and pork barrel transactions when he said no such thing in the first Senate hearing in August 2013.
“Wala siyang binabanggit na Bong Revilla. Ngayon, biglang may lalabas na ganito. Ano ba ito? Ito ang totoong script na sinasabi ni Senator Mar. Nakakalungkot,” Revilla said. (He did not Bong Revilla before. Now, he is coming out. What is this? This is the script that Senator Mar is saying.)
Committee chairman Teofisto “TG” Guingona III confirmed that Cunanan was present last year but said he was not given sufficient time to testify.
Guingona said that for now, Cunanan is the only witness invited to the hearing next week because he has yet to read the affidavit and determine if the presence of the other whistleblowers is needed.
The chairman met with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima Tuesday morning to confirm that Cunanan is provisionally under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) and that he is attending the hearing.
Jinggoy: De Lima obsessed with me
As for Enrile, the senator also denied knowing Cunanan. “I don’t think I endorsed anybody. Let them present the documents and we will see. We’re talking of the credence of evidence. The say-so of somebody, I do not know whether he saw me sign a document.”
Estrada attacked Cunanan, saying he wants to confront him in the Senate hearing but will have to consult his lawyers.
Like Revilla, Estrada asked why he even had to talk to Cunanan in the first place.
“Assuming for the sake of argument Mr Cunanan called me, you mean to say he will call a senator to verify a signature when I do not know him? How can I verify a document, a signature in a document, which I haven’t seen? Over the phone? What’s that? He should have gone to my office or wrote me to verify if it’s genuine.”
Estrada criticized De Lima for accepting witnesses “piecemeal.”
“’Di ko alam kung bakit masyadong obsessed itong si Secretary De Lima sa akin,” he retorted. (I don’t know why Secretary De Lima is so obsessed with me.)
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