MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr on Monday, April 7, thumbed down the growing public clamor for him and two other senators to resign for their alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam.
Revilla’s lawyer, Joel Bodegon, said in a phone patch interview with ANC’s Headstart that as far as his client is concerned, there is no reason for him to step down as he believes he is innocent of the plunder charges to be filed against him with the Sandiganbayan.
“From the beginning, Senator Revilla maintains his innocence from all of these charges. He doesn’t see any reason for him to step down. He is elected by the people and he is answerable to the people,” Bodegon said.
#ScrapPork Network has initiated a Change.org petition calling on citizens to exert pressure on Revilla, and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada to resign immediately out of delicadeza (sense of propriety) and if they don’t, the Senate should expel them.
The ouster movement is based on the Ombudsman’s resolution to file plunder charges against the 3 senators before the Sandiganbayan, after it found probable cause that they accepted a combined total of P600 million in kickbacks from suspected pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.
The alleged scheme involved the release of the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for ghost projects implemented by bogus nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) ran by Napoles.
Bodegon also dismissed concerns that Revilla would be unable to effectively discharge his duties as a senator if there are lingering doubts about his integrity.
“If you are innocent of the charges, I do not think that you would feel inhibited in performing properly and adequately your functions to your elected position. That’s the situation of Senator Revilla,” Bodegon said.
Motion for Reconsideration
The lawyer said Revilla will file within the day a Motion for Reconsideration on the Ombudsman’s resolution. The 3 senators only have until April 7 to file an MR.
Bodegon said the substance of Revilla’s MR is that “the Ombudsman committed an error in resolving adversely the charges against Senator Bong Revilla.”
“We are seeking through this MR, for the Ombudsman to take a very serious look again at the evidence on record and resolve to set aside its adverse resolution against Senator Bong Revilla because from all the evidence on record, nothing holds Senator Bong Revilla liable for the crimes charges against him,” he said.
He said the MR “discusses at length, point by point, the errors committed by the Ombudsman in its adverse resolution.”
Responding to questions, the lawyer said that if the MR fails, “there are still other available remedies to Senator Bong Revilla which we of course would ensure that he would do.”
He declined to say what these other alternative actions are.
“We will cross the bridge when we get there,” Bodegon said. – Rappler.com