Palace shares netizens’ view on Bong Revilla speech
MANILA, Philippines – While most netizens had something to say about the controversial privilege speech of senator Bong Revilla, Malacañang was short with words, preferring to let social media do the talking.
Asked for the Palace reaction on the speech that contained a thank you list to his supporters and an audio visual presentation that included an original song belted by Revilla himself, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio "Sonny" Coloma Jr simply said that Malacañang is of the same opinion as netizens.
"Our new media team has been tracking citizens’ reaction to Senator Revilla’s privilege speech delivered yesterday. The overwhelming trend is negative and we agree with our bosses," he said on Tuesday, June 10, a day after the speech.
During and immediately after the speech, Twitter and Facebook blew up with Filipino netizens expressing their disbelief and disapproval in what most felt was inappropriate behavior for a senator. Netizens also complained about what they expressed as the wasteful use of the Senate's time and resources.
Asked to specify what the Palace agreed with netizens views on the ill-received speech, Coloma only said, "It's best we listen to the voice of the people because this is a democracy and the people have the power."
He also refused to comment on whether he thought the speech, which was over 30 minutes long, was befitting of a senator, only saying that it falls under the democratic right of freedom of expression.
Coloma did concede however, that because public funds pay for Senate activities, "it is best that we listen to the taxpayers whose money is being spent in such exercise."
Revilla delivered the speech after plunder charges were filed against him and two other senators before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, for their alleged participation in a multi-million scam that accuses them of pocketing their "pork barrel," or funds allocated to them for public projects.
The senator, who was expected to defend himself against the charges, turned his speech into a personal expression of gratitude for his supporters, followed by a music video.
But Revilla also used the opportunity to convey a message to President Benigno Aquino III, advising him to lead the country not with hatred but love, and towards unity not partisanship, in the interest of the Filipino people.
Responding to this, Coloma said surveys show the people are on the President's side.
"In every survey of the Filipino people, they express their trust in his leadership. And considering the high ratings they have given him, I don't think it's fair to come to that conclusion [that Aquino leads with hatred and towards partisanship]," he said.
"We prefer at this time to focus and devote our energies and efforts to doing our duties and to pursuing the reform programs of government."
Watch Revilla's speech here.
Watch Revilla's music video here.