Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who may be facing arrest anytime now for plunder, advised President Benigno Aquino 3rd to tell it like it is in criticizing other people, especially his perceived political enemies who are “better public servants than him.”
Revilla made the statement over the weekend, adding that the President should not belittle politicians who happen to be actors but who, he pointed out, are better than Aquino at serving the people.
Revilla was reacting to the President’s Independence Day speech where he said the country does not need politicians who are good only at reading scripts, dancing or singing.
“The President should think first before he opens his mouth or, better, he should directly identify the person he is criticizing,” Revilla said.
The senator said the President’s bias against entertainers in politics only brings out the fact that his performance as senator tops that of then-senator Aquino.
He, however, admitted that the President’s educational background is better than his.
Aquino was elected senator in 2007 after serving three consecutive terms as representative of the second district of Tarlac. He placed 6th in the 2007 senatorial race.
The senator maintained that the statement of Aquino was uncalled for, given that among those who helped him win the 2010 presidential race were show business people, including his sister Kris.
Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada also over the weekend petitioned the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the plunder complaint against him, and said the Ombudsman gravely erred in finding probable cause against him.
Estrada, Revilla and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile are charged with plunder for allegedly channeling their priority development assistance fund to bogus projects of some non-government organizations (NGOs).
In a 38-page document submitted to the court’s Fifth Division, Estrada, through his lawyers, argued that there was neither evidence nor proof of conspiracy that he amassed ill-gotten wealth.
“Moreover, there was no indication that Pauline Labayen received, directly or indirectly, any monies or funds from [Janet Lim] Napoles or the NGOs she supposedly owns,” he said.
Estrada allegedly conspired with alleged pork barrel scam brains Napoles and John Raymund de Asis and gained P183 million in kickbacks through his Labayen, his former deputy chief of staff.
“The subject funds were, in fact and in law, released by the Department of Budget and Management directly to the Implementing Agencies [IAs], and from the implementing agencies to the local government units or the NGOs. It is not disputed that Sen. Estrada never had control or custody of a single centavo of the funds,” the defense said.
Estrada’s lawyers further argued that his right to due process was violated, saying the testimonies of Ruby Tuason, Dennis Cunanan, Francisco Figura, Gregoria Buenaventura and Alexis Sevidal are inadmissible because the Ombudsman, in ruling probable cause, did not give the senator a chance to refute their allegations against him.
Tuason had testified she was a go-between for Napoles and the senators and that she personally delivered money to Estrada.
But the lawyers said Tuason and Cunanan’s testimonies were “unsubstantial” and “untrustworthy” because they were allegedly given in exchange for immunity and uncorroborated.
Revilla and Enrile earlier filed motions seeking the dismissal of the plunder case and deferment or suspension of proceedings, respectively. The 90-year-old Enrile also asked that he be granted bail, citing his “poor” and “frail” condition.