Breaking his silence, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla on Monday detailed an alleged meeting with President Benigno Aquino 3rd whom he accused of forcing him to vote for the conviction of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
In a speech delivered at the resumption of the session after the Christmas and New Year break, Revilla warned his hearers that if the President was successful in his bid to convict Corona, “he could also influence the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan” in the plunder case filed against him and Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
Revilla narrated that he was invited by Roxas, then secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications, to his house in Cubao, Quezon City early one morning.
He said Roxas, whom he called “Boy Pickup,” instructed him to go with him alone and board his black SUV car, whose Plate Number 6 was removed and hidden in the sun visor, before proceeding to Bahay Pangarap, the residence of Aquino.
Revilla said Roxas instructed him to sit at the back of the vehicle, where he took some pictures (some of which he showed to the senate gallery), using his cellphone.
Upon reaching Bahay Pangarap, Revilla said Roxas was immediately recognized by the guards.
“Truth to tell, it was so weird to me that I felt compelled to take pictures,” he said.
He said it was his first time to enter Bahay Pangarap. After 15 minutes of waiting, Budget Secretary Florentino Abad arrived, followed by Aquino.
Revilla said while taking their breakfast, Roxas explained why Corona should be impeached.
“My friend, do it for me as a favor. [Corona] must be impeached,” Aquino then supposedly begged Revilla.
He said after the meeting, Roxas brought him out of the Bahay Pangarap, but instead of taking him back to Cubao, he was dropped off at a nearby restaurant inside the Malacanang compound.
Corona was accused of failure to declare his assets and liabilities, a requirement to all public servants. As High Court justice, he could be removed only by impeachment, with the lower court acting as prosecutor and the senators acting as judges.
Corona was impeached by the Lower House on December 12, 2011; the Senate trial started on January 16 the following year, and was convicted May 29.
He is also accusing Aquino and his close allies of influencing the Supreme Court in the declaring the pork barrel (the Disbursement Acceleration Program) of the President legal and constitutional.
“Aren’t the justices afraid of being impeached? It was even rumored that the DAP was used to railroad the impeachment. This is habit-forming,” he said.
Defending himself from PDAF scam, Revilla denied he signed public documents. He said it was Benhur Luy who was the expert in faking signature, calling the latter as “Boy Pirma.”
He also denied the accusations of Luy that the PDAF commission was given to his alleged chief of staff, one lawyer Richard Cambe.
Revilla said Cambe was never a chief of staff in his office, adding that the latter was not in the country when the alleged incident took place.
“Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus—false in one, false in all,” he said citing a Latin maxim.
He also accused the Aquino administration of failure to make true its promise of “Daang Matuwid” or straigh path, citing the government’s lack of preparation before the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
He said Aquino was helpless in the impending power crisis. He said after
three years in Malacanang, the premier airport of the country is in dire need of rehabilitation. The people of Zamboanga has not yet recovered after the rebellion.
He said the impending fare hike in MRT and LRT trains would only give misery to the ridding public. Smuggling is rampant and the increase in SSS and PhilHealth contributions only add up to the expenses of the poor workers.
Revilla also cited the fake list of the CCT, conditional cash transfer, program. Despite the anti-corruption campaign, corruption became worse as shown by the Social Weather Station survey, saying 56 percent of the businessmen have experienced corruption.
He also lambasted Aquino for using his personal money in putting bail for Commission on Elections Commissioner Grace Padaca, who is facing a criminal case.
He accused also the government of more political pressures, particularly when 200 police officers circled his house in Bacoor City during the height of 2013 elections.
He said the pressure started when he declined to support the candidate of the Liberal Party for Cavite governor.
He said even his political supporters were wantonly murdered.
He also cited the MRT extortion charges against a sister of President Aquino. An ambassador of Czech Republic allegedly accused the Aquino sibling of asking 30-million from Inekon to ensure it would bag the contract.
The senator from Cavite said his family and children “have been vilified and demonized in the media” after he was accused of pocketing millions of pesos in the pork barrel scam instigated by businesswoman Janet Napoles and her minions who allegedly defrauded the government of P10 billion in Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) from 2004 to 2010.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, who had voted for the conviction of Corona, said Revilla’s speech had some good points, but added that it was public knowledge that President Aquino was in a way campaigning for the conviction of Corona.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, a neophyte senator, said he was shocked by the revelations of Revilla, adding that any case should be decided in the proper court and not by political influence.
Sen. Serge Osmena said he will ask Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, to clarify if the incident really took place and what had transpired.
Rep. Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela party-list said that Aquino and his allies should answer allegations made by Revilla Jr. that the President personally pleaded with him to add his vote to convict Corona in 2012.
“It seems that the daang matuwid [straight path]is used as a road by vehicles of characters involved in corruption,” de Jesus said. “Are our leaders personal drivers already—from the escorting of Janet Lim-Napoles when she surrendered to the fetching of Revilla for his secret meeting with the president?”
In his privilege speech today, Revilla claimed Roxas took him to the Malacañang Palace for a breakfast meeting during which the senator’s support for Corona’s impeachment was allegedly requested.
De Jesus noted that the revelations of irregularities surrounding the impeachment of officials rankles the people’s sense of justice given that the nation has just marked the 13th anniversary of the second EDSA uprising.
She also said that Revilla’s revelations also make the abolition of the presidential pork barrel funds, mainly those marked as Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds, an urgent action by the Supreme Court that is set to rule on its legality.
“If proven true, Revilla’s exposes might add fuel to the rising people’s anger, and that can lead to a third uprising that can oust Aquino. Those parties named in this privilege speech have a lot of explaining to the people,” de Jesus ended.
Revilla is being perceived as presidential timber in 2016 elections. He is a member of the Lakas, the political party of former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, who is currently in jail for plunder charges.