INSTEAD of delivering a scathing speech on the pork barrel scam, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. on Monday gave a valedictory-like speech on the Senate floor and called for a stop to the supposed mudslinging that came off the racket.
Implicated in the scam and charged with plunder, he said he will face the complaint filed against him in court.
Revilla, who invited his family and other supporters to the Senate to witness his highly anticipated speech, called on President Benigno Aquino 3rd to focus on more important matters such as unemployment, worsening peace and order, poor health services and a looming power crisis.
“Lead this country not with hatred but with love. Lead the country toward unity and not partisanship. Push our nation’s interest and not political agenda,” the senator said.
“Jailing your oppositors should not be the only achievement and legacy you will be leaving behind,” he added.
The senator, who was included in the so-called “Napolist,” also bared his own “list.” On top of the list, he said, was God, followed by his family and colleagues.
Revilla had a word for all of the senators, including Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, his co-accused in the plunder case.
He said Enrile’s brilliance and experience brought a culture of excellence to the Senate.
“I can only wish I will live a full life like yours,” Revilla told Enrile.
He called Estrada “kakosa,” a term used by inmates to address their cell mates, and reminded him that God is preparing them for something better.
Revilla also called on Estrada to patch things up with his half-brother, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito.
Revilla ended his speech by playing a music video he made entitled Salamat Kaibigan (Thank you Friend).
When asked why he delivered such speech, he answered that he did it for the people.
At the House of Representatives, Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez asked the public not to prejudge Revilla.
“I appeal to the public not to prejudge Senator Revilla based only on press releases and supposed expert opinions. I stand solidly behind Senator Revilla in his fight to bring out the truth in the plunder case he is facing over his alleged participation in the ‘pork barrel’ scam,” Romualdez, president of the Lakas-CMD, said in a statement.
Revilla is the chairman of Lakas-CMD, the political party of former President Gloria Arroyo.
“I have yet to see any solid evidence against him, especially the key component of plunder, which says that the accused should pocket the money in question. As President Aquino himself declared, one is innocent until proven guilty,” Romualdez, a nephew of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, said.
“The law provides that only the court, in this case the Sandiganbayan, can rule on the guilt, or innocence of the accused. Let us all respect the law,” he added.
With a report from Llanesca T. Panti