Bong admits presidential ambition, vows comeback

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

File photo of Senator Bong Revilla surrounded by supporters, security and the media. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA - Senator Ramon ''Bong'' Revilla Jr. on Wednesday admitted that he once considered running for President in 2016.

In an ambush interview at the Sandiganbayan, Revilla said he would have to set aside his political plans for now as he strives to clear his name from allegations that he pocketed P242 million from his priority development assistance fund (PDAF).

"At a loss ako. Kung kayo man ang nasa lugar ko. Aminin natin na talagang plano ko talagang tumakbo sa pagkapangulo. Sa tingin ko nga isa yun sa dahilan kung bakit ako nandito sa kulungan e. Pero ganoon pa man, ano lang, basta ang masasabi ko lang, bata pa ko at babangon si Bong Revilla," the senator told reporters.

Revilla said that he will instead soon announce whom he will support in the elections.

Revilla was at the anti-graft court today for the pre-trial hearing of the plunder case against him and his aide, Atty. Richard Cambe.

Both the defense and the prosecution panel were supposed to submit the list of evidence and witnesses they intend to present during the trial proper.

Defense lawyer Ramon Esguerra asked the court to delay the pre-trial proceedings in order to complete the markings of their 400 page documents. The pre-trial was initially scheduled on May 21 but was moved to September 30 for the same reason.

The panel has agreed to set the pre-trial proceedings on February 4, 2015.

Revilla said he is now focusing on securing a speedy disposition of the plunder and graft cases filed against him.

"As of now, I want to clear my name muna. S'yempre 'yun ang pinakamahalaga e - ang pangalan na iningatan ng napakahabang panahon e sinira na lamang ng ganoon kabilis," he said.

"Ang gusto natin ma-clear 'yung pangalan natin . 'Yung pagtakbo, there's not, kumbaga I'm not in a hurry, I'm still young. Ang importante ngayon lumabas ang katotohanan, malinis ko 'yung pangalan ko. 'Yun ang importante. At hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa."

UNFINISHED MARKINGS

Sandiganbayan First Division Judge Efren Dela Cruz earlier asked Esguerra if they can push through with the pre-trial proceedings while another lawyer is designated to continue marking the documents. But Revilla's lawyer instead asked the court to reschedule the pre-trial to February.

The defense panel has only finished marking 114 out of more than 400 pieces of documentary evidence.

The prosecution panel, meanwhile, has already finished marking their documentary evidence last August.

"The defense was not amenable to that. We were in fact going to agree with that. But it is the defense has not yet finished in the markings of the document," said Prosecutor Director Joefferson Toribio.

Revilla has a pending petition for bail before the Supreme Court after the Sandiganbayan junked his motion for bail last April.