Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Senator Bong Revilla.
MANILA - Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. should face his accusers and answer all allegations related to his involvement in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam instead of trying to fool people, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said Monday.
Roxas, in a press statement, said he understands why Revilla is "angry at the world."
"Mahirap ang sitwasyon niya na may testigong at COA [Commission on Audit] documents nagapapatunay ng koneksyon niya sa Napoles scam," he said.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has accused the senator of earning more than P224.5 million in kickbacks from businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles in the pork barrel scam.
"Pero hindi solusyon sa problema niya ang paglilihis ng isyu, pagbaluktot sa katotohanan at panloloko ng tao," Roxas said.
Revilla on Monday delivered a privilege speech lashing out at President Aquino, Roxas, and pork barrel scam witness Benhur Luy.
He said he has nothing to do with the scam and he is not afraid of possible interference from President Aquino to pin him to the crime.
Revilla also accused the President of interfering in the impeachment of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, which led to the latter's ouster in 2012.
Roxas, in his press statement, said there's nothing wrong in Aquino meeting other government officials.
"Dati kaming magkasama ni Senator Bong sa Senado kaya nang iparating niya na mayroon siyang gustong i-take-up sa Pangulo kasama ang Cityhood ng Bacoor at ang kanyang pagiging Pangulo ng Partido Lakas, gumawa ako ng paraan para magkausap sila," he said.
Roxas said he personally drove the vehicle that carried Revilla, who wanted to meet Aquino.
"Noong oras na iyon, wala sa Malakanyang at nasa Bahay Pangarap ang Pangulo. Para matugunan ang reglamento ng PSG at hindi na maaberya si Senator Bong, ako na ang nagmaneho ng sasakyan papunta sa Bahay Pangarap."
He added that he did not replace the vehicle's plate on the way to Revilla's meeting with Aquino.
"Hindi talaga ako gumagamit ng official plate. Hindi ito nakakabit sa sasakyan ko. Ang ginagamit ko ay ang regular na plaka na iniisyu ng LTO," Roxas said.
He said he doesn't use special plates for government officials.
"Kahit na sino ang nakakakilala sa akin nang matagal, hindi ako gumamit ng '8' na plaka noong kongresman, '7' noong senador at '6' nang Cabinet secretary. Hindi ko nakaugalian na ikabit ito sa aking sasakyan," Roxas added.
MAIN ISSUE IS ACCOUNTABILITY
The Palace, meanwhile, urged Revilla to focus his attention on the pork barrel scam allegations against him.
"The main issue here is the proper use of public funds for which Senator revilla is accountable," Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said Monday night.
"It is his duty to start explaining to our people how his PDAF allocation was actually spent," he said.
Coloma said President Aquino met with Revilla to verify reports that the senators were being pressured by interest groups to influence the outcome of the impeachment trial.
"He asked the senator to decide the case on the basis of its merits. The senator said he will do what is right and he voted to convict then Chief Justice Corona," he said.
Coloma also said the President deplores the insinuation made by Revilla against Aquino's sister, Maria Elena Aquino-Cruz and her husband Eldon "despite the fact that the Czech ambassador has clearly stated that they are not in any way involved in the MRT project in which Czech firm was interested."