Baligod: Whistleblowers not Mar's men

by Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 21 2014 06:22 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2014 03:39 AM

MANILA – The lawyer of some of the whistleblowers in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam denied Tuesday that his clients are being used by the Aquino administration to help the Liberal Party (LP).

Lawyer Levito Baligod denied Senator Bong Revilla's statement in his privilege speech on Monday that the whistleblowers, led by Benhur Luy, is a "political wrecking crew."

Baligod said, Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, who is seen as the LP's standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections, is not being supported by the whistleblowers.

If Revilla runs for president in 2016 under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), he may face off against the LP's Roxas.

"Walang nakakapag-dikta na pulitiko sa mga whistleblowers. Hindi namin pino-protektahan ang mga kalaban ni Senator Bong Revilla sa pulitika dahil hindi naman namin alam kung sino ang mga ito," Baligod told dzMM.

"Minention niya itong si [former] Senator Mar Roxas. Eh hindi po namin kilala si Senator Mar Roxas, at kung tatanungin niyo ang mga whistleblowers, mayroon din silang sariling political preference kung sino ang iboboto nila on their personal capacity sa 2016. At ang pagkakaalam ko, hindi naman po siguro iyung binabanggit niyang kalaban niya sa pulitika."

During his privilege speech on Monday, Revilla said that the administration is out to destroy his reputation because he is perceived as a threat in the 2016 polls.

"Sa halip na kasuhan dahil sa pag-aming pineke nila ang mga pirma ng mga mambabatas, mas pinili nilang gawin itong testigo laban sa kung sinu-sino para lamang mabuo ang kanilang planong wasakin ang inyong lingkod at mga taong sa tingin nila ay magiging tinik sa lalamunan nila sa 2016," he said.

Docs to prove Bong knew about scam

Baligod also belied Revilla's claim that he had knowledge about the scam because his signatures in the pork barrel documents were forged.

The lawyer maintains that Revilla's signatures in the letter endorsements to the Senate Finance Committee, the Department of Budget and Management and the implementing agencies for his PDAF releases are authentic, a position shared by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

He argued that even though the signatures in the "second category" of documents, composed of liquidation documents and acknowledgment of receipt by the beneficiary NGOs, were admittedly forged by the whistleblowers who were then working for alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, the forgery was not carried out without the blessing of Revilla or other legislators implicated in the scam.

"Sa pagkakataon na pirma ng legislator ang pinepeke nila ay humihingi sila ng pahintulot ng legislator….Ang hindi maipalawanag ni Senador Revilla ay kung bakit sa mahigit na P1 billion na PDAF niya ay ibinigay niya ito sa mga foundations na kung kinausap lang niya ang isa sa mga opisyal, ito ay mga bogus lamang," the laywer explained.

'Iyung negligence na iyon, kaya siya kinasuhan ng malversation."

In his privilege speech, Revilla also said he never made any confirmation to the Commission on Audit (COA) in 2011 that the signatures in the pork barrel documents covering the years 2007 to 2009 were his.

Revilla's lawyer Joel Bodegon also claimed even the supposed letter reply of Revilla to the COA was also fabricated.

The action star turned politician is accused of pocketing more than P200 million of his pork barrel. His case and those of other legislators and individuals are now pending before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Baligod added another fact that will help pin Revilla in the scam is his admission of meeting Napoles in parties.

"Lahat ng circumstantial evidence ay nagpapakita na alam niya kung paano nagagamit ang kanyang PDAF," he said.