MANILA, Philippines - A day after his explosive privilege speech, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. challenged President Aquino and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II to prove who among them is lying on the issue of lobbying.
“I challenge both of them, let’s face off and see each other eye to eye. May lightning strike whoever is lying,” Revilla said in Filipino.
He also extended the challenge to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who Revilla said also made the effort to court his vote to impeach then chief justice Renato Corona.
Revilla believes President Aquino’s meddling in the impeachment process against Corona is itself an impeachable offense.
He said Aquino’s actuation was an impeachable offense although he is not entirely rooting for his ouster from office.
“I do believe it’s impeachable. The President should not meddle in such affair, especially those senator-judges,” he said.
Revilla was quick to say, however, that he was merely expressing his concern about what the administration can do when it exerts pressure regarding the plunder complaint against him and his two senator-colleagues.
“Knowing that it is an impeachable offense, I am not saying we should impeach President Aquino because our country will not be stable if we keep on impeaching our leader,” he said.
“What I have is a concern that (the President) will interfere in the judicial processes, which I had expressed in my privilege speech. But as I had said, I will do what is right, what I think is right for our country,” Revilla added.
Revilla’s lawyer Joel Bodegon expressed belief that Aquino’s move falls under the category of graft and corruption, which can be an impeachable offense.
Bodegon, however, refused to dwell further if Revilla will pursue impeachment against the President, saying they will be busy defending the senator over the plunder complaint.
Revilla also belied claims that he initiated the meeting, which was supposedly about the issue on the cityhood of Bacoor.
The former Cavite governor said common sense dictates that the issue of cityhood was not the major subject of his meeting with the President.
He said the town of Bacoor had complied with the requirements for cityhood status.
“We do not need the approval of the President for this,” he said.
Revilla said he now feels better after his privilege speech on Monday, five months after feeling the heat of what he described as “trial by publicity” orchestrated by Malacañang and the Commission of Audit (COA) against him and colleague Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada on the pork barrel controversy.
“I have finally broken my silence after five months… this has given me and my family a big relief. It’s like a big arrow taken out of my chest, and that of my family,” he said in Filipino.
Revilla said he merely wanted to be accorded fair treatment before the Ombudsman with no undue influence from Malacañang.
Revilla said now he is more ready to face the consequences of having launched an all-out war against the Chief Executive with the office’s massive resources and influence.
Revilla’s family, including his father Ramon Sr. and his wife Lani, as well friends, including Antipolo Mayor Jun-Jun Ynares and his wife Andrea, were at the Senate Monday to show support for the senator.