Pork scam whistleblowers ready to face Bong: Baligod

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2014 02:42 PM | Updated as of Jan 21 2014 10:42 PM

 

'Bong confirmed in letter to COA the signatures were his'

MANILA -- Atty. Levito Baligod, the lawyer of the whistleblowers in the pork barrel scam, insists his clients are telling the truth and said they are ready to face Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr.

Revilla, one of the three senators facing plunder charges for allegedly conspiring with Janet Lim Napoles in funneling billions of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) the businesswoman set up, on Monday denied any involvement in the anomaly.

Revilla said the signatures on the papers that allocated his pork barrel funds to questionable NGOs from 2007 to 2009 were only forged by the whistleblowers.

Speaking to radio dzMM on Tuesday, Baligod however pointed out that Revilla even confirmed in a 2011 letter to the Commission on Audit (COA) that the signatures in some documents now filed as evidence were his own.

Baligod said he wonders why Revilla is now suddenly retracting his confirmation.

"Yung PDAF ng mga legislators for 2007 to 2009 ay subject ng special audit ng COA, at noong 2011 ay sinulatan ng COA si Senator Revilla at kalakip ng sulat na yan ay napakaraming dokumento na nagpapakita ng pirma ni Senator Revilla. Ang tanong ng COA kay Senator Revilla ay kung 'totoo bang pirma mo ang mga ito at galing ba ang mga dokumentong ito sa iyong opisina?' At dun sa reply ni Senator Revilla ay sinabi niya na pirma niya yung mga yun. Eh bakit po inamin niya noon pero ngayon ay dinedeny niya? Dahil ba may kaso na ngayon?" he said.

In a privilege speech on Monday, Revilla called pork scam key whistleblower Benhur Luy as "Boy Pirma," saying: "Kung humahaba lang ang ilong ni Benhur Luy na yan, malamang umabot na ang ilong niya mula dito sa Senado hanggang sa Malacañang."

While the lawyer confirmed that the whistleblowers indeed forged signatures in some documents, he said it was done with the knowledge and permission of legislators involved.

He pointed out that even government investigators found the evidence filed by his clients credible, which resulted in the filing of plunder charges against Revilla.

"Hindi naman po nagsinungaling ang mga whistleblowers dahil umamin nga sila na fino-forge nila na may pahintulot naman ng mga legislators... Yung mga dokumento sa liquidation ay inaamin naman ni Benhur [Luy] na inuutusan sila ni Ginang Napoles na pekein ang pirma. At sa pagkakataon na pirma ng legislator ang pinepeke nila ay humihingi muna sila ng pahintulot ng legislator," he said.

Baligod also said that if Revilla was indeed innocent, he could have easily found out that the NGOs where he was allocating his pork barrel funds were bogus if only he did some research.

"Ang di po maipaliwanag ni Senator Revilla ay kung bakit sa mahigit P1 billion na PDAF niya ay ibinigay niya ito sa mga foundation na kung kinausap lamang niya ang sino man sa mga opisyal ng foundation ay malamang malalaman niya na ito ay mga bogus o dummy foundations lamang."

"Yung negligence po na yun ni Senator Revilla sa pamamagitan ng pagbigay sa mga bogus NGOs, kaya siya kinasuhan ng malversation of public funds," Baligod said. -- With ANC