Bong says Palace pinning him down in 'pork' scam

By Christina Mendez, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 27 2014 02:41 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2014 10:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. on Wednesday accused Malacanang of using the entire government machinery to pin him and his colleagues down on the pork barrel scam.

Revilla slammed the Aquino administration for using its vast influence and power over the entire national police as well as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to get to the supposed witnesses.

“The force of Malacañang is so vast. You have the entire police force and the NBI under your powers. The full force of Malacañang... is being used against us,” Revilla said, referring to his colleagues Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.

Revilla cited as example the extreme pressure being put on Richard Cambe, the chief of his legislative office, who has been approached many times to implicate him in the scam.

“When they failed to get him (Cambe), they asked Cunanan to come out to be able to directly implicate me,” he said, referring to Technology Research Center director general-on-leave Dennis Cunanan, who agreed to turn state witness in the pork barrel scam.

Contrary to reports, Revilla said Cambe has not fled abroad. He said Cambe continues to report for work.

Revilla also decried reports that Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II is the handler of Cunanan.

“Sometimes, the details come naturally from him,” Revilla said.

Revilla said Roxas himself announced there would be more witnesses coming out in connection with the pork barrel controversy.

“So this shows that they know what is happening here. Then there are also reports (that) they are using their clout to get us. So Malacañang is moving to really pin us down,” Revilla said in Filipino.

“Who are we to fight the force of Malacañang?” he added.

Revilla made the statement in the wake of reports that Levito Baligod, a lawyer for the whistle-blowers, personally met and discussed matters with Cunanan at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) before the latter decided to testify against the senator.

Revilla said he received information that Roxas convinced Cunanan to implicate him in the pork barrel controversy.

In the same interview, Revilla was also unable to hide his disappointment on why he and some legislators are being slapped with criminal charges when the principal players in the scam are being freed from liabilities.

“What about these people involved? Like Cunanan? What about the others involved, the NGOs and those who faked documents. Why are they focused on us? It is so obvious they forged... I can only answer for myself, I cannot answer for Sen. Jinggoy and Sen. Enrile. As for me, my signatures were forged,” he said.

Revilla was referring to the principal whistle-blower Benhur Luy as well as Cunanan, the only head of an implementing agency who admitted knowledge of the anomalous activity.

“What if it was Benhur Luy who called him (Cunanan) and impersonated me?” he asked.

Revilla is among the lawmakers facing a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged pork barrel fund misuse.

“We are just after the truth and all we ask for is fair treatment. I also appeal for support from the public to be more discerning to determine what is the truth in the face of the allegations of all these people,” Revilla said.

Revilla denied anew that he personally phoned Cunanan to endorse the non-government organizations (NGOs) linked with suspected pork barrel scam operator Janet Lim-Napoles.

Sen. Francis Escudero, on the other hand, maintained Napoles should be brought to a regular jail.

Escudero said he thought Napoles would be spilling the beans against big personalities in the pork barrel scam but it seems she is not.