MANILA – Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. is dismissing calls for him to step down following the Office of the Ombudsman's decision to indict him for plunder.
In an interview with ANC, Revilla's lawyer Joel Bodegon said the embattled senator "does not find any reason for him to step down."
"From the beginning, Senator Revilla maintains his innocence from all of these charges... He is elected by the people and he is answerable to the people," Bodegon said.
Asked whether the charges will affect Revilla's performance of his duty as a senator, Bodegon said, "If you are innocent of the charges, I do not think you would feel inhibited from performing properly and adequately."
Revilla, who is currently on a vacation in Israel with his family, was charged with plunder for allegedly amassing P224.5 million in kickbacks from ghost projects under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Revilla's fellow senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada were also found to have amassed P172 million and P183 million, respectively, from illegal kickbacks, according to the Ombudsman.
Bodegon said Revilla's camp will file today a motion for reconsideration to the Ombudsman's decision finding probable cause to file plunder charges against the senator.
"The substance of course [of the motion] is that the Ombudsman committed error in resolving adversely the charges against Sen. Bong Revilla," Bodegon said.
"From all the evidence on record, nothing actually holds Sen. Revilla liable for the crime charged against him."
Revilla has also asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Ombudsman's decision denying his motion to suspend the preliminary investigation in the plunder and malversation charges against him and several others.
In his petition, the senator said the Ombudsman should wait for the Bacoor City Regional Trial Court to issue a resolution on the plunder case he filed against pork scam whistle-blowers Benhur Luy, Merlina Suñas and several others. Revilla has asked the Bacoor RTC to void documents that linked him to the P10 billion pork barrel scam.
Oral arguments on Revilla's plea will be conducted on April 22, 2 p.m. at the SC Session Hall in Baguio City during its summer sessions.