Bong Revilla: Ombudsman didn't read our appeal
MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Senator Jinggoy Estrada is not surprised that the Ombudsman has junked his motion to stop the filing of plunder cases against him, and his lawyer expects his client's arrest this week or next week, unless they get relief from the Supreme Court.
"Expected naman 'yun, expected. Moro-moro na lang 'yun. Talagang halatang-halata naman sila e," Estrada said in an interview.
The senator, who is accused of pocketing P183 million in the pork barrel scam, said he will just prepare for his defense before the Sandiganbayan.
He also said he will not fight if a warrant of arrest is issued. Plunder is non-bailable if there is prima facie evidence against the accused.
"Hindi na, surrender na lang ako kung gusto nila. Sabihin lang nila kung saan," he said.
Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., in a press statement Thursday, said he also expected the Ombudsman's decision.
"Tanggap ko at inaasahan ko naman talaga ang desisyong ito na babalewalain nila ang aming motion for reconsideration dahil wala naman talaga kaming mahihita at ni hindi man lamang nila binabasa ang aming apela," Revilla said.
Revilla accused the Palace of being behind the move to pin them down.
"Nakita naman natin kung ano ang sinapit namin sa NBI at DOJ, dahil sa kami talaga ang puntirya, wala silang pakialam sa mga paliwanag namin na hindi namin alam ang ibinibintang nilang kaso," he said.
Revilla expects the Sandiganbayan to issue a warrant of arrest against him and other senators, but added that he feels relieved that they will get a fair trial at the anti-graft court.
His lawyer, Atty. Joel Bodegon, told ANC Prime Time that they are studying legal options after the Ombudsman denied their motion for reconsideration.
Bodegon alleged that the Ombudsman committed a "grave error" in denying their motion by saying Revilla did not raise new issues in the pork barrel scam case.
He said they have strong evidence that would counter allegations against Revilla.
Bodegon also lashed out at Malacañang for issuing "unwarranted" statements against his client even before the Ombudsman issued its resolution on the pork barrel scam case.
In a separate interview with ANC, Estrada spokesperson Alexis Abastillas said it had been publicly indicated by the Ombudsman in the past few days that it would not react favorably to Estrada's petition.
Abastillas said their next legal step would be to file a motion before the Sandiganbayan for determination for probable cause. She said there is already a pending motion before the Supreme Court to suspend the proceedings before the Ombudsman.
Asked if she expects Estrada to be arrested, she said: "We are expecting the Information to be filed maybe during this week or next week. Yes, to be candid, we are expecting it also. Tanggap na rin namin."
She also said she does not expect a fair trial for Estrada.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales earlier said she rejected the motions of Estrada, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Bong Revilla for carrying "verbatim repetitions of the issues and claims raised" by respondents in their respective counter-affidavits."
"Evidently, the motions for reconsideration are rehashes of the arguments previously raised by them and already resolved by this Office,” the Joint Orders read.
PAVING THE WAY
Meanwhile, a Palace spokesman said the Ombudsman's decision paves the way for the filing of charges against the three senators before the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan.
In a note to media, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said: "Since these cases were brought to public attention, heightened citizens' awareness about corruption and wrongdoing has led our people to insist upon higher standards in public accountability. We hope that with sustained vigilance, the people's quest for truth and justice will be fulfilled."
The three senators, along with others charged for the pork barrel scam, are facing a non-bailable plunder charge. Should the plunder charge be elevated to the anti-graft court, the three will face an arrest order from the Sandiganbayan.
The Sandiganbayan has detained two former presidents--Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo--for non-bailable cases. The three will be the first incumbent senators to be detained for a non-bailable charge. -- With reports by Willard Cheng and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News