MANILA - It’s like being trapped in a bad dream from which one cannot wake up.
“I wish that this was just a dream and I would wake up from it already,” said Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., one of the three senators facing imminent arrest on charges of plunder and graft in relation to the pork barrel fund scam.
Revilla said he would rather face arrest as soon as possible and get it over with.
“I would rather be jailed now than be free with all these apprehensions about my being arrested tomorrow or next week. This is becoming such a burden on my family,” Revilla said in Filipino over radio dwIZ.
Revilla said he is ready to defend himself in court, the process of which he said should start soon so that the trial by publicity against him would end.
A total of 17 cases, including one for plunder, were filed against Revilla before the Sandiganbayan.
Revilla was accused of pocketing P242 million in kickbacks from the alleged misuse of his Priority Development Assistance Fund, which was done through the non-government organizations of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada were also charged with plunder and graft before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly pocketing P172 million and P183 million, respectively.
Revilla said he would defend himself and prove his innocence.
He reiterated his suspicions that the charges against him are part of political persecution by the administration.
Revilla said he could not understand why he and his co-accused senators were being picked on by the administration while their allies who were also implicated in the scam were spared.
He advised the allies of the administration who continue to persecute him to take a look at themselves and ask if they have done nothing wrong.
“I hope that you are clean because in the future, it will all come out,” he said.
Revilla said he is confident that everything raised against him would be clarified and he would be acquitted of all charges.
Estrada, for his part, believes he has a strong case and just like Revilla, he is confident that he would be acquitted.
“I believe that sooner or later I will be acquitted,” Estrada said in a separate interview on the same radio station.
Estrada also aired his belief that he, Revilla and Enrile were singled out in this particular case.
“With so many legislators involved, why single out the three of us?” he asked.
Estrada said the reported third batch of cases prepared by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice were just for show since the three of them were the primary targets.
Estrada said he is not afraid of what lies ahead because he would be able to prove his innocence.
He assured his father, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, that he has nothing to worry about.
“I can take care of this,” he said.
Estrada, however, admitted he was caught unprepared by his youngest daughter who asked why he was going to jail.
She was still too young to understand, he said.
The only consolation, Estrada said, was his daughter assured him that she would visit him in jail.
Enrile, for his part, filed an entry of appearance before the Sandiganbayan yesterday.
Enrile’s camp officially informed the anti-graft court that his law firm, Ponce Enrile Reyes and Manalastas Law Office, would represent the senator.
The entry was immediately sent to the clerk of court of the anti-graft court’s Third Division, to which the case against the senator was raffled off on Friday. – With Rhodina Villanueva