'I'm ready to go to jail, no need for handcuffs'
MANILA (1st UPDATE) - Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. said he is ready to surrender once the Sandiganbayan issues an arrest warrant against him in connection with the plunder and graft charges he is facing over the pork barrel scam.
Speaking to radio dzMM on Thursday, Revilla said he does not need to be handcuffed nor dragged by anyone since he will voluntarily surrender at the anti-graft court.
"Huwag nila tayong bababuyin. Dahil kung bababuyin pa nila yung aking pagkatao eh, handa na akong mamatay nun," he said.
"Kung poposasan pa tayo at tayo'y kakaladkarin, hindi naman na siguro maganda yun," he added.
In a press conference, Revilla also had a message for President Benigno Aquino III.
He said he is ready to face all the charges against him and prove his innocence. He also does not mind where he will be detained, he added.
"Mr. President, handa po akong magpakulong, kahit saan niyo po ako ikulong, dahil ako ay naniniwala na wala akong kasalanan at hindi po ako natatakot, Ginoong Pangulo."
The Sandiganbayan First Division has drafted the arrest warrants of Revilla and his co-respondents after it found probable cause for plunder and graft based on charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman.
However, the warrants of arrest were not signed today before the anti-graft court's office hours ended at 4:30 p.m. The earliest that Revilla can be served the warrant will be on Friday at 8 a.m.
According to the senator, the recent developments on the pork scam case have been "mental torture" for his family.
"Araw-araw ginaganito kami tapos wala. Sabi ko, sobrang dagdag pahirap na naman ito sa aking pamilya. Talagang kung may sakit ka sa puso, aatakihin ka eh," he said.
Revilla, who is considering running for president in the 2016 elections, said it is "obvious" that he is a target of political persecution.
"Dahil tayo yung pinakamaingay na dumidiretso ng atake sa kanila eh. Dahil sa ating mga pag-ikot, nakikita pa rin siguro nila na yung pagmamahal sa atin ng mga kababayan ay nandun pa rin," he said.
He said he has already turned "numb" on all the political attacks against him. His family, however, is hurting, he said.
"Halos isang taon na po kaming ginugulpi, pinahihirapan, winawasak ang aming tahanan."
"Sabi ko nga, sana ako na lang, huwag na pahirapan yung pamilya ko...Kahit dikdikin pa nila ako, okay lang sa akin," he said.
'STRENGTH AMID ADVERSITY'
Also speaking to dzMM, Revilla's son, Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla, said they are trying to remain strong amid all the controversies.
"Nagpapakatatag kahit mahirap...lalong-lalo na ang tatay ko walang kasalanan," Jolo said.
He cried foul over the alleged "selective justice" in the pork barrel scam investigation, but nonetheless said his father is ready to defend himself in court.
"Kung kinakailangan po na maging susi po si Papa sa lahat ng ito, na ikulong siya, tanggap naman po niya yun para matahimik na yung lahat," he said.
'HINDI AKO TRAYDOR'
The senator, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude to all his supporters who have continued to stand by him.
"Kung wala sila, durog na durog na tayo," he said. "Alam kong hindi tayo pababayaan ng ating Panginoon."
Revilla, who is accused of amassing more than P224 million from pork barrel kickbacks, appealed to the public not to make quick judgments on him, saying that "the truth will eventually come out."
Turning emotional in front of reporters and his supporters, Revilla again stressed that he never stole a single centavo from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
He said never in his life did he betray the Filipino people.
"Utang ko po sa inyo kung anuman ang aking narating ngayon, maging sa larangan ng public service o maging sa larangayn ng pag-aartista... Hindi ko po kayang mag-traydor sa inyo. Hindi po ako umaarte," he said.
"Basta tandaan ninyo: Mahal kayo ni Bong Revilla."