Lani Mercado says Bong Revilla not behind detention 'selfie'

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2018 07:47 PM | Updated as of Jun 22 2018 08:07 PM

MANILA - Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado on Friday denied that her husband, detained former senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., was the one who posted a status update on Facebook marking his fourth year in police custody.

“Ang alam ko po doon, may admin po siya ng Facebook account. 'Yon po ang alam ko, somebody takes care of his Facebook account,” she told ABS-CBN News. 

(What I know is that he has an administrator for his Facebook account. I know that somebody takes care of his Facebook account.)

Mercado said the photo was not taken recently. 

“I think the picture is an old picture,” she said. 

She also denied that her husband kept a phone while detained. 

“I don’t think he has a cellphone, why? Kasi bawal po doon (Because it's prohibited),” Mercado told ABS-CBN News. 

Police confiscated a mobile phone from Revilla inside his detention room in Camp Crame, Quezon City after the "selfie" post on Facebook.

Mercado surmised that sentiments posted on Facebook were an echo of her husband’s emotions as shared by his visitors. 

“Siyempre may dumadalaw sa kaniya, he would pour out his sentiments, 'yon po ang nangyari malamang,” she said.

(Of course people visit him and he would pour out his sentiments. That's what most likely happened.)

Philippine National Police spokesperson Senior Supt. Benigno Durana said cellphones are prohibited inside the custodial center. He said the PNP would sanction police officers if investigation proves that they allowed the former senator to use gadgets inside. 

Durana said even guests and visitors are not allowed to bring in cellphones. 

The Headquarters Support Service (HSS) will investigate how the cellphone was brought in, he said.

"Relief and at the same time neglect of duty, how serious it is, could be determined by our investigators, admin[istrative] case definitely," he said.

Durana denied allegations that security was lax inside the compound especially since the HSS conducts surprise inspections twice a week and stressed that there is no special treatment for the detainees. 

Durana said Revilla’s cellphone was already confiscated earlier Friday after HSS conducted a surprise inspection. 

"This is a violation of the policies and rules and regulations na ipinatutupad sa ating (that are enforced in our) custodial center," he said.

Revilla has been detained inside the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame for 4 years now for plunder over his alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. 

He was among three former senators tagged in the fund diversion racket, and the only one left detained.