MANILA - Former Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. on Monday promised to clear his family's name after he was acquitted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder charges over the multi-billion peso pork barrel scam.
In a speech after the flag-raising ceremony at Bacoor City Hall, where his wife Lani is mayor, the action star-turned-lawmaker maintained that he never stole anything during his stint in Congress.
"Lilinisin ko ang dinungisan nilang pangalan natin (I will clean our name that they have smeared)," Revilla said, addressing his father Ramon Sr.
The former senator refused to say if he is ready to forgive the people behind the plunder charges against him, lamenting the ordeal he and his family went through in the past 4 years.
"Di na mahalaga kung mapapatawad ko sila. Ang mahalaga, sa Diyos sila humingi ng tawad, hindi sa akin (They should seek forgiveness from God, not from me)," he said.
In its ruling, the Sandiganbayan First Division acquitted Revilla of plunder over the prosecution's "failure" to prove that the senator got kickbacks from his "pork" or Priority Development Assistance Fund.
But in the dissenting opinions of Sandiganbayan 1st Division Chairperson Efren De la Cruz and Associate Justice Maria Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta, it was pointed out that Revilla should not have been acquitted as he conspired with Napoles and Cambe in an intricate scheme of diverting funds from his PDAF through the non-government organizations of Napoles.
Dela Cruz, who was the only justice in the 1st Division who saw the start and end of the Revilla plunder trial, stressed that Cambe could not have acted on his own.
The anti-graft court convicted the scam's mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and Revilla's former aide, Richard Cambe, and ordered the accused to "solidarily" return P124.5 million in public fund.
Former high court spokesperson Theodore Te said Revilla was among the accused who should return the money as ordered by court, but the former senator's camp said it was only for Napoles and Cambe.
Despite his acquittal, Revilla still faces graft charges over the same scam. He has already posted a P480,000 bail after the promulgation of his plunder case last week.