Former senator Bong Revilla insists he’s innocent, won’t pay back government

Photo: ABS-CBN News.
Photo: ABS-CBN News.

Almost a week after he was acquitted of plunder, former Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. is still working overtime to insist that he’s innocent.

At a press conference held today, Revilla said he will not be paying the civil liabilities worth PHP124.5 million (more than US$2.356 million) that he and his co-accused were required to shell out by the country’s anti-graft court.

“What will I return? I did not commit anything. The court had said that I am innocent,” GMA News quoted him saying in Filipino.

Philippine Star quoted the court’s decision which said that the “accused are solidarily and jointly liable to return to the national treasury the amount of PHP124.5 million (more than US$2.356 million).”

Former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te told television show Headstart that he believes Revilla is included in the Sandiganbayan’s definition of “accused.”

Te said: “[I]t only said accused, well apparently it’s a collective term for all three [of those accused in the case.]”

In 2013, Revilla was accused of receiving kickbacks from the government’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

The PDAF is a fund given to members of the country’s House of Representatives and the Senate. Initiated in 1990, the fund is supposed to be used to fund small-scale infrastructure projects and social services, but have been the subject of numerous cases of alleged corruption.

This includes a case in 2013 where lawmakers’ funds were allegedly funneled to the projects of 82 dodgy non-government organizations, 10 of which were linked to Janet Napoles, a businesswoman.

In the case against Revilla, prosecutors alleged that he received PHP224.5 million (more than US$4.164 million) in kickbacks from Napoles through Richard Cambe, who was then working for him.

Revilla’s then-colleagues at the Senate Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile are also facing the same charge. Both men are out on bail.

As of now, Revilla is already looking forward to getting re-elected to the Senate in next year’s mid-term elections.

He said today that if elected, he would “counter” people who have accused him of plunder.

ABS-CBN News quoted him saying: “I have a legislative agenda, that is to counter my false accusers because what happened was not right.”

He added: “They really wanted to hang me. Up to now, they’re still running after me.”

And he also wished the worst on his accusers by saying: “If you have a family, there is karma, [whatever you have done] will go back to you.”

Revilla, an actor, also said today that he plans to return to showbiz, calling it his “bread and butter.”

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