By Czarina Nicole Ong
Senatorial hopeful Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who was recently acquitted of plunder charge in relation to the priority development assistance fund (PDAF) scam, said on Thursday that he would not return any money to the government because he stole nothing.
The decision promulgated by the Sandiganbayan First Division on December 7 acquitted Revilla but convicted his staff, Richard Cambe and businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. It also required the accused to “solidarily” return P124.5 million to the national treasury pursuant to Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code.
According to the law, anybody who is criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. The 186-page decision did not state who among them should pay, but Revilla’s lawyers have maintained that he is not liable since he is not convicted of plunder.
In a press conference held at the office of his lawyer, Estelito Mendoza, in Makati City, Revilla maintained the same stance.
“Ano ang isosoli ko? Wala naman akong kasalanan, nagsalita na ang korte na wala akong kasalanan (What will I return? I am not at fault, the court already said I am not at fault),” he said.
Mendoza also backed him up and implied that Revilla’s charges were politically motivated.
“I believe Revilla is innocent. The Ombudsman, under Conchita Carpio Morales, para bang trigger-happy mag-file ng plunder dahil no bail, bilanggo ka agad, (was trigger-happy to file plunder charges because there is no bail, you immediately get sent to jail),” he said.
Revilla spent over four years locked up at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City. Now that he has been released, Revilla is planning his return to the Senate and showbusiness.
Should he win, one of his legislative agendas is to go after “false accusers” such as the ones who got him locked up. Revilla did not identify who they are, but he said they are still working against him “up to the very last minute.”
“Kumbaga, they really want to hang me. Hanggang ngayon gumagalaw sila. Kung may pamilya kayo, maniwala kayo sa karma, babalik din yansainyo. Talagang nararamdaman ko sila.
Maging maligaya na lang tayo sa kapaskuhang ito. (They really want to hang me. Up to now they are moving. If you have families, believe in karma, this will return to you. I can really feel them. Let us just be merry this Christmas),” he said.
Revilla also discussed his return to show business, stressing that making movies and doing television shows have always been his “bread and butter.”
“Yun ang source of income ko talaga hindi yung pagiging senador (It has really been my source of income, not being a senator),” he said.