Gov't turning into a martial law regime - Revilla camp
Revilla not a threat to national security - Bodegon
MANILA (UPDATED) - The latest move of the Aquino administration against Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. is turning the government “into a martial law regime,” his lawyer said.
Reacting to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request to have Revilla’s passport cancelled for his alleged role in the pork scam, lawyer Joel Bodegon said in a statement: “They can only request cancellation of passports if respondents are out of the country. [If the] respondent is in the country, they cannot. The investigation of Sen. Bong Revilla has not even started so how can the DOJ request the DFA to cancel his passport.”
In a separate interview with radio dzMM, Bodegon described the DOJ's move as “ridiculous” and purely “for harassment.”
Besides that of Revilla’s, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to cancel the passports of senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada and 34 others charged in the alleged plunder of pork barrel funds.
The DOJ cited as basis for its request Article 3 (Bill of Rights), Section 6 of the Constitution "which expressly permits the limitation of the right to travel in the interest of national security, public safety or public health as may be provided by law.” It also cited the Philippine Passport Act, which provides that passports may be cancelled in the "interest of national security."
Bodegon asked: “Did they declare that Revilla and the two other senators are terrorists? They even continue to attend the sessions in the Senate.”
He explained there are only three bases for the cancellation of the passport, one of which is if the person is a fugitive from justice. “They are not,” he said,
He also said a passport is cancelled when it is “fraudulently acquired or tampered with.”
Another reason is if the person has been convicted of a crime, he said.
The complaint against the senators was filed only recently at the Office of the Ombudsman.
“They have no jurisdiction over it already, In fact, the complaint has not even reached the preliminary investigation stage,” he said.
Nonetheless, Bodegon said he is confident the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will not entertain a “wrong” action.
He also assured that Revilla is not going abroad.