MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. continued his counterattack Wednesday, filing plunder charges against a star prosecution witness as well as four chiefs of government agencies and officials of bogus non-government organizations for allegedly orchestrating the pork barrel scam.
At the same time, Revilla sought the dismissal of the plunder case against him over the alleged misuse of his pork barrel funds.
Revilla said the charges were all based on hearsay that banked merely on the accusations of whistle-blowers led by Benhur Luy.
The senator filed the plunder complaint against Dennis Cunanan, director general of the Technological Resource Commission; Alan Javellana, former president of the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor); Gondelina Amata, president of the National Livelihood Development Corp., and Salvador Salacup, former president of the ZNAC Rubber Estate Corp.
Revilla also implicated Luy as chairman of the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundations Inc., supposedly a bogus NGO; Merlina Suñas, president of the People’s Organization for Progress and Development Foundation, Inc.; Nemesio Pablo; Mylene Encarnacion; Evelyn de Leon; Jocelyn Piorato; Marina Sula; John Raymund de Asis; Petrobila Balmaceda and Ronald John Lim.
Luy and the other respondents were officials of the various fake NGOs allegedly put up by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles to siphon off the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers.
“Respondents collectively know that they have no right whatsoever over the funds they unlawfully, illegally and criminally withdrew, siphoned off and stole from my PDAF allocation for 2007, 2007, 2008 and 2009 that they siphoned off, stole, misappropriated and converted to be their own,” Revilla said in his counter-charge.
Revilla said the respondents should also be held liable for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Neither he nor his former staff, Richard Cambe, should be charged for plunder, Revilla asserted, saying the respondents misappropriated his PDAF during the period set by the COA, totaling P483,490,000.
“The respondents should be charged for plunder for conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another, and using PDAF documents, which they admit to have falsified and where they forged my signature and that of my staff, Cambe…” he said.
Asked yesterday why he filed counter-charges against his accusers, Revilla said the head of the concerned implementing agencies as well as the executives of the NGOs should be made accountable for conspiring to defraud the government of millions of public funds.
“I have to file the countercharges so as to defend myself. Why did they do this to me?” Revilla remarked in Filipino.
“I am confident that the truth will come out of this mess,” he said.
Revilla slammed Luy and his associates for making it appear that he misused his PDAF through livelihood projects and programs handled by their bogus NGOs that he supposedly chose or nominated.
Revilla accused Luy and the whistle-blowers of amassing and accumulating ill-gotten wealth in the total amount of P483,490,000, citing the COA report.
Revilla reportedly filed the counter-charges ahead of his privilege speech last Monday.
Revilla accused President Aquino of pleading for his vote for the impeachment of then chief justice Renato Corona in 2012.
Revilla sought the dismissal of the plunder complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Ombudsman’s field investigation office (FIO).
In his counter-affidavit filed before the Ombudsman, Revilla said the charges against him were based on hearsay.
Revilla said Luy had mentioned that it was only Napoles who told them that the supposed commission had been paid.
“That is pure hearsay,” Revilla said.
Revilla quoted legal precedence, indicating that “a testimony or evidence is hearsay if its probative value is not based on the personal knowledge of the witness but on the knowledge of another person.”
Revilla also debunked claims of the NBI and the field investigation office of the Ombudsman that he siphoned off his PDAF through connivance with the fake NGOs managed by Napoles.
Apart from the statements of whistle-blowers, the case was also an offshoot of the special audit conducted by the COA at the start of the Aquino administration.