Palace behind P10-B scam, says Revilla

Posted at 07/15/2013 5:37 PM | Updated as of 07/15/2013 5:37 PM

MANILA - Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. denied Monday benefiting from an alleged P10 billion scam involving dummy non-government organizations, saying the smear job came out amid reports that he is running for higher office in 2016.

"Hindi totoo ang mga akusasyon na nakinabang ako sa usaping ito. Porke ba may mga nagtutulak sa ating tumakbo sa 2016 ay wawasakin na nila ang aking pangalan?" Revilla said in a press statement.

The senator said he had already been warned by "someone in Malacañang" that he will be "targeted" in a smear campaign due to his plan to run for higher office in the next election.

"Eto na yun. This controversy has been engineered by the administration for only one purpose – to demolish the opposition, especially those who enjoy the popular support of our people," he said.

The senator, who is part of the so-called "macho bloc" in the upper chamber, said he is not surprised by the latest demolition job since he already experienced harassment in the last election.

Police surrounded the Revilla home in Cavite on Election Day last May following reports that armed men were hiding inside. The senator said the incident, which was allegedly instigated by rival politicians in Cavite allied with the administration, placed his family's life in danger.

Revilla said he is surprised that mere allegations were being treated as fact "especially since the so-called whistleblowers have openly admitted that it was they who forged and falsified documents to carry out their scheme."

He said the issue should be investigated in a fair and objective manner.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is looking into an alleged P10-billion scam by a company that set up
dummy nongovernment organizations for purported ghost projects over the past decade.

The organizations are believed to have benefited from the pork barrel of several lawmakers, as well as the fertilizer fund mess and proceeds from Malampaya.

Documents secured by the Philippine Daily Inquirer revealed the scam was allegedly hatched by Janet Lim-Napoles, president and CEO of the trading firm JLN Corp.

The PDI report has named 5 senators and 23 members of the House of Representatives as having allegedly made available their pork barrel funds to the ghost projects.

The 5 senators linked to the anomaly are Senators Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile, Bongbong Marcos, Jinggoy Estrada and Gringo Honasan.

'KAMI AY BIKTIMA DIN'

In his statement, Revilla said the allocation of pork barrel funds are subject to existing government rules and regulations, and that release of funds are handled by the implementing agencies and the executive branch.

Revilla said that even if the allegations are true, lawmakers are also victims in the scam.

"Kung may katotohanan man ang mga affidavit, kami ay biktima rin ng anomalyang ito. Ang executive branch ang may responsibilidad na siguruhing sa tama napupunta ang mga pondo ng pamahalaan," he said.

The senator said he has asked the NBI for the alleged affidavits that were made basis of the news reports.

He questioned why the anomaly came out now if it had already been ongoing for the past decade.

"Kung totoo na may sampung taon na raw nangyayari ang mga alegasyon, bakit ngayon lang lumabas ito, at sa pahayagan pa? Suspiciously, only non-allies of the administration are being dragged into this controversy," he said.

He added: "I have always been transparent and accountable. I have nothing to hide. Malinis ang aking konsensiya at nalulungkot ako na dahil sa pulitika ay sinisira ang pangalan kong napakatagal kong binuo at pinangalagaan."