Lawyer on Bong's civil suit: He must be dreaming
MANILA - Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. must be dreaming.
This was how Levito Baligod, counsel for the whistle-blowers in the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam, reacted to Revilla’s filing of a civil suit against some of his clients.
In an interview over radio dzMM, Baligod confirmed reports that Revilla has asked a Cavite court to nullify the accounting records of Benhur Luy and his alleged letters to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), which the agency used to release his pork barrel fund.
Revilla allegedly asked the court to order the whistle-blowers to return about P500 million of his pork barrel, which went to fake non-government organizations (NGOs).
Aside from Luy, the other whistle-blowers were Jocelyn Piorato, Nemesio Pablo, Petronilla Balmaceda and Evelyn de Leon, all former employees in the bogus NGOs of alleged pork scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.
Baligod said the charges filed by Revilla were baseless.
He said Revilla could not ask the court to nullify Luy’s accounting records, as he was “not even a party to those documents.”
“You can only have a document annulled if you are one of those who prepared it and if you declare that there is an error in it,” he said.
Baligod denied that Luy forged Revilla’s signature so the DBM would release the senator’s fund.
“Why did the DBM release the fund when the signature was fake? It’s not Benhur’s fault and it’s not Benhur who received his letter. Maybe it was his staff who received and processed it,” he said.
The lawyer said the NGOs are not authorized to release or return Revilla’s fund, adding it happened allegedly due to connivance among Revilla, Napoles and some unscrupulous government officials.
He was referring to some officials of the Agrarian Reform and Agriculture departments.
Meanwhile, Revilla’s lawyer said they were trying to prove the senator’s innocence in the pork barrel scam by showing that the documents presented by the whistle-blowers against him were fake.
Joel Bodegon said the civil case against the whistle-blowers was done even before the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice filed the complaints against Revilla and 37 others before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The civil case sought to nullify the documents used by the Commission on Audit in its report on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) for 2007 to 2009.
The report was the basis for the filing of the complaints against Revilla, two other senators and former members of the House of Representatives.
In the civil suit, Revilla claimed that the whistle-blowers forged his signature and that of his senior staff Richard Cambe.
It also asked the court to order the whistle-blowers to return the P500 million that they allegedly took from Revilla’s PDAF.
Bodegon admitted the civil case was meant to prove that the whistle-blowers forged the signatures without Revilla’s knowledge. He said they would use the same argument when they would be called to explain before the Ombudsman.
Revilla earlier hired a handwriting expert to go over the documents purportedly containing his signatures.
His camp claimed results of the analysis showed the signatures in the documents were forged.
Bodegon lambasted Baligod for describing the civil case against the whistle-blowers as harassment.
He said Revilla was only trying to show the truth on the issue.
“Now look, who’s talking? Who started all the lies? Who falsified the documents? Who forged signatures? Is it harassment to turn the tables in favor of the truth?” Bodegon said.