MANILA, Jan 23 (Mabuhay) – First, his son.
Now, former Senator Ramon Revilla, Sr. may just find himself in the center of the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) probe into the alleged siphoning of lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to so-called “Napoles non-government organizations (NGOs).”
His namesake, incumbent Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., was part of the first batch of respondents charged by the NBI and “pork barrel” scam whistleblowers before the office of the Ombudsman.
The complaint alleged that Revilla Jr. pocketed P224.51 M as kickbacks from Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged scam architect.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima is set to meet with primary whistleblower Benhur Luy, Napoles’ former aide, and his lawyer, Levito Baligod, to find out if they are in possession of evidence against Revilla Sr.
So far, De Lima said she is not aware of any sworn statement by Luy or any of the other whistleblowers that may pin down the 86-year-old Revilla.
“Pag-aaralan muna namin yan. Depende kung may sworn statement tungkol dyan. I know that Benhur Luy or his counsel already said something about that, na maski noong time ni former Sen. Ramon Revilla, Sr., he was also dealing with Napoles or Napoles NGOs.
“Dapat kami nag-uusap dyan with either Atty. Baligod or with Benhur Luy; hindi pa kami nagkakaoras. The moment magkausap kami, I will ask if ipupursue ba nila yun,” De Lima said.
In a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Luy said Revilla Sr. “channeled P35 M of his [PDAF] to local government units—Clarin, Misamis Oriental (P10 M); San Quintin, Pangasinan (P5 M); Porac, Pampanga (P5 M); Siniloan, Laguna (P 5 M); San Juan, Leyte (P5 M); and Dawis, Bohol (P5 M).”
De Lima said should there be sworn statements and evidence against the elder Revilla, these will be forwarded to the NBI Special Task Force that is working on the “pork barrel” scam probe.
“We cannot just rely on the news reports… kung may ebidensya, may sworn statement, we have no choice but to also pursue that although, obviously, parang Napoles-related transactions,” De Lima said.
In its complaint against Revilla, Jr., Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, and several others, the NBI alleged that the scam “starts with an agreement between Napoles and the lawmaker where the latter promises to designate Napoles’ NGOs as the recipient of his PDAF for purposes of supposedly implementing projects authorized in the DBM menu of projects that can be financed with the use of the lawmakers’ PDAF.”
In exchange for selecting the Napoles NGOs, the lawmaker received from Napoles 40-60% of the cash value of the project as kickback, the NBI said.(MNS)