Bong, Jinggoy blast de Lima over passport row

By David Dizon,

October 25, 2013

MANILA – Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. on Friday accused Justice Secretary Leila de Lima of imposing “selective justice” and being publicity-hungry for seeking the cancellation of their passports.

In a press statement, Revilla said he can no longer expect fairness from the Aquino administration after the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought to cancel the passports of 37 people charged in the pork barrel scam.

“It looks like this administration is hell bent on decapitating the opposition at all costs – even if it tramples upon our basic rights enshrined in no less than the constitution. We have a Secretary of Justice who is just more than willing to disrespect the law to pursue her own agenda,” he said.

Similarly, Estrada said it is premature for the DOJ to seek the cancellation of their passports since the case is still in the preliminary investigation phase before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“It is premature to ask for the cancellation of our passports. Unang-una, wala pa naman kaming kaso. Hindi pa naman naisasampa sa Sandiganbayan. And yung sina-cite nila sa Passport Act, if I am not mistaken, is if you are a fugitive from justice,” he said in a radio dzMM interview.

Estrada admitted that he is scheduled to go to the United States to get a second opinion on his wife’s medical condition but that he would be back before sessions resume in the Senate.

He said he has no intention of fleeing the charges filed against him, noting that he and his father, former President Joseph Estrada, did not flee when threatened with arrest during the Arroyo administration.

He also vowed to fight the charges filed against him.

“Ito lalaban ko talaga itong kaso na ito. Wala naman talaga. I did not do anything wrong as far as I am concerned,” he said.

The DOJ earlier filed plunder, graft, bribery and malversation raps against 38 individuals including Senator Revilla, Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile for their alleged links to the scam.

On Thursday, the DOJ said there was an “urgent and imperative need” for the cancellation of the passports of those accused in the pork barrel scam.

The DOJ invoked Section 6, Article III 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.”

The DOJ also cited Republic Act 8239 of the Philippine Passport Act of 1996 which provides that passports may be cancelled in the “interest of national security.”

Revilla: De Lima ‘wants to be famous’

In his statement, Revilla said it is ironic that de Lima, a former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights,is now disregarding their rights in the pork scam case.

“This latest move – to unilaterally label incumbent Senators who just so happens to belong to opposition, as threats to national security – is more than absurd and is a cause for alarm. Kung ganitong kadali nila ito gawin, paano pa kung ang involved ay mga ordinaryong mamamayan?” he asked.

Revilla also scored de Lima for again making noise about the pork barrel scam even though jurisdiction has already been turned over to the Ombudsman. He said de Lima’s statements “belie her claim of neutrality and objectivity, and expose her true disposition and bias.

“Dahil sa kanyang katakawan sa publicity, sa kanyang ambisyong pulitikal, at sa kanyang hangarin magpasikat, binabalewala niya ang batas,” he said.

“Ngayon pa lang, kahit wala pang demanda na nakasampa laban sa amin, daig pa namin ang convicted na. Paano kaming magtitiwala ng mayroon pang due process kung hindi pa nga nagsisimula ang proseso ay gusto na kaming parusahan?”

He also said he chose to remain silent about the pork barrel controversy so he could speak at the proper venue.

Meantime, Estrada said he will leave it up to his colleagues in the Senate if they will grant immunity to alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles when she testifies before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on November 7.

He said he already inhibited himself from the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee proceedings since the start of the hearings.

He, however, pointed out that the administration was practicing “selective justice” in the pork scam controversy.

Estrada also denied that he tried to divert the issue when he revealed that he received an additional P50 million in funds after he voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona in the latter’s impeachment trial.

The Department of Budget and Management later confirmed that the funds came from the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which came from government savings and unprogrammed funds.

“Had I known that animal named DAP or the term DAP, that would have been the center of my speech. E halos lahat kaming senador hindi alam yung DAP. Lumabas na lang yan after my speech. I had no intention of diverting the issue from us to DAP. It was [Budget] Secretary [Butch] Abad who admitted that the funds…the P50 million or P100 million came from DAP. Hindi ko alam. They were the ones who admitted it,” Estrada said.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • JD
    25 October 2013 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Senators Jinggoy and “Bong” Revilla sound like cry Babys? Because they trying to seeking their passports. Why not, they are alleged links to the Pork Barrel Scam. They might run away from the philippines and don’t come back. Please take they passport , so the poor people filipinos in philipines and around the world, can sleep well ?

  • Wilhelmino Pablo
    28 October 2013 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I wonder if these “gentelemen” of PH senate and congress have the guts to replicate what the late Gen. Angelo Reyes (with due respect to the family) did when he was accused allegedly of financial irregularities in the AFP during his term as chief of staff. You’re right…those “lawmakers” don’t have the balls to do it…they will keep on denying and denying and denying the corruption charges against them until the charges die down. Here in the U.S., anybody who is holding a government post and is accused of corruption will either be suspended to perform his/her duties until his her name is cleared or found guilty or voluntarily resigns from his/her post. In the Philippines, the TYPICAL reasoning of an accused corrupt politician will be “PULITIKA LANG ‘YAN”…wake up Pinoys!!! it’s about time to get rid of those dirty politicians…SAVE the Philippines and her future generations!!!