Bong: I'm not a thief
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2013 - 11:12am

MANILA, Philippines - Following President Benigno Aquino III's speech on the pork barrel issue on Wednesday night, Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. reiterated that he did not steal from the government's coffers.

"Hindi ako magnanakaw at wala akong ninakaw sa kaban ng bayan," Revilla said, reacting to Aquino's speech.

"Baka kaya walang naririnig ang Pangulong PNoy dahil hindi siya nakikinig," the senator added.

Revilla, meanwhile, said that President Aquino's explanation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) raised more questions than answers.

"No Senator or congressman knew about the DAP. It did not pass through Congress," he said, adding that he only knew of the special allocation when Sen. Jinggoy Estrada exposed the supposed bribery to senators to vote for the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Revilla and Estrada, along with Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, are facing plunder charges over the alleged pork barrel scam. Also facing charges over the fund scam were businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and several former members of Congress and their chiefs of staff.

Revilla said that he will squarely deal with the issue in courts to be able to ultimately clear his name from the "unfounded" accusations.

"Handa ako at haharapin ko ang anumang imbestigasyon upang linisin ko ang aking pangalan sa mga kasinungalingan laban sa akin," Revilla said.

Drilon, Chiz rally behind Noy

Meanwhile, Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Escudero urged the public to not be consumed and misled by "black propaganda" by some quarters to diver the pork barrel issue.

"The negative propaganda campaign against the administration steered people’s focus away from the real issue which is corruption in the use of the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Program) allegedly committed by some lawmakers," Drilon said.

Drilon urged the public to "refocus our consciousness towards ensuring that our justice system will work by punishing and jailing those who pocketed people’s money."

A successful resolution of this case will bring about drastic anti-corruption reforms in government and more importantly, it will purge the government of corrupt officials, the Senate President said.

Drilon lamented that he has also been a subject of a highly-funded vilification campaign to steer the public attention away from those who are implicated in the PDAF scam.

After being linked  to Napoles, Drilon said there are efforts to make him appear crooked and corrupt before the public’s eyes.

Escudero said he agrees with Aquino's statement that the government's use of the DAP is legal.

"I agree with PNoy. As I said before, DAP is not illegal. It's a slogan for a spending program in accordance w the current general appropriations act," Escudero said.

Escudero echoed the President's call to "keep our eyes on the ball, so to speak."

He said the real issue right now is "stealing," which he assured is not being committed by the President and members of his administration.

Escudero also said another issue is "accountability," which, he added, is what the government is exacting from allegedly erring legislators.

AQUINO AS I CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO CORONA DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM DRILON DRILON AND SENATOR FRANCIS ESCUDERO FOLLOWING PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO JANET LIM-NAPOLES JINGGOY ESTRADA REVILLA
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