NBI to probe Revilla Sr.

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will look into the reported involvement of former senator Ramon Revilla Sr. in the pork barrel scam, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima revealed yesterday.

“Of course if there will be evidence like sworn statement from the whistle-blowers, we have no choice but to pursue that,” De Lima said.

De Lima said she would meet with primary whistle-blower Benhur Luy and his lawyer Levito Baligod to determine if the inclusion of the former senator was warranted.

For now, De Lima said she is not aware of any evidence against the father and namesake of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr..

 The younger Revilla was earlier charged by the NBI for plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly pocketing P224.51 million in kickbacks from Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged scam architect.

The senator yesterday sought the suspension of the preliminary investigation of his case.

 Revilla filed a 17-page motion informing the Ombudsman of a pending civil case before the Bacoor Regional Trial Court concerning the complaint against the contracts he supposedly signed with the non-government organizations of Napoles.

Revilla’s legal team argued the civil complaint for the declaration of nullity of the documents involves facts intimately related to the plunder complaint.

His legal team said the determination of whether the documents must be nullified on the ground that Revilla’s signatures were forged will affect the proceedings as regards to the plunder charges against the senator.

“Hence, Sen. Revilla moves for the suspension of the preliminary investigation and any proceeding before the honorable office until the civil case is resolved with finality,” the motion read.

De Lima, on the other hand, noted the disclosures of Luy linking Revilla’s father to the scam.

“Benhur Luy or his counsel said something about that: ex-senator Revilla Sr. was also dealing with Napoles or her NGOs,” she said.

De Lima said she had not seen any sworn statement from Luy detailing the involvement of the elder Revilla.

“So it will really depend if Benhur Luy or any other whistle-blower would submit affidavit that we can pursue,” she said.

If the name of the 86-year-old Revilla crops up in affidavits, De Lima said there would still be a need for supporting documentary evidence.

A report quoting Luy had said the elder Revilla channeled P35 million of his PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) to local government units, namely Clarin, Misamis Oriental with P10 million; San Quintin, Pangasinan with P5 million; Porac, Pampanga with P5 million; Siniloan, Laguna with P5 million; San Juan, Leyte with P5 million; and Dawis, Bohol, also with P5 million.

“We cannot just rely on news reports,” De Lima stressed.

In its complaint against Revilla Jr., Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, and several others, the NBI alleged the three lawmakers had separate agreements with Napoles to choose which NGOs would be the recipient of their respective pork barrel allocations.

Napoles was accused of siphoning off the pork barrel funds of lawmakers by putting up fake NGOs.

In exchange for selecting the NGOs linked to Napoles, the lawmaker concerned would receive 40 to 60 percent of the cash value of the project as kickback, the NBI said.

Reports said the elder Revilla was involved in the scam but this was denied by the younger Revilla, saying Malacañang was orchestrating the attack to put his family to shame. –Christina Mendez


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