DON’T PREJUDGE BONG!

Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
June 9

STORY #3 “ROMUALDEZ”

LEYTE Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez urged yesterday the Aquino
administration to be fair to all implicated in the alleged
multibillion-peso pork barrel scam by expediting the resolution of all
pending complaints, including those against the allies of President
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“From the very beginning, we join the government in seeking justice
behind the pork barrel scam. But it should not be selective
prosecution where opposition personalities are being persecuted. Now
that formal cases have been filed before the anti-graft court, the
government should also work in the filing of cases against their
allies,” Romualdez pointed out.

At the same time, Romualdez appealed not to prejudge Sen. Ramon “Bong”
Revilla Jr. over his plunder case before Sandiganbayan for allegedly
pocketing public funds through commissions in the amount of P242
million from pork barrel funds.

Romualdez cited President Aquino’s statement that people who have
been accused of wrongdoings remain innocent unless proven otherwise by
the courts.

“As declared by President Aquino himself, all accused are innocent
until proven guilty. So I appeal to the public not to prejudge Sen.
Revilla based only on press releases and supposed expert opinions. The
law provides that only the court, in this case the Sandiganbayan, can
rule on the guilt, or innocence, of the accused. Let us all respect
the law,” Romualdez, president of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats
(CMD) where Revilla is the chairman, said.

Romualdez, a lawyer, said there is no solid evidence as of the moment
to pin down Revilla in the plunder case.

“I stand solidly behind Sen. Bong Revilla Jr. in his fight to bring
out the truth in the plunder case he is facing over his alleged
participation in the ‘pork barrel’ scam. Not only because he is a
Lakas party-mate but as a lawyer myself, I have yet to see any solid
evidence against him, especially the key component of plunder which
says that the accused pocketed the money in question,” Romualdez said.

Last Friday, the Office of the Ombudsman filed separate plunder cases
against Revilla and Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy”
Estrada, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles and others in connection with
the multibillion-peso pork barrel scam.

Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the pocketing of multibillion-peso
priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel, was named
respondent in every plunder case lodged against Enrile, Estrada and
Revilla.
Enrile allegedly had P172-million kickbacks and Estrada was accused of
taking P183-million.
Based on the informations filed by the Ombudsman, Enrile’s other
co-accused was Gigi Reyes while Pauline Labayen was Estrada’s another
co-respondent and Revilla’s other co-accused was Richard Cambe.

Aside from Napoles who was detained for illegal detention case, also
named co-respondent to all three senators were John de Asis while
Ronald Lim was co-accused for both Enrile and Revilla’s plunder
cases.(RPP)

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