MANILA (Mabuhay)– Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., detained in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam, on Thursday said he is open on the possibility of running for higher office in the 2016 elections.
“I keep my options open, kahit nakakulong ako dahil alam kong malinis ang aking konsensya at lalabas at lalabas ang katotohanan,” Revilla said in Sandiganbayan.
Revilla was responding to a querry on whether he plans to run for either vice president or president in next year’s elections.
He pointed out that there is no law barring a detained prisoner from running for public office as he is not yet convicted of any crime.
“Ang tanong ko lang, meron bang nagbabawal na tumakbo ang isang nakakulong? Wala namang batas na nagbabawal, ‘di ba? Hindi pa naman tayo convicted,” Revilla said.
Asked for a categorical answer on his plans for next year, Revilla just responded with a laugh and said: “No comment. Baka lalo akong ‘di na makalabas dito.”
Revilla is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Though insisting that nothing is final yet, Revilla said he is always ready to respond to any clamor by his supporters, adding there are some personalities who visit him in detention to express support for his possible candidacy in 2016.
Revilla refused to name these personalities.He also refused to comment on whether he has already discussed with the officials of his current political party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrat (Lakas-CMD), his possible candidacy.
“Secret na lang muna, basta nakahanda ako pero sa tamang panahon yan,” Revilla said.
“Saka alam mo kung guilty ka, ‘di ka na mag-iisip pang tumakbo. Pero kung malinis ang konsensya mo, wala kang dapat ikatakot. Pero basta, hintayin na lang natin, hanggang October naman ang filing of candidacy,” he added.
Revilla, however, admitted that the allegations of corruption hurled against him have somehow eroded the people’s support for him.
“I have to admit that maraming nalason sa pagbato ng putik sa ‘tin. Kita niyo naman ang dumi ng pamumulitika ngayon,” Revilla said, insisting that the allegations against him was just politically-motivated.
“Sana parehas na laban na lang, parehas na laban. Let the people decide,” Revilla said, addressing his detractors without mentioning any names.
Asked for comment, Justice Undersecretary Jose Justiniano, who also serves as part of the prosecution panel in the pork barrel scam case, confirmed that Revilla still has the right to run for public office.
“Sa ‘min walang problema kung anuman ang political plans niya, ‘di na namin saklaw yun. At saka pwede naman talaga, walang anumang balakid kung siya’y tatakbo dahil siya naman [ay] ‘di pa naman convicted,” Justiniano said.
But when asked if he thinks Revilla still has the moral ascendency to hold public office, Justiniano refused to comment.
“Di na kami magco-comment diyan kasi ang taumbayan naman ang magpapasya diyan. Alam naman ng taumbayan na may hinaharap siyang kaso, so nasa kanila na ‘yun,” Justiniano said.
Revilla is facing one count of plunder and 16 counts of graft for allegedly pocketing P224.5 million worth of kickbacks by allocating portions of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), commonly known as pork barrel, from 2006 to 2010 to the fake foundations allegedly owned by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the pork scam.
The trial proper of their plunder case was set to commence later this year instead of the original target of last week of May. (MNS)