The Sandiganbayan’s First Division did not push through today’s plunder trial – instead, it is set for June 1. It’s the 6th schedule after 5 postponements since January. This is apparently to give way to the additional marking of voluminous evidence related to Revilla’s pork barrel projects. It allegedly allowed him to pocket P224.5 million in kickbacks.
Youtube video by; Elena Grace Flores
[VIDEO]: Bong Revilla’s hearing is again postponed to June 1, 2017
Lead prosecutor Joefferson Toribio defended the delay in the marking. He said that each SARO has 4 thick folders of evidence. Revilla’s plunder case is connected to 16 SAROs all in all. So, the enormous amount of evidence can use up a lot of time when scrutinized thoroughly.
Disagreement on Unclear Copies
Toribio also complained that Revilla’s lawyers are also delaying the trial. Revilla’s chief of staff, Richard Cambe moved to withdraw some documents for being illegible. Toribio said that while producing clearer copies, Revilla’s lawyers refused to agree that the clearer copies and the original illegible copies are identical.
Concerned with Detained Revilla?
First Division Chair Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz did not accept Toribio’s reasons because it was the Revilla camp’s prerogative to be thorough with the documents. Dela Cruz told Revilla’s lawyers: “He’s just concerned for your client who is detained,” which lightened up the mood in the court – but certainly, Revilla is for sure still frustrated with longer time in jail.
The prosecution is due to present 48 witnesses who would prove that the projects supposed to be funded by Revilla’s pork barrel are non-existent. Revilla’s new lawyer, Estelito Mendoza, contested the inclusion of such testimonies which Revilla’s previous lawyers had allowed. But Dela Cruz mentioned that these testimonies can’t be removed just because a new lawyer wants to reorganize things.
Among the accused, 8 were only charged who are not affiliated with the Liberal Party and Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Juan Ponce Enrile are already in jail – who were considered as threats to the Aquino Administration before they were convicted.
Another dirty game played by the Liberal Party?; asked the critics.
President Noynoy Aquino was right for one thing when questioned by a blogger why the prison facilities of the recently imprisoned senators, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada are better than the previous prison cell of his late father, Ninoy Aquino. There’s actually no basis for the comparison since the situations are different then and now plus the offenses allegedly committed are of unrelated in nature. He even added that at some point, his father’s room was air-conditioned! The President highlighted that as a highly sociable man, the solitary confinement of his father was the greatest torture during his ordeal!
In addition to that, Ninoy Aquino was accused of being a rebel by capitalizing on political propaganda using the media. Revilla and Estrada are not yet convicted for the plunder cases filed against them. It will actually be a dumb thing if the administration places these two very popular actors turned senators into normal jail bars – for security reasons.
Besides, what goes around comes around. We know for the fact that these two senators are Presidentiables, knowing the masses! What will happen to the President when the tide finally turns around? At least, he can expect to be treated as human as possible based on his current status if he is no longer in the position with all the drastic actions he imposed to these powerful members of the opposition.
Yes, he vowed to punish those corrupt people in the government but it is however obvious to everybody that he is being selective. Corruption has been adamant for decades in the Philippines – and it is not only people who are corrupt. The whole system of government operations are! The President should have focused in changing the system rather than hurt those selected political enemies, their families and supporters – if he cannot generalize it or if he is really not also using the corrupt system to gain power!
However, social damages have been done and not unless the next leaders with the backlogs of this administration can forgive those who trespass them – we can only expect a divided Philippines. Unity is far from the horizon now that unfair judgements are bestowed to respected public figures! It will not be surprising if a group of opposing political parties will join hands in putting a stop into this unlikely government priority. Just wait and see!
By: Elena Grace Flores
Reading pork barrel articles and interviewing politicians about the pork barrel scam, it is very obvious that the public have different perception about it’s nature than the people in the public service. While many Filipino citizens are disgusted about the plight of popular senators, the senators themselves knew that this is just a political move to prevent them from running for higher office or vice versa.
Clearly, the pork barrel is not about the senators stealing money – because if you study the distribution channel, they actually do not have access to these loads of cash. These are mere figures that the executive office can play with to gain power by influencing senators to where they want the government to advance to. In short, the pork barrel is the executive office’s tool for getting support from the Senate to realize their intentions for the Philippines.
The pork barrel scam is about crediting and discrediting those who are vulnerable at their slightest unpopular or popular move. Here are collections of articles if you want to analyze this case yourself: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/napoles-pork-barrel-scam
It is unfair to judge our senators because of their alleged involvement with the pork barrel scam. They are just being manipulated by the highest office. They can only deny the accusations and accept that this is the price that they have to pay for being senators! Remember, it’s not the money. It’s trial by publicity and the verdict is their success or failure in the upcoming election.