Editorial & Opinion

Totally wild?

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To prove that he was innocent of the plunder charge filed against him, Sen. Bong Revilla took to the Senate floor on Monday and accused President Aquino of interfering in the impeachment trial of Renato Corona, then the chief justice. Confused? So are we.

 

Instead of offering a point-by-point rebuttal of the specifics of the charge, that he had siphoned off over P400 million of pork barrel funds through the alleged help of controversial businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the movie actor and TV host issued a generic denial and then sought to turn the tables on Mr. Aquino. But Revilla’s privilege speech was so full of “Most Amazing and Astonishing Moments,” even of statements that were “Totally Wild” or “Most Daring,” that it could have been featured in any of those extreme TV shows which Revilla, as “Kap,” features every Sunday on “Kap’s Amazing Stories.”

It was truly astonishing, for example, when Revilla introduced an oversized toy truck, laden with documents, into the Senate hall, in an effort to prove that the “truckload of evidence” that the Department of Justice said it had gathered to support the plunder charges against him, Napoles, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, and others was a lie. Astonishing, because to erase the public impression of a truck full of evidence, he, well, presented a (toy) truck, full of evidence. (And to the naked eye, the reams of alleged documents that fit into the toy truck looked solid, more than sufficient to base a plunder charge on.)

 

It was also amazing that, despite a fresh report in the Inquirer proving that an unsuspecting Revilla had already acknowledged, in a letter to the Commission on Audit, that the signatures in the questioned release documents of pork barrel funds were authentic, he still used his speech, utilizing PowerPoint slides, to repeat his initial claim that his signatures had been forged. “The documents that they’re using as evidence against me are not mine.” And yet there is that July 8, 2011, letter to Assistant Commissioner Arcadio Cuenco Jr., where he wrote: “After going through these documents and initial examination, it appears that the signatures and/or initials on these documents are my signatures or that of my authorized representatives.”

Like we said, amazing.

Perhaps to many viewers, the most daring thing Revilla did was to take the offensive directly against President Aquino and his family. But what exactly did Revilla do? He said the President asked him to vote against Corona. The presidential aspirant is apparently shocked, shocked that politics reared its ugly head in the impeachment trial. But, aside from painting a very specific portrait of that breakfast meeting with the President, Budget Secretary Butch Abad and then Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas, Revilla did not say anything else. Did the President offer a bribe or hint at retribution? That would have been the impeachable thing. But Revilla did not say. He only wondered aloud: “Is it right for the President of the Republic to interfere with a legal process that is supposed to be independent?” And stopped at that. Why didn’t he press the issue? Was it because it was the sort of question he should have repeatedly asked when his own party leader, Gloria Arroyo, was president? Here’s a totally wild idea: It was because he actually voted against Corona.

One more amazing story. Despite taking part in the impeachment trial and indeed casting the 16th and decisive vote, Revilla still cannot tell the difference between impeachment and conviction. In his amped-up anecdote, he describes the meeting he had with the President and the two secretaries as a discussion on “why Chief Justice Corona should be impeached.” He quotes Mr. Aquino as allegedly saying, in movie-speak, “Do this as a favor to me. He needs to be impeached.” But in fact Corona had already been impeached. That is why there was an impeachment trial in the Senate. What Revilla meant was conviction. Amazing stories happen when you force-fit reality into a bad movie script. Inquirer.net

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