On Senator Revilla’s privilege speech: It would have been amazing

by Jego Ragracio, originally posted at On Senator Revilla’s privilege speech: It would have been amazing at the Philippine Online Chronicles/Blog Watch

In a privilege speech this past Monday, Senator Bong Revilla said many things. He spoke of lies told by state witness Benhur Luy. He talked about the many problems facing the Philippines today and squarely blamed it on the President (even as he did say that some of those issues ought to be investigated by the Senate, the reasons as to why he is bringing it up in a privilege speech rather than by a resolution elude us). He mocked the Department of Justice in their use of the expression “truckload.” He spoke of his children being bullied in school. He told us a riveting tale of an old man encouraging him to fight on.

He also spoke of a clandestine meeting with President Aquino and the President’s attempt to convince him to impeach former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

As he shared the details of this meeting with the nation, one thing stood out in its absence: Bong Revilla never said that he was bribed.

Considering how months before, fellow Senator and plunder-accused Jinggoy Estrada explicitly said that each Senator was offered P50M by way of an allocation from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) of the DBM, it would seem that this meeting is the perfect coup de grâce, the final nail in the coffin of the Aquino administration and its DAP. It was the perfect opportunity to say, once and for all, that indeed there was a bribe, indeed this administration is no cleaner than the previous one, indeed there is cause for alarm in these criminal charges against members of the opposition.

One would think that, if he was going to go the “I’m taking you all down with me“ route, then he may as well go the distance and hit the administration where it hurts: that for all its anti-corruption posturing, it is no less corrupt than the administrations past, who dangled money before legislators to get their way.

And yet, there it is, glorious in all its absence.

Was Jinggoy lying?

That is certainly a possibility. It’s been explained that DAP was never mentioned during the Corona trial, and that as a program it had predated the trial. Jinggoy also backtracked on his “bribe” accusation, saying that people merely tried to convince him of Corona’s guilt, similar to what Revilla described. Estrada even recently reiterated this story, emphasizing that it was Roxas, not PNoy, who did the talking.

But, what if?

What if Revilla was the one lying?

That certainly puts his already precarious position on thinner ice. The whole point of the Revilla Revelation is that he came out in the open because he was afraid of what this administration could do once it has decided that it wants to “get you.”

But by Revilla’s own recollection, what the administration did was:

1. Drive for him to bypass security protocols.

2. Give him breakfast.

3. Talk to him about the reasons why then-Chief Justice Corona should be impeached.

4. Ask him for the favor of a vote for conviction, without coercion, duress, or bribery.

Revilla then goes on to say that he voted out of his own volition, for “what’s best for the country,” a claim he would restate as he explained his conviction vote:

“In the end, I arrived with (sic) a conclusion that, through his own direct admission, the Chief Justice failed to properly disclose all of his assets in his SALN. This, therefore, has necessary consequences that attach to the position he holds in trust.”

So, did the bad, bad PNoy actually manage to “influence” Revilla to convict Corona, to the point where he is now afraid of what PNoy’s administration can do to him? If so, then on what grounds was he influenced? Was the drive to Bahay Pangarap that intimidating? Was the breakfast served that threatening? Was Secretary Abad’s receding hairline such an irresistible, coercive force that Revilla had no choice but to vote “guilty?”

If that’s the case, then, wow Senator, it doesn’t take a whole lot to put the fear of God in you, now does it?

Or did he remain uninfluenced and unflinching, making PNoy’s efforts totally ineffective?

Did he sit defiantly in the back seat of Roxas’ SUV? Did he bravely resist the temptation of the free breakfast? Did he endure the minutes upon minutes of Pnoy, Abad, and Roxas taking turning playing “good politician,” “bad politician,” and “worse politician” to get him to break?

If that’s the case, then, boy does this administration suck lemons at getting other people to do what they want.

Oh, wait.

Either way, it makes no sense. How can Revilla argue “conspiracy” on the one hand, yet admit that it did not affect him on the other? If PNoy himself couldn’t get Revilla to change his mind, then what, exactly, is Revilla afraid of? That Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of irreproachable integrity, might be more easily swayed?

Come on, Senator.

It would have made far more sense for Revilla to say he was bribed with DAP. That would make Abad’s presence there even more crucial. That would have made Roxas’ and, more importantly, PNoy’s direct involvement damning. That would have made his position a thousand times stronger.

But if he had, what would that make of him? Revilla did, in fact, avail of DAP. The COA audit on DAP revealed that Revilla had chosen Napoles-linked NGOs as recipients of the funds. Assuming the plunder charges against him to be true, that would mean that not only was he complicit to PNoy’s scheme to oust former Chief Justice Corona, not only did he accept the DAP bribe, he even converted it into pocket money via Napoles’ fake NGO scam.

Admitting a bribe would have damned the Aquino administration, but it would have also sealed his fate. What a missed opportunity to go down in a blaze of glory.

It would have been amazing, if it hadn’t been so pathetic.

Screencap via Youtube. Some rights reserved.