Saturday, June 21, 2014
Revilla knows exactly what he is doing and who he is playing his theatrics to.
A month before the controversy on PDAF or pork barrel marks its first anniversary in July—Inquirer first reported on it in July last year—one of the first indictees, a sitting senator, Senator Ramon Revilla, has surrendered after the graft court, the Sandiganbayan (SB), has issued the warrant for his arrest, and is now detained at the PNP Custodial Center at CIDG in Camp Crame. The arrests or surrenders of the two other high-profile indictees, fellow sitting senators Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, are expected to follow and take place on Monday, at the earliest, or anytime within next week.
The three, along with tens more, are among the first batch of personalities charged of plunder and several counts of graft in connection with the systematic and scheming allocation of pork barrel funds—intended to alleviate the plight of farmers affected by devastating typhoons that hit the country in the last decade, among others—to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs), eight or so of which were owned by alleged PDAF scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. Napoles herself is under detention at a Police special forces camp in Sta. Rosa Laguna, south of capital Manila, for illegal detention of former employee and cousin-turned whistle blower Benhur Luy.
The arrest, or the issuance for its warrant, which followed SB’s determination of probable cause, came on the heels of charges of selective justice by the opposition led by Vice-President Jejomay Binay, a confessed and strong contender for the presidency in the 2016 national elections. DOJ secretary, however, calls it “a milestone in Philippine justice system,” pointing that it is the first time that a number of lawmakers, congressmen and senators alike, are expected to stand trial for plunder of taxpayers’ money.
Depending on who you ask, the reaction is extremely for or against these developments.
One won’t miss though the theatrics put up by Senator Revilla for days now leading to his surrender yesterday after the SB issued the warrant for his arrest. He has gone around the country, as though he were on a campaign—but it is clear he was making a campaign out of it—portraying himself as a victim of the administration’s demolition job to frustrate his presidential ambitions. He has made known to the public his intention to seek the country’s highest office in the 2016 national elections.
While many in educated middle and upper class of society doubt whether anyone cares about what Senator Revilla says, or whether anyone believes what he says other than take it with a grain of salt, and many labeling his whole endeavor as making them queasy and squeamish, Revilla knows exactly what he is doing and who he is playing his theatrics to—the masses which translates to the poor, mostly uneducated or undereducated, and mostly voters.
His hopes, I surmise, and exploiting Philippines’s legal crack allowing suspected criminals, at least before conviction by final judgment, to seek and hold elective office, is he will not be convicted by final judgment before the 2016 national elections, thus qualifying him to run for president. If he wins, which is credibly possible, given his considerable popularity with the masses being a local action movie hero for decades, he could influence the outcome of his case by placing his political and legal stalwarts in the right places, especially the JBC, which is responsible for nominating and shortlisting candidates for justices of the Supreme Court, whom the president ultimately appoints.
This is his last card. If this plays out right, and that is why he is carefully orchestrating it—playing the roles of a director and a lead actor—we will have a prisoner waltzing his way out of detention to occupy the highest office of the land. Revilla feels this in his gut. If you notice, this is the stuff his kinds of movie are made of.