By Hannah Torregoza
Former Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. said he is relieved and feels vindicated after a witness in the pork barrel fund scam controversy backtracked in her earlier testimony against him.
“Naiiyak at natutuwa po ako ng sabay (I’m emotional and happy at the same time),” said Revilla in a statement sent to Senate reporters.
This was after hearing the testimony of Marina Sula, a whistleblower in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam who took the witness stand during a trial hearing at the Sandiganbayan First Division Thursday.
Sula testified it was standard operating procedure for Benhur Luy, the primary whistleblower in the PDAF scam, to sign the names of lawmakers in the endorsement letter which were also prepared in their office.
According to Sula, it was, in fact, Luy who signed in the name of Revilla and added that she personally saw him sign the documents without the lawmaker’s knowledge.
“Sinabihan po ako ng panel na mag-corroborate lang daw ako sa testimony ni Benhur Luy dahil kung hindi masisira ang kaso. Kahit na marami po siyang mga sinabi na hindi totoo,” Sula testified.
“… Si Director Toribio ng panel ni Revilla sa Ombudsman… tinuturuan po niya ako kung paano sumagot,” she stressed.
“After four years, four long years, this, today’s revelations only confirm what I have known from the beginning – that I was targeted,” Revilla told reporters.
Apart from Revilla, former Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose Estrada were also indicted for funneling their PDAF to bogus non-government organizations allegedly controlled by Janet Lim-Napoles, the supposed mastermind in the pork barrel scam.
Revilla’s camp said his lawyers are now contemplating asking the Court to exclude Luy from the witness protection program and revoke his immunity.