Aquino ‘be­wil­dered' by Bong Revilla ac­quit­tal

Watchmen Daily Journal - - NATION - (With a re­port from Camille Elemia/Rap­

MANILA – For­mer pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III said on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7, that he was “be­wil­dered” by the Sandi­gan­bayan's de­ci­sion to ac­quit for­mer sen­a­tor Ra­mon “Bong” Revilla Jr. of plun­der even as the court found guilty his two co-ac­cused.

Aquino made the state­ment in a text re­ply to Rap­pler, when asked to com­ment on the de­ci­sion of the anti-graft court's spe­cial first di­vi­sion – the first ver­dict in re­la­tion to the pork bar­rel scam that his ad­min­is­tra­tion pur­sued.

“The me­dia re­ports that his co-ac­cused were found guilty. That fact proves a crime was com­mit­ted. I am sure that if one were to study the de­ci­sion once re­leased, one would be con­fused and be­wil­dered in­stead of en­light­ened,” Aquino said.

While the court ac­quit­ted Revilla, it found his co-ac­cused for­mer Revilla staff Richard Cambe and busi­ness­woman Janet Napoles guilty of plun­der.

Asked to com­ment on the fact that all three for­mer sen­a­tors who were ar­rested and de­tained over the pork bar­rel scam were now out of jail, Aquino said, “I am glad it is not my job to ex­plain the un­ex­plain­able.”

The other two sen­a­tors charged of plun­der over the scam – Juan Ponce En­rile and Jing­goy Estrada – are out on bail.

Sen­a­tor Fran­cis Pangili­nan, Aquino’s party mate at the Lib­eral Party, ex­pressed the same sen­ti­ment.

“Paano nag­ing guilty ang nanuhol pero not guilty ang sin­uhu­lan? Mahi­rap un­awain ang nag­ing pasya (How can those who bribed are guilty but the bribe-taker is not guilty? It’s dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand the de­ci­sion),” he said.

The ver­dict on the case is first-ever de­ci­sion in what is ar­guably the big­gest cor­rup­tion scan­dal to hit Philip­pine pol­i­tics in re­cent his­tory. Dur­ing the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion, au­di­tors and in­ves­ti­ga­tors un­cov­ered a long-run­ning, elab­o­rate scam that used law­mak­ers' dis­cre­tionary funds for projects which turned out to be fake or non-ex­is­tent.

Revilla was ar­rested in 2014.

(Ben Nabong/ Rap­pler photo)

In­ves­ti­ga­tions into the pork bar­rel scam be­gan dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of then pres­i­dent Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III.

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