Pique by what Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla described as “premature” bid by the Sandiganbayan (graft-court), following the motion of the Ombudsman, to garnish his multi-million-peso assets through a writ of preliminary attachment, the combative senator declared that he would give all the money he earned as an actor if government lawyers can prove that he committed plunder involving his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
A writ of attachment is generally used to freeze assets of a defendant pending the outcome of a legal action. It is simply preventing the accused from doing some further chicanery, considering the history of the case, in a way that the court could no longer recover his ill-gotten wealth if and when it finds him guilty. The assets are said to include multiple bank accounts, real properties, shares of stocks as well as vehicles.
Finding Revilla guilty is a compelling challenge that the Sandiganbayan justices should not take very lightly, including those justices of the other Sandiganbayan divisions handling the cases of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada.
It is a challenge to their intelligence and competency, but more than anything else, it is becoming a demanding challenge to their egos for the decision of the cases before them against the three senators could either shame them or glorify them.
As fearless and cocky Revilla has become in his stance that he could defend all the transactions in his bank account as examined by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), it now behooves on the Sandiganbayan to refute that not all of the wealth amassed by Revilla came from his being a successful box-office star.
“Everyone in the movie industry knows how I make millions of money from one blockbuster movie alone. And in my more than 20 years in showbiz, I can say that the amount of money I am accused of having stolen is quite small compared to my aggregate earnings as an action star.”
Either the person saying this is vulgarly arrogant or is simply pretending that he is lily-white clean – a saint.
The Sandiganbayan, therefore, has a tall order to follow. What makes it even demanding is that the Filipino people are expecting them to perform an impressive job of unmasking and proving the guilt of Revilla, Enrile and Estrada.
It is not enough that both the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan have marred the reputation of the senators. What complete their tasks is to prove that the senators deserve their marred reputations.
Then that will justify the writ of preliminary attachment of their assets and make it even easier to recover their ill-gotten wealth.