“This is what lawyer Larry Gadon is saying.”
Early last month, President Rodrigo Duterte, apparently pissed at Senator Franklin Drilon’s incessant tirade against his administration over alleged corruption, particularly on the procurement of alleged overpriced COVID-19 response paraphernalia and the manner by which they were procured, challenged the solon to explain his relation with two former Police General Marcelo Garbo and former Iloilo Mayor Jed Mabilog – whom Duterte accused of being involved in illegal drug trade – and suspected pork scam queen, businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Without categorically denying if he is indeed in acquaintance with the three personalities, Drilon simply retorted, “if all these malicious attacks are the price, we have to pay for exposing the truth, then be it.”
Unfortunately, Drilon may have to deal with a higher price, if that’s what he prefers to call it.
Yesterday, lawyer Larry Gadon furnished the media with copies of Napoles’ sworn statement, detailing her relationship with Drilon.
According to Napoles, who is presently detained at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City after having been convicted of serious illegal detention, there is no truth to Drilon’s assertion he barely knows her, and it was his wife who only dealt with her.
In fact, Napoles bared that Drilon called her up one time, around a year before she was slapped with cases, asking her to meet him up at the Shangrila Hotel in Makati.
Once there, Napoles said Drilon allegedly asked her for P5 million as contribution for his campaign fund for his senatorial run in 2010. After a week, Napoles said Drilon followed up on his request.
They then meet up again at the coffee lounge of the same hotel where Napoles said she handed Drilon the P5 million placed in a Lacoste paper bag.
However, what is more shocking is Napoles’ revelation Drilon even asked her in convincing other senators to convict former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
According to Napoles, Drilon specifically asked her to convince the senators to convict Corona in exchange for P200 million-peso worth of projects, presumably through the Disbursement Acceleration Program and probably to be downloaded through Napoles’ NGOs.
Napoles even narrated that they went to Steak House at the 22nd Floor of the Discovery Hotel in Ortigas to meet with a senator whom they were tasked to talk to in favor of conviction.
This is not the first time doubts have been raised on the morality and legality of Corona’s conviction.
In 2013, just a year after casting their votes to convict the former SC Chief Justice, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, apparently feeling the Aquino administration was about to make them the model for its pork scam campaign, squealed on the DAP, alleging the Aquino administration used this to indirectly bribed the senators into convicting Corona.
Revilla even narrated how Mar Roxas, whom he dubbed as Boy Pick Up, brought him to Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang where former President Noynoy Aquino and former Budget Secretary Butch Abad were said to be waiting for him. Revilla even recalled Aquino telling him, “Pare, ibalato mo na sa ‘kin yan.” And Abad followed it up with, “Magtulungan na lang tayo.”
However, Estrada and Revilla’s acts were only meant to bluff. Thus, at the end, Revilla said, he still voted according to what he believed is just and right, not minding the P200 million worth of project he received as a “reward.”
Of course, the Aquino administration did not call the bluff, and both were sent to jail.
However, that is not what we’re trying to point out here. There was an injustice done on Chief Justice Corona and his family. Both Revilla and Estrada exposed it. Now Napoles is validating that.
While a decision by the impeachment court is non-appealable. This should be treated differently. This is not an appeal to reverse its decision but to nullify en toto or declare void ab initio the entire proceedings as everything seemed to be tainted with irregularities – even from the conception of the charges.
The complaint was rammed through the throats of the members of the House of Representatives, many of whom were also beneficiaries of Napoles’ downloaded projects.
While cases have been filed against them, nothing substantial has come out yet from those cases and some are even running again in next year’s elections. They have all enjoyed feasting on that poisonous pork at the expense of an innocent man. They still continue to enjoy the privileges accorded to them while on the other hand, the former Chief Justice died in quest for justice which the past administration denied him.
Maybe it is only right the Senate and the House of Representatives as institutions to correct the great injustice done on the former Chief Justice. Impeachment, while political in nature, should not be something that is gifted to a sitting president just to satisfy his whims.
I believe Atty. Larry could do more. If ever he gets a seat in the Senate, I’m pretty sure he will initiate such a move to correct this great injustice slapped on a great man.