Bela Padilla says plundered P124.5-M can buy over 1.2 million masks amid Bong Revilla’s suggestion

August 3, 2020 - 1:25 PM
Bela Padilla in KojieSan photoshoot
Bela Padilla in photoshoot for Kojie San on this photo uploaded on her Instagram on July 7, 2020. (Photo from Bela Padilla via Instagram)

Kapamilya actress Bela Padilla reminded Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. of the amount he was supposed to return to the government after the senator urged the health department and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to distribute face masks and face shields for free.

Padilla recalled the lawmaker’s plunder case in relation to the pork barrel scam involving convicted businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

124.5M can buy 1,245,000 face masks. #justsaying,” Padilla tweeted with a shrugging emoji in response to the senator’s suggestions.

The actress was reacting to a tweet of GMA News Online that featured the lawmaker’s statement where he reasoned that it would mitigate the spread of the COVID-19, as well as complement the actions against violators of health protocols.

“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nanggigitata na ang face mask pero ginagamit pa rin dahil sa kawalan ng pambili,” Revilla said, as quoted by the report.

“Kaya para makasiguro tayo na hindi tayo magkahawa-hawa ay ang gobyerno na mismo ang mamahagi ng face mask at face shield,” he added.

The senator also suggested that the national government instruct the distribution of face masks and face shields to various local government units.

Revilla’s statement came after various medical societies in the country appealed for the government to place the National Capital Region back to the strict enhanced community quarantine for two weeks to ease the burden on the healthcare system and “refine” the current strategies on the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Padilla’s tweet has so far gained 5,200 retweets or reshared and 30,900 likes on the microblogging platform.

Some Filipinos in the replies thread agreed with her comment and jested that she “spilled” the “tea” about the lawmaker.

“124.5M is the same amount of money he stole from the government. How cool is that,” another online user quipped.

“TRUE. Dapat ibalik niya yung kinurakot niya at gamitin pang sustento para sa COVID-19 ng hindi ang mamamayan ang kumakalbaryo sa mga inuutang niyo na napupunta lang sa bulsa ng mga kurakot na pulitiko,” commented another online user.

A Filipino thanked the actress for “speaking out” and hoped that Revilla would be inclined to be disconcerted.

“Thank you ma’am for speaking out. Hope others too will do the same. Baka makuha pa sa hiya,” he wrote.

“Kang kayang i-provide yan ni Mr. Revilla kung gugustuhin niya dami niya kwarta,” said another online user.

The plunder case 

In December 2018, the Sandiganbayan acquitted Revilla from the government’s plunder charge, where he was accused of misusing P517 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund with former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada and funneling it to bogus non-government organizations.

The PDAF was defined as a discretionary fund that allowed lawmakers to allot funds for their pet projects but it became controversial after it was revealed that it was a source of kickbacks of lawmakers.

The PDAF scam mastermind, Napoles, reportedly controlled the bankrolled ghost livelihood programs in exchange for kickbacks to Revilla, Enrile, Estrada and some of their staff.

Revilla was detained for four years in the Philippine National Police Custodial Center and walked free on Dec. 7, 2018.

In 2019, he returned to the Senate which he partly attributed to the virality of his campaign video where he performed the “budots” dance routine.

However, despite the dismissal of Revilla’s plunder case, Ombudsman prosecutors have urged the anti-graft court to issue a writ of execution that would compel him to pay P124.5 million in civil liability.

His camp asserted that he was not criminally liable and should not be sought to pay back the amount.