Revillas in full force at Senate
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Members of the Revilla clan led by the patriarch, former senator Ramon Revilla Sr., came in full force yesterday to show their support for the senator who let loose with his own accusations against the administration in a privilege speech.

Also seen at the VIP gallery of the Senate plenary hall were Revilla’s political allies in Cavite led by Gov. Johnvic Remulla and the senator’s son, vice-governor Jolo Revilla, as well as friends from show business such as Phillip Salvador.

In his 12-page speech titled “Ito ba ang Tuwid na Daan?,” Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. also raised concerns regarding social issues affecting the  public, including alleged corruption under the Aquino administration.

The issues, he said, ranged from the unprecedented increase in power rates and SSS and PhilHealth contributions to the lapse of security at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 and the recent survey on persistent corruption in the government.

At one point, Revilla also mentioned how hard it could be for President Aquino when his own sister and brother-in-law were implicated in the alleged $30-million bribe attempt on Inekon to ensure that the Czech company bags the MRT contract.

However, Czech ambassador to the Philippines had publicly clarified that the President’s sister Ballsy and her husband Eldon Cruz were not involved in any bribery attempt.

Revilla Sr. as well as the senator’s wife Cavite Rep.Lani Mercado and other family members could be seen trying to hold back tears.

Revilla’s colleagues at the opposition including Senators Nancy Binay, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vicente Sotto, Jinggoy Estrada and JV Ejercito were first to shake the senator’s hands after his speech.

Prior to delivering his speech, Revilla huddled with his relatives and friends in prayer.

Although wheelchair-bound, the Revilla patriarch’s presence was assuring for the senator, who was almost in tears as he defended the family name from accusations of corruption.

Revilla Sr., known as Pepeng Agimat in Philippine movies, was weeping when his son addressed him in Filipino during the speech, “Dad, here it is, I will be fighting for the truth. I will fight for our dignity.”

The senator said his father had been egging him to answer the pork barrel raps to set the record straight and clear his name, but it took him some time and courage to do so.

Revilla’s lawyer Joel Bodegon said his client had long wanted to deliver his speech but had been overtaken by events after Sen. Estrada rebutted all the allegations last year. 

“I have already accepted whatever fate has in store for me. I have already accepted this political persecution and I will face whatever comes next,” Revilla said in the latter part of his speech, believed by his lawyers as a “last opportunity” to address the public regarding the pork barrel controversy.

“I am not afraid. I have already surrendered my fate to God,” he said, ending his speech with a verse from Isaiah chapter 41 verses 10 and 11: “So do not fear, for I am with  you; Do not be dismayed, for I am your God… I will strengthen you and help you.”

Revilla also gave the occasion some comic relief when he brought out a toy truck loaded with stacks of papers, purportedly documents containing evidence against him. It was apparently a prank on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who had declared that a truckload of evidence had been gathered against Revilla.

Antipolo Mayor Jun-Jun Henares and wife Andrea Bautista-Henares were also on hand to show support for the senator.

“We lift it all to the Lord,” Mercado told The STAR prior to the senator’s speech.

Lani said it was her daughter Ina who had to stop pursuing her law studies after she was affected by the pork barrel controversy.

“She was not bullied… it was properly explained that she was not bullied but because of her sentiments, she had to stop,” Lani told reporters after the speech. Ina was in first year law proper, she added.

At the same time, Lani appealed for public support and understanding.

“Sana po maunawaan ng ating mga kababayan ang mga sinabi niya. We just want a listening ear,” she said.

Asked if the family is prepared for possible reprisal after the senator attacked the Aquino administration and accused it of influencing the Corona impeachment trial, Lani said they have surrendered everything to God.


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