Does Philippine Senator Bong Revilla deserve to be treated harshly while in prison?

The Philippines is abuzz over the latest misfortune porn craze, the surrender to the police and imprisonment of movie-star-turned-Philippine-Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. Over the last several days Netizens are posting and sharing updates on the minutiae of Revilla’s fall from grace since he and Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile were implicated in a national corruption scandal involving the alleged ‘malversation’ of pork barrel funds via bogus non-government organisations (NGOs) associated with alleged ‘ringleader’ Janet Lim Napoles.

Convincing piety: Senator Bong Revilla enjoys the Filipino masses' support. [Photo source: Twitter.]
Convincing piety: Senator Bong Revilla enjoys the Filipino masses’ support. [Photo source: Twitter.]
As a celebrity, however, Revilla remains popular with the masses, and he seems to know how to make good use of this asset. A day or two before his surrender, he showed up to address supporters sporting a shirt with the words “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me?” quoted from Psalms 118:6 of the Bible. Not surprisingly, this earned the ire of ‘civil society’ stalwarts on Twitter and Facebook who sneered at what they regarded as an audaciously presumptuous public relations stunt on Revilla’s part.

But in the Philippines, politics almost always trumps sense. This is really a PR game, ultimately. A colleague of mine, observing these developments was led to remark on the cleverness of Revilla’s PR machine. The question is, will Revilla’s handlers be able to formulate a PR strategy that could save their boss’s hide this time? Netizens amongst the “politically passionate” are in almost perfect agreement with one another that Revilla deserves to be treated no better than the average Filipino jailbird who, owing to the underfunded penal infrastructure of the country, often languish in prison cells for months as their cases queue up for court time in the Philippines’ snail-paced criminal justice process. There they are packed like sardines suffering oppressive heat and humidity as well as appalling sanitation.

The plight of the average prison inmate in the Philippines. [Photo courtesy Manny Prieto.]
The plight of the average prison inmate in the Philippines.
[Photo courtesy Manny Prieto.]

Although Revilla will be detained in a cell of his own, the accommodation in Camp Crame where he will be held is spartan and lacks airconditioning. It is reportedly infested with rats and roaches, has only one window, and, apart from a bed, is furnished only with an electric fan. Nonetheless, Revilla’s wife and former showbiz starlet Lani Mercado has reportedly announced big plans for a ‘makeover’ of Revilla’s temporary home. Aside from the issue of ventilation which, according to Mercado, is causing Revilla to suffer migraines, a bookshelf is top on her to-do list to ensure her husband’s reading materials are kept orderly. Foremost mentioned amongst these reading materials is a Bible and “an inspirational book given by his father (former senator Ramon Revilla Sr.)”.

Mercado was also quick to slam Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III who, she says, has been a “divisive” rather than an “inclusive” leader.

[Mercado] said that she expected the President to be more magnanimous and caring. “He is the father of the nation, after all. But when there were flashfloods in Bacoor (after a typhoon), he didn’t visit us. He only went to Imus and Kawit, the bailiwicks of his allies.”

Indeed, politics remains the key to saving Revilla and, later, his other two accused colleagues in the Senate. Revilla seems to be a serious contender for the up-and-coming presidential elections in 2016. And mounting a successful election campaign from prison has been proven to be possible by his other colleague, convicted mutineer, now ‘Senator’, Antonio Trillanes III who campaigned for a Senate seat while imprisoned on charges of rebellion for his role in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and the 2007 Manila Peninsula Mutiny.

Trillanes, we will recall, was pardoned by President BS Aquino in 2010 because there was a popular “clamor” at the time to justify it. Trillanes, who was convicted for a crime (rebellion) against the Filipino people of equal if not greater gravity to the charges being levied against Revilla today is now serving as a Philippine “senator” (with a small “s”).

That precedent set by Trillanes bodes well for Revilla who simply needs to find a way to marshall the power of his popular appeal and do what he does best, leverage his boyish good looks and ensure that he continues to get enough media mileage to broadcast and publish well-placed soundbytes to keep his fans entertained during his personal ordeal.

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33 Comments on “Does Philippine Senator Bong Revilla deserve to be treated harshly while in prison?”

  1. The patterns I observed on the continuing persecution of the 3 opposition senators are still there. Black propaganda through trial by publicity, absence of due process and the rule of law, absence of the presumption of innocence and the general public aroused by the matuwid na daan mantra crying for the blood of the 3 senators as already guilty like an NPA kangaroo court! The public swallowed this hook, line and sinker. BS Aquino is looking squeaky clean while he and his people continue to escape prosecution.

      1. Consider this: the Marcos administration allowed Penoy’s father, Ninoy Aquino, to travel to the United States to be treated following the two heart attacks he suffered in while incarcerated on trumped-up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and subversion. To date, Gloria Arroyo remains in custody at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center despite the fact that the Aquino government has failed to file a credible case against her. When the Supreme Court dismissed the complaint against Mrs Arroyo for allegedly misusing OWWA funds during her term, the Aquino government detained her anyway on the grounds that they will file a complaint against her in the future. That is a gross violation of Mrs Arroyo’s rights that even the former dictator (technically) did not cross and tends toward cruel and inhuman treatment.

      2. Regarding Penoy Aquino’s KKK cronies — these friends are presumed innocent in the press long before any investigation takes place. Former LTO chief Virginia Torres was never held to account for her gambling. Ronald Llamas was never charged for the illegal firearms found in his car. They flaunt the fact that they can get away with breaking the law and the president condones it, even abetting them on occasion.

  2. The trouble with politicians is they use the name of God, if they are caught stealing. Pork Barrel scam must be investigated thoroughly. The pieces must fall where it may. If Aquino is implicated; so be it. It is the peoples’ taxpayer money that is involved.

    Ninoy Aquino’s case was valid during the time of Marcos. I believe the Aquinos and the Conjuangcos financed the arm shipment of the MV Karagatan. They have to support the NPA, to save their Hacienda Luisita… Plus , Ninoy Aquino was involved in the bombing of the LP muting de advance in Plaza Miranda.

    Politicalizing such cases and muddling it, as a path to higher office is insane…the people deserve a break…

    1. Where are you getting this information? Even members of the Communist Party of the Philippines attest to the fact that they were receiving assistance from China as a result of Mao Zedong’s policy to fund revolutionary movements. They also admit that the Plaza Miranda bombing was José Maria Sison’s doing; the objective was to push Marcos to resort to using draconian measures to curb the violence with the hope that abuses under totalitarian rule would drive people to the communists.

      The only thing muddling this issue is your insistence in promoting a conspiracy theory that can neither be proved nor disproved at this time.

      1. I got the info from reliable sources. A Two Filipino Doctors (M.D. Diplomates) here in the U.S. were former NPA members. They graduated from U.P.

        Why did Ninoy Aquino not present in the LP “miting de avanace? The next day of ther bombing , he was sporting an Israeli Uzzi machine pistol, for photo ops…

        Why did Pnoy Aquino released the NPA MNorong team?

        Why is Jose Ma. Sison, not criticizing Aquino, inspite of his mistakes? Do I believe, he can survive in Amsterdam,Holland, without good support from somewhere? He does not have any job, and he is in foreign country…

        Only dumb people will believe the Aquino fish tales…

        1. Two nameless doctors who graduated from UP? That’s your evidence? That doesn’t constitute any kind of proof except that they may have been involved with the NPA. That in itself isn’t remarkable either. Back in the 1960s and 70s, the CPP-NPA recruited many of their members from the ranks of student activists.

          Ricardo Malay, a reporter with the pre-Martial Law Manila Chronicle, was part of the three man delegation that traveled to China to procure arms for the NPA. He attests to the fact that the weapons shipment was part of Mao Zedong’s commitment to support communist/socialist revolutionary movements around the world. Eventually, this would fall apart, owing to the fractious nature of internal Chinese politics and the Chinese communists’ frustration with the
          incompetence of the CPP-NPA leadership.

          Dr Mario Miclat, one of Sison’s earliest recruits and a member of the CPP mission in Beijing, verifies that the Chinese government provided funds and arms to the CPP at its crucial embryonic stage. With regards to the Plaza Miranda bombing, Miclat attests to Sison having masterminded the attack, even boasting: “We will force Marcos to declare martial law…People will rise up in arms when he finally shows his fascist face.” The most that can be said about Ninoy’s involvement was that he was warned not to attend the rally by certain CPP members he was communicating with. Miclat specifically identifies a ‘Kumander Pusa’ as the person who phoned Ninoy to warn him against attending. Aside from these insights from former CPP members, the events have been verified by credible figures, such as former Sen. Jovito Salonga and journalist Gregg Jones in his book ‘Red Revolution.’

          On the other hand, the proof you offer is nothing more than innuendo and your suspicions that there is something going on behind the scenes.

  3. One other anti-corruption netizen is so convinced that Bong Revilla took the God’s name in vain and I just had to point out that the man was just wearing a shirt with scripture.

    If that’s taking God’s name is vain, then so is wearing any super hero shirt if you’re not a super hero or a basketball jersey if you don’t play basketball.

  4. His nonchalance is either a display of arrogance and lack of remorse, or mere confidence that the Philippine justice system will fail (again) in proving his guilt. This is just a strategy but I’m sure he is scared as hell knowing that the Aquino and his men will disregard the law if need to.

  5. Face it , The Philippines is a weak country and a weak race. That’s why the cycle of corruption doesn’t stopped. If we are like China or Saudi Arabia. None of this corrupt, abominable scums will be alive. The mass instead concentrate themselves on trashy telenovelas, if not philippine crazy politics.The backward mentality of the people is the worst. The country is heading to a deep deep abyss. DYSFUNCTIONAL SOCIETY. Deserve to be called The Gates of Hell!!!

  6. Yes, absolutely, he should be treated like any other Filipino citizen who has to go to prison. No special treatment or accommodation. He should sleep among the other human scum. To those of you who counter “but he is considered innocent until proven guilty”, let me give you this food for thought. Have you ever been to prison? I have. I visited some inmate. While being “inside” a lot of inmates came over and talked to me. Almost every inmate in the prison didn’t do it. Several thousand people have been locked up innocently and what a coincidence, all in the same prison. On the other hand, while talking to them I found out that they knew a lot about how to rob or kill somebody.

  7. This Monday morning, 23 June 2014, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada surrendered at Camp Crame after stopping by his father’s home in the gated community adjacent to the PNP headquarters. One wonders when Liberal Party members implicated in the multi-billion Peso PDAF/DAP shenanigans will be submitting themselves to the police. Or even if the Sandiganbayan will find probable cause to order their arrest.

  8. Another YellowTard Aquino defender, I don’t need proof. You just use your common sense, and connect the dots. My questions are not satisfactorily answered….events and motives are there; and thinking people are not dumb. At least, my Doctors friends , who are accomplished Diplomates are more honest than the Aquinos, and than any Aquino defender. Ask Enrile and Ramos; and people who live in the ’70s, what were the events. Most are still alive.

    1. The Central Point of the Aquino/Cojuangco in good bedfellows with the NPA is the Hacienda Luisita…they have to be in good terms. Otherwise, their equipment will be destroyed. And their Serfs will be agitated.

      It is an irony that the communists are against Feudalism;but they are using a Feudalist family for their cause…because they get supplies and support…Up to now, this is the case…Hacienda Luisita has spilled a lot of Filipino blood, and suffering of Filipino people…just for the greed of a family…

  9. There is no reason he should be somewhat insulated in the realities of prison life in the Philippines, if he ever gets convicted.

    But then, he suffers harshly, despite of his self proclaimed innocence…hmmm…look like the making of another movie. That should be enough to put him in Malacanang in the near future.

    Idiot voters.

  10. To answer the question with another question:

    Is un-lubricated anal sex considered ‘creulty’?

    Don’t forget to write Bong!!!

    LMAO!!!!

  11. If today is the day we start treating corrupt officials like criminals, then I’m all for it. Doesn’t really matter how Ninoy, Gloria, Erap was treated in the past.

  12. Our Media has a social responsibility to make Philippines/World a better place by promoting/influence an intellect society and leave a positive impact on our people. And not just pursue profit from news maker at the expense of making our people dumb or brainwashed.

    “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” by Malcolm X

    EXAMPLE

    Why FULL ATTENTION is given to an accused Magnanakaw (big-time thieves/plunderers)? Our media are obviously being paid w/ money stolen from us.

    Why GLORIFY the Corrupt people? Instead of castigating the act and educate our people of the ill-effect of Corruption. Our media make our people dumb or brainwashed.

    With all the TV, radio, newspaper, prints, social media (internet) exposure given to them – I’m sure it also benefiting them both (Estrada & Revilla) whether it’s Free or Paid publicity.

    Notice how they look so good on picture/video and how smooth they talk during interview to get the sympathy of our people/stupid voters (majority). Somehow it maybe a way to groom them as a legit opposition to run as President or Vice President.

    Politics is the art of deception.

    It’s more about making the public believe half truths and lies to gain votes. Politicians will stop at nothing for power and wealth,

    Observe that recent elected Philippine Presidents are all from (pretend to be) opposition so as gain people support.

    Will Philippine History repeat itself again & again & again…..?

    Just imagine if one or both (Ramon Revilla & Mayor Joseph Estrada) eventually die before 2016 Presidential election.

    Our stupid voters may catapult either/both Bong & Jinggoy to be our next President or Vice President.

    So sad…..

  13. Why not? He’s a PROVEN criminal. Hierarchy or no hierarchy, everybody in the Philippines should face the LAW equally.

    If merits matter, I would have been a high ranking official who do mostly of good in my term. Then I will incite a genocide or populicide and rationalize with merits and call my act “public service”.

    It helps also when the law is reasonable.

    1. When was it ever definitively proven that Bong Revilla was engaged in a criminal enterprise? Was he convicted? The Sandiganbayan ordered his arrest; decided that the evidence was enough to charge him. Proof of his guilt (or innocence) still has to be established in a court of law. Yet you’ve already assigned guilt based on hearsay and innuendo. How is that ‘applying the law equally’ when you decide to throw out every rule in the book to satisfy your momentary pangs of moral indignation.

      And ‘genocide’? — that is simply idiotic! The public service here involves having you on the receiving end of a machete.

      1. I have to admit I base my comment from the articles I read only, could do with more research but if one or all three of them are convicted that will be my reply. Applies to previous presidents and officials who were convicted.

        Second paragraph was to make a point, I intended to be a joke.

        1. Pardon me for considering wiseass remarks about the wholesale slaughter of entire segments of the human race to be in extremely poor taste. I’m sorry my sense of humour isn’t overly sophisticated.

        2. One of the recurring themes among GRP writers and contributors is the tendency of Filipinos to be overly emotional and impulsive. We make decisions in the heat of the moment without bothering to think them through in a critical manner — certainly with little regard for the consequences — and then try to defend them by offering some variation of ‘the end justifies the means.’ Even unethical means. Like throwing out the rule of law to convict personalities you despise or because rumour and hearsay have convinced you they are guilty.

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