MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr's reported return to GMA-7 has sparked outrage on social media, with some questioning the media network why they're allowing the senator – who was jailed for but later acquitted of plunder – to return to television.
Former Apo Hiking Society member and staunch administration critic Jim Paredes was one of the first to comment, saying that the airwaves belong to the Filipino people. In a now deleted post, he also said that GMA can do better than bring Revilla back to television.
Why would a franchise ALLOW this? That is he bigger question. They have social and corporate rresponibilities . The airwaves belong to the Filipino people. — Jim (@Jimparedes) November 10, 2019
Later, reports emerged that he would guest on The Gift, which stars Alden Richards. The hashtag #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift then trended on Tuesday, November 12.
Spoken word artist Juan Miguel Severo took to Twitter to question GMA-7's decision.
"Lol. Alden is a decent guy. GMA better not subject him to the certainly unpleasant experience of working with a plunderer. Malalang backlash ba ang hanap ninyo? (Do you want a huge backlash?)"
Lol. Alden is a decent guy. GMA better not subject him to the certainly unpleasant experience of working with a plunderer. Malalang backlash ba ang hanap ninyo? #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift — Juan Miguel Severo (@TheRainBro) November 12, 2019
"Why is giving Bong Revilla a job even an option for you, [GMA]??? Serbisyong Totoo kamo sa news, pero sa entertainment arm ninyo enabler kayo ng magnanakaw at bibigyan ninyo pa ng mas malaking social capital para sa susunod na eleksyon??? Stick with memeable camp!" he said.
(Your news department goes by the motto 'Truthful Service' but the entertainment arm enables a thief and you're giving him an even bigger social capital for the next election?)
Kahit The Gift o ano pang show ‘yan, Bong Revilla shouldn’t be back on television. For a network to employ this man is for it to help his image-building, therefore help him acquire more political clout and eventually enable him to plunder some more. https://t.co/25zHi2jPhm — Juan Miguel Severo (@TheRainBro) November 12, 2019
Several of Alden's fans also helped make the hashtag trend – they also said Revilla's rumored guesting was not true, citing the show's director himself.
User @fauulky said, "Pinatrend namin itong #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift Kahapon saka sinabi narin po nung director na not true. Rumor o hndi ayaw nmin kay BR." (We made this #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift trend yesterday. The director already said it's not true. Rumor or not, we don't like BR.)
Pinatrend namin itong #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift Kahapon saka sinabi narin po nung director na not true. Rumor o hndi ayaw nmin kay BR — kat (@fauulky) November 13, 2019
User @amvillena tweeted, "He has not obeyed the order of the court for him to return the money he plundered. So why are you even giving him a show, [GMA Network]?"
He has not obeyed the order of the court for him to return the money he plundered. So why are you even giving him a show, @gmanetwork? #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift #NoToBongRevillaPERIOD https://t.co/5Qb1Jqg6cv — ANNA VILLENA (@amsvillena) November 13, 2019
Here's a few more reactions from Alden's followers:
#NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift GMa & The Gift, common asan na yun mabuting asal na turo ni Lola Char & Aling Straw, pig guest niyo pa si Bong Revilla are you serious? where is the moral? — Third Burce (@ThirdBurce) November 13, 2019 FYI we already did issue our protest. Nagtrending na nga kahapon ang #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift ang unfair lang tingin nyo sa aming fans ay kulto or mga uto-uto na support lang, we love this country more than Alden. Also, di lang ito trabaho ng mga fans, trabaho natin lahat ito. https://t.co/M7tVlN6DFm — lyra2.0 (@lyra_starling02) November 13, 2019 Saying #NoToBongRevillaOnTheGift is taking a stand against politicians who plundered the taxpayers' money – money that could have been used for education, agriculture, etc. Bong did that and was acquitted. Then he'll be part of the show to appear once again a hero? No. — j. A (@marcinareus02) November 12, 2019 basta #NOtoBongRevillaOnTheGift okay kami #TheGiftThreat — RFJ (@aldenrO2) November 13, 2019
Revilla had been accused of allocating his pork barrel to bogus nongovernmental organizations linked to so-called scam mastermind Janet Napoles. The senator allegedly earned P224.5 million in kickbacks. (TIMELINE: Bong Revilla's plunder case and the pork barrel scam)
Revilla, along with then senators Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile, faced plunder charges, which they all denied. (READ: Pork Tales: A story of corruption)
Revilla won a fresh Senate seat in the 2019 elections. – Rappler.com