Revilla looks forward to 'new chapter' of his life after plunder acquittal
MANILA, Philippines – Former senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr is looking forward to a "new chapter" of his life following the Sandiganbayan's decision to acquit him of plunder
"Mga kababayan ko, basta't tandaan ninyo, ito'y simula pa lamang, ito'y bagong chapter ng ating buhay (My countrymen, remember, this is just the beginning, this is a new chapter of our lives)," Revilla said to a thunderous crowd after he arrived in his Bacoor home late Friday night, December 7.
It was as if he was never detained, like cameras paused for an actor taking a break from a performance, with the audience patiently and faithfully waiting for a sequel. They hope for this saga to culminate in 2019, when Revilla runs again for senator.
It was a long journey for Revilla before reaching home and speaking to his supporters. He stayed inside Camp Crame for 4 years and 5 months, missing many important events in his political career and personal life.
In his eyes, his release was just the result of justice working in the country.
Release from Camp Crame
As soon as Revilla was released Friday from the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, he immediately went home to his territory: Cavite.
He escaped the Metro Manila traffic accompanied by siren-equipped police motorcycles.
The travel from the national capital to Cavite was swift. From the indifferent streets of Metro Manila, the scenery quickly turned into a road of people out on the streets cheering for Revilla's return.
More and more motorcycles flanked the convoy as his party moved closer to Imus. A car eventually joined, blasting a jingle that gives a beat to the parade. Fireworks were lit in celebration of his return.
"Welcome home, Senator Bong Revilla," read a tarpaulin hanging in one of Imus' welcome arches.
A motorcade accompanies the convoy of Revilla, moving forward to the beat of a campaign jingle.— Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) December 7, 2018
The song opens with a shout of "Nandito na si Bong!" pic.twitter.com/cZB6yPK1rG
Revilla's real 'agimat'
On Friday, Revilla and his family's first stop was the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar or the Imus Cathedral.
The church was filled with supporters wearing shirts printed with the Revilla name. The plaza outside was a fiesta of people dancing and children running all over.
In the frontmost pews of the cathedral, Revilla knelt with his family in prayer, bathed in the light of clicking cameras.
Behind him knelt his children, including Cavite Vice Governor Jolo Revilla. To his left was Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado; they were married in the same church 20 years ago.
After a minute of prayer, Revilla stood up and stepped closer to the cathedral's crucifix and made a last sign of the cross.
"Thank you," he whispered, smiling as he looked at the image.
He then walked to the neighboring building, the Bishop's Residence, where he stayed for about 10 minutes. He spoke with Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista, he told reporters on his way out of the cathedral compound.
After offering his prayers, he went next to the house of his father and namesake Ramon Revilla Sr. He was supposed to drop by his mother's grave at the Angelus Memorial Park in Imus, too, but the Sandiganbayan's release order came late in the afternoon and pushed back his initial schedule.
"Nakauwi na ang anak ko (My son has come home)," the older Revilla said.
Bong Revilla pays a visit to his old man, Ramon Revilla Sr. They pose for a family picture. pic.twitter.com/22U9SyXvF1— Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) December 7, 2018
'Kap' comes home
Revilla's own home in Bacoor, Cavite was populated on Friday with ecstatic followers and fans starstruck by his return.
Screams of "alias pogi (alias handsome)" and "senator" were thrown in every direction. Some could not believe that it was actually him coming home. There, a tent was set up, ready for a performance that has been missed for 4 years.
Revilla went onstage, his left hand holding Mercado's hand, and his right hand holding the microphone.
"Hindi ko po kayo– hindi ako magtataksil sa inyo kailanman. Kayo ang dahilan kung bakit po ako narito sa aking kinalalagyan sa pagiging artista, sa pagiging senador (I will not betray you forever. You are the reason why I am here now as an actor and as a senator)," Revilla said.
The crowd erupted. Bong Revilla is back. – Rappler.com