Now showing at Camp Crame

Patricia Evangelista

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Welcome to the circus – and it isn't over yet

MANILA, Philippines – On Friday, June 20, the convoy rolled down the Emilio Aguinaldo Highway to the sound track of “Salamat Kaibigan.” The chorus blasted from a sound system mounted on the roof of an overhauled truck. The senator’s own production team sat on a pickup, the media crew cabs followed, the entire cavalcade stopping traffic all the way to the Bacoor Cathedral, stranding morning commuters, including a man dressed as Big Bird.

Welcome to the circus, where tears and painful embraces were sidelined by God’s vote silkscreened on a white T-shirt, as supporters thundered down in motorcycles, soundbites ran amok, and glass shards fell on the august hallways of the Sandiganbayan. It was a time of homilies about truth and service, delivered from pulpits holy and otherwise. It was an arrest, it was a surrender, it was a sacrifice, it was God’s blessing, may his will be done. 

At the end – or the beginning – of the Bong Revilla extravaganza, the senator turned himself over to the law and found his way to the Camp Crame custodial center. Less than an hour after his confinement, the singing senator was allowed guests – a luxury most detainees don’t get on day one. Roughly 20 of them – both family and celebrity – marched into the custodial center and stayed until 5 in the afternoon. His wife left to buy him a cooler and a sleeveless shirt – heat gives the senator migraines, she said.

This is the day that Ramon Revilla Jr, senator of the republic and the alleged thieving martyr of the masses, said he was willing to suffer for the sake of God and country. He is innocent, he says, brought down by malice and politics, and he is willing to go to jail to prove it. –

Photos by Angela Casauay, Adrian Portugal, Jun Diestro, Albert Victoria, Ben Nabong,

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