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MANILA, Philippines – Senator Bong Revilla is now in jail.
After an emotional goodbye the night before, Revilla heads to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan early morning Friday to surrender.
He is now detained in Camp Crame.
Angela Casauay reports.
Taking everything he learned from acting and politics, Senator Bong Revilla surrenders to the authorities, but not before putting on a show for his fans.
Before leaving for Sandiganbayan, Revilla's family and supporters pray over him in a mini rally in front of his house in Bacoor, Cavite.
He waves at them, shakes their hands, and promises a happy ending.
BONG REVILLA JR, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Huwag kayong mag-alala. Hindi naman po ako mawawala. Nandito pa rin ako at babangon pa rin. Maaaring maikulong nila si Bong Revilla ngunit hindi nila makukulong ang pagmamahal ko sa inyong lahat. (Don't worry, I won’t be gone. I’ll still be here and I will rise again. They may jail Bong Revilla, but they can never imprison my love for you.)
When he leaves, a convoy of 10 cars trail behind him.
In the background, a mobile sound system plays his original song “Salamat, Kaibigan.”
His next stop before Sandiganbayan: the Bacoor church.
Surrounded by family, he hears a short mass especially held for him.
Revilla turns himself in to the anti-graft court.
He says he is ready to go to jail.
BONG REVILLA JR, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Magbabasa tayo ng Bible, exercise. Sit ups, push ups para paglabas ko cute pa rin ako. Pogi pa rin. (I will read the Bible, exercise. I’ll do push ups, sit ups so that when I come out, I’ll still look good.)
Revilla is the first senator to go to jail over the pork barrel scam.
Prosecutors say he is the senator who bagged the largest amount of public funds.
Revilla says this does not spell the end of his political career.
Nor will it dampen his hopes of a presidential run in 2016.
BONG REVILLA JR, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Kung hilingin ng taumbayan, tumakbo tayo, tatakbo ako. Malay mo first time nasa loob ng kulungan, maging pangulo. (If the people wish for me to run, I will run. You never know, it might be the first time we elect a President who is in jail.)
In his movies, Revilla always turns in the bad guys to the police.
In this real life drama, he ends up turning himself in.
Despite the twists in the plot, Revilla stays on top of the situation – an actor for all seasons.
How he'll manage to keep up the gimmicks in jail is another matter.
Angela Casauay, Rappler.
Revilla is one of 3 senators accused of participating in a long-running scam, where lawmakers allegedly diverted funds meant for development projects.
Senators Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada all insist they are innocent.
The three say they were targeted because they are members of the opposition.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima lauds the arrest as a "milestone."
She tells Agence France-Presse, "We're accomplishing what some people said was a near impossible task to have these big personalities who are perceived as untouchable finally prosecuted."
So far, only Revilla and his staff Richard Cambe have been detained.
Twenty of the 54 accused in the scam post bail, including the children of alleged mastermind Janet Napoles, former Technology Resource Center head Dennis Cunanan, and Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos.