MANILA, Philippines – In the melodramatic fashion that characterizes most of Philippine mass media, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. on Monday concluded his privilege speech with a music-video presentation, highlighting his achievements in the Senate, as well as campaign sorties in the last elections.
He closed his arguments regarding his alleged involvement in the infamous billion–peso pork barrel scam with an almost five-minute video presentation, which featured him singing his own original song, “Salamat Kaibigan.”
Prior to the presentation, Revilla called for President Benigno Aquino III to lead the country towards unity and end political mudslinging, as he then proceeded to made good his promise to reveal his own “list.”
“May kahilingan muna ako sa inyo sa ating pansamantalang ating paghihiwalay (I have a wish before our temporary departure),” Revilla said before revealing his “list.”
Topping Revilla’s list? The Almighty Himself.
“Thank you for walking with me during these times of trial. Tulad ng lagi, alam ko pong hindi Niyo ako pababayaan. Alam kong hindi Mo pababayaan ang bayan,” the beleaguered senator said.
Second on his list were his father and his family; whom he cited as his continued sources of strength.
Third on the list, his colleagues, whom he addressed individually.
To Senate President Franklin Drilon, Revilla voiced hopes that the former would be able to successfully fight for rebuild the institution.
“Ipaglaban mo ang institusyong ito (fight for this institution,),” he told Drilon.
Laughter broke through the initial emotional drama expressed by Revilla at the start of his speech when he addressed Senators Lito Lapid , Joseph “JV” Ejercito, and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada.
“Kaibigang Lito, ikaw ang Leon Guerrero ng masang Pilipino. Bida ka talaga ng masa (Lito, my friend, you are the Leon Guerrero of the Filipino masses. You are the hero of the masses,)” he said of Lapid.
And to Estrada, Revilla said: “Kosa, hanggang dito ba naman magkasama tayo? Pinagtatawanan siguro tayo ni Daboy ngayon (Kosa, even up to this point in time, we are together? Daboy must be laughing at us now.)”
This, Revilla said in reference to the late actor Rudy Fernandez, nicknamed Daboy. Revilla, Estrada and Fernandez were all part of the “showbiz” scene, and became close friends. Estrada also faces plunder charges.
As Revilla spoke to Ejercito, Estrada’s half-brother, laughter once more broke out inside the gallery .
“Sa maikling panahon ng pagkakasama natin, nakita ko ang puso mo ng tulad ng iyong ama. Isa lang ang hiling ko, sana magkasundo na kayo ng kapatid mo (In the brief span of time that we spent together, I saw that your heart is like your father’s. I ask only one thing of you, that you try to get along with your brother,)” Revilla said.
Estrada and Ejercito, who are at odds with each other, are both sons of former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada from different mothers.
To Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee and investigating body of tha pork barrel scam, Revilla said “Kaibigan pa rin kita (You are still my friend), no matter what. Lead the blue ribbon committee in fulfilling its true mandate,” he said.
“Senator (Juan Ponce) Enrile, you are undoubtedly the ultimate statesman,” Revilla said. “Senator Cynthia isa kang inspirasyon ng sipag at tyaga; kay Senator (Francis) Chiz (Escudero): Please be careful with your Heart.”
He likewise voiced his thanks to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is also charged with plunder.
“’This isn’t the end for us. God is preparing us for something better,’ Revilla told Sen. Estrada.
This all led up to his soap-opera inspired dramatic moment, as Revilla asked Senate technicians to play his music video.
“Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much),” Revilla said to end his presentation.