Doing the right thing
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-11-08
Senator Bong Revilla has never landed in the Top 10 Filipino National Leaders list of your Chair Wrecker, but his recent reaction to the bizarre developments surrounding the murder of his half-brother Ramgen Bautista earned my approval. He went against family pressures to get the suspected masterminds of the murder — Ramgen’s siblings Joseph and Ramona — off the hook. He opted to uphold the law, not obstruct it.

When the police identified Joseph and Ramona Bautista as the suspected masterminds of the Ramgen Bautista murder, it was understandable for the mother of all three siblings involved in the case, Genelyn Magsaysay Bautista, to express shock and disbelief. She said that her children were not raised to do such abhorrent acts as the sin of Cain. Genelyn M. Bautista was not the first mother who could not believe that her son might have committed a terrible crime.

The Revillas (Bautistas) asked for a reinvestigation of the case and the immediate release of Joseph who was arrested earlier and incarcerated in the Parañaque City jail. Pressured by his relatives to use his clout to get Joseph and Ramona cleared from the murder and frustrated murder (the shooting of Janelle Manahan, Ramgen’s girlfriend) charges — Sen. Revilla stated to media that he refused his own relatives and told them “I am not a senator of the Revilla family, I am a senator of this country.”

The political clout of the Revillas (Bautistas) of Cavite is well established. A brother, Strike, is Mayor of Bacoor, Cavite while Sen. Revilla’s wife Lani is the Second District of Cavite Representative. Their father, Ramon Revilla Sr., was a former Senator. Sen. Bong Revilla is seriously being considered by the Lakas-CMD Party to be its presidential or vice presidential candidate, in 2016.

It is this clout of the Revillas of Cavite that tends to bolster public confidence in the findings of the Paranaque police. Cops would think twice in framing two siblings of a powerful political clan for the murder of their brother and the frustrated murder of the victim’s girlfriend. Usually, people without the means to prove their innocence and expose the frame up are the ones who are framed.

The erratic behavior of Ramona Bautista deepened public impression that the police findings were correct. She started with an incredible story that the killers of Ramgen abducted her and then left her in Las Pinas City. Wouldn’t murderers prefer to kill possible witnesses? She changed her story last Friday. She claimed that she panicked and did not know what to do and what to say. By Friday, it became obvious from the testimonies of several witnesses that she was not abducted.

When she took a late flight to Hong Kong last Friday, Sen. Bong Revilla expressed extreme disappointment and admitted that her flight can be considered as a sign of guilt. Sen. Revilla even noted that her flight further placed her brother Joseph in a deeper hole. “Bakit siya magsisinungaling? Bakit siya tatakas? Siyempre masakit sa amin ito (Why would she lie? Why would she escape? Of course, this hurts all of us), but we have to accept it,” he said to media.

Dennis Mananzal, lawyer for the accused Bautistas, Joseph and Ramona, tried to discredit the police findings by citing that the initial findings of the Vizconde Family Massacre (which was also handled by the Parañaque police) was proven to have been a presentation of fall guys. The Vizconde Massacre fall guys were subsequently freed.
The keen observer will easily see through Mananzal’s tactics. There was no eyewitness in the Vizconde Massacre unlike in the Bautista case where Janelle Manahan was right there to identify Ramona and place her at the scene of the crime, when it happened. Jessica Alfaro was not at the crime scene of the actual Vizconde rapes and murders, but outside the victim’s home. As narrated by the police and reported on media, Janelle Manahan said that Ramona ordered the alleged hired killer to stop already, as they have to leave the scene.

Then there is the testimony of the BF Homes, Parañaque security guard that debunked Ramona’s first story that the killers had abducted her. They saw her walking out of the subdivision. This reinforces Ramona’s presence at the scene of the crime shortly after its commission.

There are those who are saying that Sen. Bong Revilla was forced into this position because he happened to be on the wrong side of history — a member of the Opposition. There are those who are saying that Sen. Bong Revilla might only be putting up a façade for the public to see — that of a principled, law abiding public servant — but could actually be using his clout to get Joseph and Ramona off the hook. There are those who are saying that Sen. Revilla came to the realization, after the retraction of Ramona of her first story and her flight to Hong Kong, that this case could irreparably damage his future political plans.

At this point, it’s unfair to doubt the sincerity of Sen. Bong Revilla. He has done the right thing. We should give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him to walk his talk.

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