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Sen. Revilla: I’m not senator of Revillas but of the Philippines

By: - Reporter / @KatyYam
/ 03:30 AM November 05, 2011

Parrying criticism from family members for not intervening in the arrest of his half-brother, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. said: “I am a senator not of the Revilla family but of the entire Philippines.”

In an exclusive interview with the Inquirer, Revilla Jr. on Friday said preventing police officers from questioning Ramon Joseph “RJ” Bautista in connection with the Oct. 28 murder of the latter’s eldest sibling, Ramgen Bautista, would have constituted obstruction of justice.

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“I am a lawmaker.  I cannot be the first to violate due process,” he said.

“Naaawa ako sa mga kapatid ko (I feel pity for my siblings),” he said in reference to RJ and Ramona Bautista. “But there is due process; there is the law that must be followed.”

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The senator said he had told family members that if RJ Bautista, 18, were innocent, they should not be worried. “If there is nothing to hide, if there is no liability, then there is nothing to fear,” he said in Filipino at that time.

Ramgen and RJ Bautista are two of the nine children of former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr. with former actress Genelyn Magsaysay. Their sister, Ma. Ramona, is also implicated in the killing of Ramgen and the wounding of his girlfriend, Janelle Manahan.

Ramona Bautista, 22, on Friday admitted that she was not abducted by her brother’s attackers, as she had earlier claimed.

Reached by phone Friday night, Revilla Jr. expressed surprise at Ramona’s revelation.

“I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I just hope she’s telling the truth this time.”

Las Piñas mall

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Revilla Jr. was present when Ramona told Las Piñas City police on Oct. 29 that her brother’s attackers forced her into a van after he was killed.

She said the van was driven around the southern Metro Manila area before she was let off and abandoned near a mall on Alabang-Zapote Road in Las Piñas.

The senator said he still welcomed Ramona’s belated admission because it would help investigators piece together what really took place on the night of the murder.

“All I want is justice for Ramgen,” he said.

Late Friday afternoon, Revilla Jr. withheld comment when told that his sister had recanted her claim of abduction.

“I haven’t been monitoring the news today,” he said. “What I know so far was what she told investigators in the precinct when they got her statement.”

The senator also clarified reports that Ramona was in his custody at the time her name was included in the charge sheet.

“When we left the [Las Piñas] precinct, she rode with me in my vehicle and we returned to the hospital where Ramgen was taken. When I left her, she was with her brothers and sisters.  At that time, [RJ] was also with them,” the senator recalled.

Invited for questioning

Ramgen Bautista, 23, was shot and stabbed a number of times in the family residence in BF Homes, Parañaque City, late on Oct. 28.  At least one witness and two other suspects have tagged RJ Bautista as the mastermind.

Revilla Jr. said that when RJ was being arrested at about 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 31, he phoned the latter and asked to speak to the arresting officer, whose name he could no longer recall.

He said that he asked the police officer if there was an arrest warrant, and that the officer said RJ was being “invited for questioning” in relation to Ramgen’s death.

He quoted the officer as saying that certain people had pointed to RJ as involved in the murder.

The senator said he pointed out to the police officer that RJ was being taken without a lawyer.

“You cannot question my brother until his lawyer arrives.  That’s going to be unfair,” he said he reminded the officer.

“Don’t worry, sir,” he quoted the officer as saying. “We will not ask him questions until his lawyer comes.”

On Thursday, RJ Bautista’s lawyer Dennis Manzanal filed a motion at the Parañaque City Prosecutor’s Office protesting his warrantless arrest and seeking his immediate release.

Difficult situation

Revilla Jr. said the family was stunned by the turn of events.

“The situation is very difficult because both the victim and the accused are my half-brothers,” he said.

Throughout the 30-minute interview, the senator kept repeating the words “mabigat (grave)” and “mahirap (difficult)” in describing the family’s ordeal.

Their father, Revilla Sr., was confined at St. Luke’s hospital in Bonifacio Global City when the Parañaque police announced that RJ had been tagged as the mastermind of his brother’s murder.

Revilla Jr. said he and his siblings, along with the doctors, surrounded their father when he was informed of the development.

“He was shocked,” the senator recalled. “Daddy’s voice was shaking when he eventually said, ‘Let the law take its course.’”

Revilla Jr. said he and his siblings had no choice but to make the disclosure to their father.

“It was all in the news. He should know what’s going on. But we did it in front of the doctors [to make sure],” Revilla Jr. said.

‘Are we dreaming?’

Revilla Jr. has since called for a reinvestigation of the case.

He said that at this point, the family only wanted the truth to come out and for justice to be delivered for Ramgen.

The senator also said he had been having trouble sleeping since his brother was killed.

“I would fall asleep but wake up in the middle of the night.  I keep seeing Ramgen’s face,” he said, adding:

“This is a nightmare. I would ask myself, ‘Are we dreaming? Is this all true?’ I am still hoping that this is all a bad dream.

“If you were in my shoes… Inilalagay ko lang sa tama. I want justice. I want to know the truth. My brothers, sisters and I think of nothing else but how to help our half-siblings.”

First posted 12:48 am | Saturday, November 5th, 2011

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TAGS: Ramgen Bautista murder, Ramona Bautista, Revillas, RJ Bautista, sen. Ramon `bong’ revilla, Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr.
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