By Rodel Rodis
SAN FRANCISCO—When Sen. Ramon Revilla, Sr. was undergoing surgery at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto in 2003, he was regularly visited by consuls from the local Philippine Consulate. As he did not know how his surgery would turn out, Sen. Revilla candidly shared information about his personal life.
“I have 81 children,” Sen. Revilla disclosed. “I make sure they all know each other because my biggest fear is that siblings who don’t know their common father might unknowingly couple and produce idiots,” he said in Tagalog.
Unfortunately for Sen. Revilla, although his wish for a successful surgery was realized, his expectation of confidentiality from the consuls was not. Even before he was discharged from Stanford Hospital, tongues were already wagging all over the Bay Area with the news that he had fathered 81 children.
Unfortunately also for Sen. Revilla, he was right to fear producing idiots.
On October 28, Sen. Revilla’s 23-year old son, Ramgen Bautista aka “Ram Revilla”, was murdered at his home in Paranaque, sustaining multiple stab wounds and a gunshot to his head.
One of his killers, arrested soon after the killing, confessed to police authorities that he was hired by Ram’s 18-year old brother, Ramon Joseph “RJ” Bautista aka RJ Revilla, and by his 22-year old sister, Ramona Belen “Mara” Bautista aka Ramona Revilla.
After his alleged role in the killing of his brother was revealed, RJ was arrested. But Mara was able to flee to Turkey before a hold order for her could be issued.
What was the sibling dispute that could have caused the murder?
According to newspaper reports, a P1 million ($21,000) monthly allowance from Sen. Revilla for his nine children with Genelyn Magsaysay (daughter of Sen. Gene Magsaysay) was the cause. Ramgen, the eldest of Revilla’s children with Genelyn, handled the P1 million allowance and reportedly refused to pay for an SUV ordered by RJ.
A spokesman for Sen. Bong Revilla, Ramon Revilla’s eldest son by his first wife, disclosed to the press that his father has a total of 72 children by 16 women, about 9 less than what Revilla Sr. personally revealed to the consuls in 2003.
According to Lolit Solis, the talent manager of Sen. Bong Revilla. “He (Revilla Sr) does not neglect his children. He takes care of all of them.”
In her column this past week, columnist/blogger Ellen Tordesillas expressed amazement: “If that is so, he (Revilla Sr) must be rolling in money. Imagine if you multiply the P1 million monthly allowance that he gives to one “family” by 16, that would be P16 million a month. It’s not a one- shot gift. It’s a monthly subsidy!”
“Isn’t he amazing?” Tordesillas wrote. “Business students should study how Revilla Sr has parlayed a showbiz career to politics to financial bonanza.”
“In his 12-years as senator, Revilla Sr acquired a franchise to the very lucrative public works committee which he has passed on to his son, Bong. After Revilla retired from the Senate, Gloria Arroyo appointed him chairman of the Public Estates Authority, an agency that serves as clearing house of all reclamation projects. President Aquino retained him for that position (until he resigned last month),” Tordesillas added.
As a senator, Revilla is most famous for sponsoring a 2004 amendment to the Family Code which states that “The illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their affiliation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father.”
“The child should not suffer the stigma of his illegitimacy,” declared Sen. Revilla Sr. whose real name is Jose Acuna Bautista.
While married to his first wife, Azucena Mortel (the mother of Sen. Bong Revilla), Revilla Sr. met 18-year old Genelyn Magsaysay, who was 40 years his junior and three years younger than Bong. Their non-marital union produced nine children including Ramgen, Mara and RJ.
In her Facebook page, Genelyn posted this note: “To have nine children is not simple…They have different attitudes. Different likes and dislikes and you need to adjust. Especially I’m the only one who’s facing the little troubles given us by the Lord.”
When I first heard the news about the 81 children of Sen. Ramon Revilla, I asked: Why did he want to father so many children? Did he have a Johnny Appleseed complex where he wanted to plant his seeds in as many women as he could during his lifetime?
Columnist Conrado de Quiros cited three reasons why Ram’s murder “will go down in the annals of Philippine crime, already awash with blood, as one of the grisliest ever.”
First, “because it was done by siblings. Numbed as we are to violence, some things still manage to shock us. This is one of them. To this day, it’s all people can do to grasp the appalling depths of the crime. How can you even contemplate murdering someone you grew up with however alienated you have become, however pissed off at him you have gotten?”
Second, “because it was done by people in the flush of youth. Mara is 21, and RJ, the apparent mastermind, is 18. That they should think nothing of ending the life of a brother who has known only 23 summers, that is something that happens only in twisted psychological thrillers”
Third, “because it was done by people for nothing more than money. Or so that is how the story is shaping up. The shallowness of the motive contrasts with the profundity of the atrocity. Of course a million bucks in monthly allowance is something to die for, or kill for, but only so metaphorically. You’ve got to wonder what kind of values these kids grew up with.”
Apples do not fall far from the tree.
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