The All Saints’ weekend was not good to relatives of celebrities: the half-brother of an actor-senator was shot and killed, and theÂ estranged father of an international singing sensation (cringe) was stabbed and killed.A
The authorities tried their best to make it up to the celebrities themselves, though. Catching and charging suspects in record time,Â all under the glare of media klieg lights.
Angel Capili Jr., now charged with the murder of Ricky “Charice’s Father” Pempengco, surrendered to authorities after being on the runÂ for a few days, sleeping in bus terminals with his cellphone turned off while police “tracker teams” hunted him down in SouthernÂ Luzon.
Police also have custody of Ramon Joseph Bautista (aka Revilla) and two of his alleged accomplices in the murder of his brother RamgenÂ “Ram” Revilla (aka Bautista). Police say Bautista, the two other non-celebrity suspects, and his sister Ramona Revilla (aka RamonaÂ Bautista) conspired to have Ramgen killed for P200,000. Supposedly, a family squabble over a P1-million monthly allowance given to theÂ Genelyn Magsaysay chapter of the Revilla clan came to a head with Ramgen’s murder.
Police say the two cases were not given undue attention because the victims were relatives of celebrities. Still, Laguna and CaviteÂ officials offered a P200,000 reward for Capili and Revilla is related to Senator Ramon Revilla Jr.(aka Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.), so,Â surely, that made the two cases extra important? Still, the police say the cases were treated just like they would treat regularÂ murders.
The same cannot be said for how suspects in the two cases were treated, however. Capili was brought from Cavite to the PhilippineÂ National Police headquarters in Manila for what was essentially a glorified perp walk. Laguna and Cavite officials were there to turnÂ over the suspect to Laguna police (before he was brought back to Laguna, which is nearer to Cavite than Manila). Department ofÂ Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo even came over to give a statement.
Through it all, Capili was in full view of television cameras and all local stations cut their programming to bring viewers andÂ listeners a blow-by-blow account of the “bad guy” in what was essentially a drinking spree that ran its natural course.
The Revilla/Bautistas, on the other hand, were treated with kid gloves. Ramona Revilla/Bautista/Horn was not subject to the sameÂ scrutiny and Senator Revilla was quick to both ask for privacy and to excuse his half-siblings, both suspects in a murder. He calledÂ for a reinvestigation and hinted the police may have mucked up their jobs (which, to be fair, is actually quite possible.)
There was no perp walk for Ramona Revilla, who initially said the killers abducted her but later recanted when police showed she fakedÂ the supposed kidnapping. She was even interviewed on ANC so she could deny everything.
That night, ABS-CBN (which owns ANC) reported her leaving the country on a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Immigration officialsÂ couldn’t stop her because they had no authority to. She was also reportedly accompanied to the VIP lounge by a “male escort.”
PeopleÂ who know about these things say someone with clout–a senator, or a congressman, or a mayor–had to have helped her get the VIP Â treatment. Ramona Revilla/Bautista is related to a senator, at least two congressmen, and at least two mayors. That doesn’t even countÂ her semi-relatives on the Ynares side of the family.
A visibly angry Revilla said he was shocked at Ramona’s flight and denied knowing anything about what happened. Some found his statements unbelievable and hinted the senator himself is the powerful figure behind Ramona’s flight from justice. After all, better a suspected murderer in the family than a convicted murderer.
Others were quick to say the episode could derail Revilla’s political plans for the 2016 presidential elections. This is true whether he knew about Ramona’s escape or not. If he did know about it, then he put his family above the justice system and his pronouncements of “I am a senator of the Republic, not a senator of my family!” are just fluff and showbiz make-believe.
If he did not know about it, then what does that suggest? If relatives have been accused of murdering their own brother, and risk dragging the Revilla name into the mud like former action star and senator Ramon Revilla Sr. was in Nardong Putik, should he have not kept better tabs on those relatives? If his own relatives can pull the wool over his eyes, then how about people who are not his relatives?
Also interesting, but probably easily explained, is that Ramona Revilla/Bautista boarded the Cathay Pacific flight at 8pm.Â The newsÂ broke at around 10pm and the Revilla clan only began reacting at least half an hour after that.
Now, if an ABS-CBN crew was at the airport in time to catch her waiting for her flight, could they not have asked Revilla about it before breaking the news? Â At which point, presumably, Senator Revilla would say “Anak ng Teteng!“, put on a cowboy hat, and head to the airport for a confrontation with the half-sister he was defending just hours ago.