MANILA - The late Ramon Revilla Sr. was brought back on Wednesday to the Senate, where he spent 12 years pushing for the policies he advocated as a lawmaker.
In a series of eulogies, Revilla's former colleagues remembered his passion as a legislator and how he was a source of inspiration when he was still alive.
Revilla was a senator for two consecutive terms from 1992 to 2004. He passed away last Friday after he succumbed to heart failure at the age of 93.
Among those who spoke were former senators Robert Jaworksi and Jose Lina, former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Representative Loren Legarda and Senators Richard Gordon and Vicente Sotto III.
Jaworski described Revilla as a man who loved life and had a yearning for adventure.
“If there is something that I learned from him through the years, it is that we should never take life for granted, that we should seize opportunities presented to us and take control of your destiny. Beyond the legendary characters he played lies a sensitive, loving and passionate man,” he said.
Lina, meanwhile, enumerated Revilla’s legislative achievements emphasizing his personal favorites in youth and sports development.
“My good friend who was with us in the 9th Congress, Sen. Pres. Vicente Sotto III, said it all when he remarked recently that Don Ramon taught him that public adulation was not and should never be used as a benchmark for who and what a true public servant is.
“For all his achievements in reel and real life as a distinguished public servant, I shall always remember Don Ramon as an inspiring leader in his own right,” Lina said.
Estrada also paid tribute to Revilla who was already his good friend even before the latter ventured into politics.
“Labis akong nalulungkot sa pagpanaw ng aking kaibigan, Senador Ramon Revilla Sr., isang aktor at lingkod bayan,” he said. “Sa aking primo, Ramon Revilla Sr., paalam. Sa iyong pag-alis, dalahin mo ang pagmamahal ng mga Ejercito-Estrada. Nananatili ang iyong agimat sa puso ng sambayanang Pilipino.”
Legarda, for her part, said Revilla "will always be remembered as a man of honor, dignity and respect.” Although he seemed serious, quiet and pensive as a person, Legarda said the former senator was always quick to give a compliment and advice.
Arroyo took a trip down memory lane and recalled her fond memories with Revilla when they were both campaigning for the senate almost three decades ago.
“Ang 24 na kandidato noon para senador ay hinati sa dalawang pangkat at sa aming pangkat, ang pinakasikat ay si Ramon Revilla. Siya lang ang hinihintay ng audience at pag-alis niya, umaalis na rin ang audience. Naawa sila sa akin na baguhan sa pulitika, ang ginagawa niya ay hinihintay niya ako na matapos ang aking diskurso bago siya umalis,” she said.
“Minsan, pagod na pagod si Ramon, hindi niya ako mahintay dahil ako ang huling magsasalita. Sabi niya, ‘Pagod na pagod na ako hija. Kailangan umuwi na ako. Pero iiwanan ko si Bong. Siya ang uupo sa entablado para hindi umuwi ang tao.’ Pagkatapos ng aking diskurso, sumayaw pa kami ni Bong kaya lalong mas naalala ako ng mga tao,” she added.
Arroyo then went on to list Revilla’s remarkable works as a senator and even after his consecutive terms.
Gordon and Sotto did the same, with both of them saying Revilla was a pillar in the entertainment industry and in public service.
As Sotto’s voice broke, he said: “We are glad to have known him up close and personal. It was a great honor and privilege. His memory will live on in his family of movie stars and public servants, following indeed in the footsteps of their honored patriarch.”
Before the necrological service ended, the Senate presented to Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. a resolution expressing its sympathy and condolences.
The younger Revilla said the testimonials of his father’s colleagues showed who he really was as he lived 93 full years.
“May kasabihan po na ang dalawang petsa lang ang maisusulat sa nitso pero ang pinakamahalaga ay 'yung dash sa pagitan. Today, we celebrate that dash in between those two dates – March 8, 1927 and June 26, 2020. After all, it is not in the years in your life but the life in your years that count,” he said.
Revilla Jr. said his father inculcated in him “his passion and the love for God, his country and his fellowmen teaching us the culture of hard work, perseverance and service, especially to the needy and less fortunate.”
In the end, Revilla Jr. shed tears while sharing what he promised his father just before he passed away.
“Daddy, as I told you, babangon ako. Lilinisin ko ang aking pangalan. I will prove to them na mali sila. Daddy, salamat sa lahat. Hindi ko mararating ang kinalagyan ko kung 'di dahil sa 'yo. Kung bibigyan man ako ng pagkakataon muli na pumili ng ama, ikaw pa rin ang pipiliin ko maging daddy. Mahal kita daddy. Mahal ka namin. You are our hero, kaming magkakapatid. You’re my hero daddy. I love you,” he said.
According to the Philippine Senate, the elder Revilla became known as the father of the "Public Works Act, a result of a result of his being designated chair of the Senate Public Works Committee and his authorship of Republic Act 8150 which was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on September 8, 1995."
Among many others, the late senator also authored Republic Act 8294, also known as the "Revilla Law," which lowered the penalties imposed on illegal possession of firearms.