MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. said on Friday that the departure of his half-sister Ramona Bautista from the Philippines is a sign of guilt.
Revilla said Ramona, who has been tagged by police as one of the suspects in the murder of her own brother, aspiring actor-politician Ramgen Bautista Revilla, should have faced the investigation instead of leaving the country.
“I was shocked just like everyone. Talagang hindi kami makapaniwala. Itong pag-alis niyang ito is a sign of guilt. Hindi siya dapat umalis. Dapat hinarap niya itong imbestigasyon kung talagang siya ay hindi guilty,” Revilla told ABS-CBN’s “Bandila.”
Ramona boarded a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1 Friday evening.
She was seen being escorted by a male individual at the departure area of NAIA terminal 1 as early as 6:20 p.m, and immediately proceeded to the check-in counter with an unidentified male escort with access inside the airport.
“Ang dapat malaman natin ngayon kung sino ang nagpaalis sa kanya at kung sino ang nag-escort sa kanya at kung ano ang ginawa ng kapulisan kung bakit siya nakaalis,” said Revilla.
'A bad sign'
The senator said Ramona’s departure is a bad sign, since her brother Ramon Joseph has also been identified by police as one of the suspects in the crime.
“Sa ginawa ng kapatid niya, this is a bad sign. I don’t know, pero hindi maganda ang ginawa ng kapatid niya. Parang lalo niyang inipit ang kapatid niya sa ginawa niyang ito [na pag-alis],” he said.
“Bakit siya magsisinungaling? Bakit siya tatakas? Siyempre masakit sa amin ito, but we have to accept it,” Revilla added.
Revilla also revealed he is not in good terms with Genelyn Magsaysay, the mother of Ramona and Ramon Joseph, for turning over the latter to authorities.
“Si Genelyn galit sa akin dahil kung bakit i-turnover si [Ramon] Joseph sa kapulisan. Sabi ko kung wala naman siyang dapat ikatakot, harapin niya ang imbestigasyon. Kaya ‘yung nanay, masama ang loob sa akin.”
“Wala akong magagawa. I am not a senator of the Revilla family, I am a senator of this country. Ako maninindigan lang ako sa tama,” he added.
Revilla said he instead asked police to treat Ramon Joseph fairly and to protect his safety.
“Sabi ko, siguraduhin niyo lang na pagmagsasalita ang bata ay kaharap na abogado and that he is safe. Wala tayong tinatago. Kung talagang hindi guilty ang bata, harapin nila ang mga hinaharap na kaso,” he said.
Headed for Turkey?
Meanwhile, Aldy Pagulayan, spokesperson of Senator Revilla, said Friday midnight that Ramona is already married.
“Ang alam ko, may asawa na [si Ramona],” he told radio dzMM.
According to sources, Ramona’s husband lives in Turkey. Pagulayan, however, said he cannot comment on the matter.
Pagulayan said the Revilla clan is conducting a parallel investigation.
“That would be for the PNP to investigate and for us to find out as well. Pero I cannot give a categorical statement regarding that, kung nasa Turkey na siya ngayon. The information that we have right now is the same as what the media has. We are conducting our own parallel investigation kasabay ng pag-iimbestiga ng kapulisan natin,” said Pagulayan.
Justice for Ramgen
Revilla said he was only doing what is right, regardless if the suspects are family members. “Hindi natin ito-tolerate ang mga ganitong gawain, basta tayo ay manindigan sa tama. The rule of law must prevail. Justice for my brother and the guilty must be punished.”
He said that if Ramona is indeed guilty of the crime, she must face the consequences.
“Hindi namin siya mapapatawad dahil ang namatay ay kapatid namin. Kahit kapatid din namin [si Ramona] dapat niyang panagutan ito,” said Revilla.
Revilla also clarified that Ramona was never in his custody, contrary to earlier reports.
“The last time I saw her was nung nahuli si [Ramon] Joseph. Ni hindi siya um-attend ng funeral ni Ramgen. She was never in my custody. Never. Nakasama ko lang si Ramona noong gabi na nasa Las Piñas police station siya [last week],” he said.
'Rule of law must prevail'
In Revilla's official statement read by Pagulayan over dzMM on Saturday, the senator said, "Ramona's flight is a sign of guilt that she has knowledge and direct participation in the commission of the crime."
He said that if his siblings are indeed involved, they would have to face the "full force and weight of the law and suffer the penultimate consequences of their involvement as principal accomplices or accessories as the case may be."
"I will do everything within my power as a public servant that the rule of law must prevail and justice must be served whoever gets hurt," the senator said.
Police have theorized that the P1 million money that the Revilla patriarch gives to Ramgen for the family's upkeep was one of the reasons for the sibling rivalry. Sen. Revilla has said Ramgen was Don Ramon's "favorite."