Former actor and senator Ramon Revilla Sr. passes away

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2020 06:00 PM | Updated as of Jun 27 2020 12:41 AM

Senator Bong Revilla with his father, Ramon Revilla Sr. (right) in this file photo. ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr. has died, his son and namesake Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. said Friday.

Revilla Jr. said the family patriarch "succumbed to heart failure" at 5:20 p.m., nearly 2 months after the former senator was brought to the hospital due to breathing problems.

"He is now free from physical pain and is in the loving arms of our Creator," he said in a separate statement.

"Thank you very much for the love and prayers, as we ask for continuous prayers for the eternal repose of his soul," the senator added.

Revilla Sr. was known as "Hari ng mga Agimat" (King of Amulets) in Philippine showbiz.

He first suffered a stroke and underwent angioplasty in 2008.

In February 2017, he had a successful heart surgery and was able to celebrate his 90th birthday in March 2017, a star-studded party attended by family and old friends from showbiz and politics.

The wake of the Revilla patriarch will be held at the family's compound in Bacoor City, Cavite starting Saturday at 1 p.m.

"The family requests the public to give them and close friends time to grieve privately until further notice," the family said in a statement.

"Flowers and Mass cards will be received starting 12 p.m. tomorrow," they added.

He underwent another procedure known as Percutaneous Mitral Clip, related to his heart ailment, in June 2017.

SENATORS OFFER CONDOLENCES

Senators Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva have extended their condolences to the Revilla family.

"My deepest sympathies go out to the family of former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr. My prayers are with you during this difficult time," Gatchalian said.

"Condolences to the Revilla family on the passing of [their] patriarch ex-Sen. Ramon Sr.," Angara said.

COLORFUL POLITICAL AND FAMILY LIFE

Born Jose Acuna Bautista, the Revilla patriarch was known for his lead roles in classic fantasy films such as "Nardong Putik," "Pepeng Agimat," "Tonyong Bayawak," and "Tiagong Akyat."

His last appearance on the big screen was a cameo in the film "Exodus: Tales from the Enchanted Kingdom," which stars his son and namesake.

Prior to joining showbiz, Revilla Sr. worked in government as a senior intelligence officer and later as head of the Secret Service Unit (now the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Division) of the Bureau of Customs from 1965 to 1972.

He then entered show business and became a famous actor and producer. He won FAMAS Best Actor in 1973 for the movie "Hulihin Si Tiyagong Akyat" and was the box office king in 1979.

"The late senator was a pillar of the Philippine movie industry and the Father of the Public Works Act. His contributions will be remembered by people as among those who paved the way for movie and public works industries’ continued growth and development," Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

Revilla Sr. started his political career in 1992 when he was elected senator under the administration coalition. He finished 2 terms in the Senate or until 2004.

According to the Philippine Senate, Revilla Sr. 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."

He also authored Republic Act 8294, also known as the "Revilla Law," which lowered the penalties imposed on illegal possession of firearms. This was signed into law by Ramos in 1997.

The actor-turned-politician established a political dynasty in Cavite with his son, Ramon Jr., having a successful local political career before winning a seat in the Senate in 2004 and getting re-elected in 2010.

A low point in the Revilla clan's political fortunes came when Revilla Jr. was indicted for plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles. Bong Revilla was detained for over 4 years starting in 2014. However, in December 2018, he was acquitted of plunder and ordered released, but still faces graft charges.

Meanwhile, Revilla Sr.'s daughter-in-law, actress Lani Mercado, had a seat in Congress before being elected mayor of Bacoor City in 2016, replacing brother-in-law Strike Revilla, who won a seat in the lower house. She and her brother-in-law were re-elected in 2019.

His grandson to Bong, former actor Jolo Revilla, also became a barangay captain in Bacoor, and was later on elected and reelected as vice governor of Cavite.

Revilla Sr. is said to have fathered at least 81 children with at least 16 different women. He welcomed his youngest child, Abigail, in 1996. - With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News