Senator Bong Revilla sounded like he was saying his “last farewell” shortly before facing a firing squad. He thanked each one of his Senator colleagues with personal messages; tenderly spoke to his family members; addressed former presidents; paid a compliment to VP Binay; showered warm words on the film industry; and expressed profound gratitude to all 20 million Filipinos that voted for him — thank God no personal message for each of the 20 million voters. What followed was a video clip about the senator — who else — produced to elicit as much pity, sympathy, and support from the TV viewers. The production was his opening salvo to his eventual arrest which we’re certain has been likewise scripted already, cognizant of continuity in theme and storyline of the aforementioned video clip. The showing of this rather humdrum “documentary,” cut to a song he himself sings whose lyrics are supposed to be a narration of his present predicament, was viewed by millions on TV. Showing it during his privilege speech hour speaks volumes of the kind of man Revilla is and how he views the world in general. He created a media opportunity to launch a “new look” for his defense that he hopes the masses will cling on to. It was a clever way of getting free media coverage for what was an obvious PR event. Problem with this new look is, for how long? As I said previously, he got rattled early on when his name first got dragged into the scandal as could be observed in the quick back and forth movement of his “emotional pendulum” swinging from arrogance, frustration, and anger, to fear, helplessness, and self pity. We’ll see how quickly his newly “acquired” current disposition changes from what this speech cum film depicted him to be: a positive, firm, “victim of oppression yet reaching out to his enemies”… and a unifying statesman/ leader. My guess is he will lash out again in anger and bitterness at the administration in no time at all shedding this new image that may have looked good in paper but not in real life; it simply does not suit him.
Towards the latter part of his speech, he declared emphatically that he, too, had a “list.” With studied pauses, menacing look, a mention again of the word “list” to build up the suspense (it didn’t), he proceeds with the punch line which was a list of those he wished to thank and number one on the list was God. He does not mind that a small percentage of the population that make up some media practitioners, the more informed intelligentsia, the educated, and the commonsensical people, see through his machinations and manipulative ways for as long as his influence on the large majority of the population remains strong. But even with this showbiz approach, the administration can easily challenge him in his own game because the Aquino’s, through their sister, Kris, have close ties with showbiz personalities and are partners, for all intents and purposes, with the Lopez family who are giants in the broadcast and entertainment industries. The Aquinos themselves are practitioners of “showbiz politics” and are adept at it . So, it doesn’t look to me that his choice of strategy was the ideal one for him which I’m sure his camp thinks it is. The prosecution has the most evidence gathered against him as compared to his co-accused that include bank records, wire transfers, and other documentary evidences — a bloody paper trail, in short. All that his political foes have to do, through the same medium of TV broadcast that he chose as his initial battleground, is: 1) juxtapose a portion of his speech where he professed undying innocence and guiltlessness with evidence to be dramatically presented by the prosecution during trial when the time comes; and, 2) repeat # 1 with every new piece of evidence presented in court while Revilla remains incommunicado in jail. The impact of an entire series of what he declared in his speech today contrasted with evidences proving his guilt and with him unable to respond, could spell his political death. For his song and dance number at the senate today, I would have to give him a grade of…. S – -Shallow.