Prayers, ridicule pile in as COVID-19 patient Bong Revilla develops pneumonia

<i>Screenshot of Bong Revilla’s live video via Twitter </i>
Screenshot of Bong Revilla’s live video via Twitter

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. has developed pneumonia a week after testing positive for COVID-19.

His wife Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado yesterday said in a Facebook post that the senator, who was isolated at home, was rushed to an unidentified hospital after contracting pneumonia. She said this meant that isolating “in a regular facility is no longer ideal [and] hospital care [is] badly needed.”

“Father we lift him up to you,” Mercado wrote.

Read: Senator Bong Revilla tests positive for COVID-19, but Pinoys haven’t been kind

While many of the couple’s supporters offered up “healing prayers,” critics of the 53-year-old lawmaker had a lot of scathing things to say.

Revilla was acquitted of plunder in 2018 after the Sandiganbayan ruled that he did not steal as much as PHP244.5 million (US$5 million) from his pork barrel funds. However, he is facing other graft-related charges and was ordered by the same court to return PHP124.5 million (US$2.5 million) to the national treasury. Revilla had insisted that his acquittal cleared him of any civil liability, and that he has no plundered millions to return.

The virus-infected senator went live on Facebook yesterday to supply his followers a two-minute message as he was being admitted to the hospital.

“Fight…[it’s] difficult… Just pray for me, please,” Revilla said in English and Filipino between coughs.

Cutting comments from his online critics appeared shortly after, such as this one from @virijenim, who tweeted, “Just like you, Lani, I also pray for the recovery… of pork barrel funds. Anyway, stay positive, Bong Revilla.”

https://twitter.com/virijenim/status/1295654775120252928

User @SheAbutterBB425 wrote, “I don’t believe that corrupt politicians deserve early deaths. I always thought they would age miserably and [are] harder to die even if they’re tired of life because they deserve every kind of hell on earth before going to the actual one.”

 

While one @makeapoint690 tweeted, “I’m sure Bong Revilla and wife Lani can find comfort in the P224M loot he denied to have plundered. He surely won’t get a lot of sympathies from me… or from a lot of Filipinos who are struggling to get by!”

 

Despite allegations of corruption, the polarizing former action star remains popular, and managed to get re-elected as senator last year. The Revilla clan also has strong political ties in their hometown of Cavite—notwithstanding Mercado’s post as Bacoor mayor. Their son Jolo Revilla is currently sitting as provincial vice governor, and his uncle Strike Revilla is Cavite’s 2nd district representative.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla — who is also Jolo Revilla’s godfather — is part of the Revilla clan. It’s been updated to amend this error. Coconuts Manila apologizes for any confusion caused.

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