By Raïssa Robles
I was debating with myself whether to write about this. Sleep on it and wait for more developments, my hubby Alan who is my de facto editor, advised me.
And so I did. I’m glad I did.
Because Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. did a most unusual thing this Saturday. He agreed to be interviewed by phone on the TV gossip show Startalk.
Hours later, that very night, he staged what the Philippine Daily Inquirer described was “a hastily called press conference” where he asked the Department of Foreign Affairs “to exert legal and diplomatic efforts to bring Ramona back to the country and face our justice system.”
Now Saturday press conferences are unusual in the news business. A prominent personality calls for a weekend press con when he has an urgent thing to say. Or when he wants to downplay an important thing, knowing people are resting and won’t really bother to read it. Sundays are usually busy family days.
A weekend press conference could also indicate haste or panic.
Anyway, two things stuck out for me in Sen. Bong Revilla’s hastily called press con. First, he asked the DFA to look for his half-sister Ramona, tagged as an accomplice to the murder of her older brother Ramgen.
Second, the senator dismissed the postings made by Ramona’s mother, Genelyn Magsaysay, on the social networking site Facebook “as an attempt to distract investigators and muddle the ongoing probe,” Inquirer said.
Then Inquirer quoted Sen. Bong as simply saying, in answer to the question about Genelyn’s postings:
Let’s not change the topic.
Oh, but we simply can’t do that.
Genelyn’s postings on FB show the dynamics between Senator Bong – the legitimate first-born son of Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr – and the woman who bore Sen. Bong’s father nine children in 23 years. That would roughly be two children every two to three years. No easy task.
My attention has been called by many commenters to this piece that Senator Bong’s mother, Azucena Mortel, is not the real or first wife or legitimate wife of Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.
Actually, I don’t know if this is really case. But I’m awaiting proof.
One commenter also pointed out that Sen. Bong Revilla is not the FIRST-BORN son, but the second son. The first, being Marlon Bautista. I’ve checked and the commenter is right.
My mistake on that one.
The handsome Senator Bong, who topped last year’s senatorial elections with 19.5 million votes, is clearly eying the vice-presidency or the presidency in 2016. He is the only other senator representing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Lakas-Kampi Party in the Senate. The other is Sen. Lito Lapid.
I promised myself that as a responsible journalist I have to help dig up facets of the lives of every politician seeking high office. We don’t want skeletons tumbling out of closets the way they did during Joseph Estrada’s presidency.
I did some calculations and was intrigued to find out that Genelyn and Sen. Bong are roughly the same age:
- Sen. Bong was born Sept. 25, 1966 and is three years older than Genelyn
- Genelyn was born Dec. 20, 1969
- Sen. Bong’s wife, Lani, was born April 13, 1968, which makes her a year older than Genelyn.
That would make Sen. Bong 45, his wife Lani 43, and Genelyn 42. But if you look at all three, you would think Genelyn is the oldest.
Sen. Bong reveals a family secret – and bares a double standard
When Sen. Bong revealed Saturday some family secrets, such as his father Revilla Sr. feeling disappointed by Genelyn’s eldest daughter Ramona because Ramona got married at age 19 to a Turkish national and therefore she should should not disappoint them a second time and quickly return home to face the murder charge, the senator’s statement is truly rich with irony.
Genelyn herself gave birth to her first-born Ramgen – her love child by Sen. Bong’s dad – when she was only 19 years old. That must have been a hushed-up scandal then, considering she was a daughter of former Senator Genaro Magsaysay.
Sen. Bong fathered his oldest son Leonard Bryan (born November 1986) when he was only 20 years old and his partner Lani was only 18 years old – even younger than when Ramona got married.
It’s quite interesting that both Revilla father and son expect a far different behavior from the women in the Revilla clan.
Sen. Bong’s eldest sister, Rowena, once told PEP that the girls in the clan were barred from dating boys:
Hindi ka puwede sa mga boys; sa pagdadamit lang, grabe, sobrang strikto. I got married at the age of 30 na, ayaw pa niya. My goodness! Ganun siya.
Rowena was referring to her horny dad who had fathered at least 72 children in 84 years.
He tried to protect his daughters from men like himself.
Sen. Bong has also revealed that Ramgen was his father’s favorite son. But he did not say how he really felt about THAT. If he had resented being replaced in his father’s affections or resented the fact that it was Genelyn’s son, and not his own son Leonard Bryan, who was lolo-dad’s favorite.
Genelyn’s place in the Revilla clan
Even if Revilla Sr. fathered 72 children by 16 different women, there was only one other woman in his life who was constantly by his side. And that woman was Genelyn. Genelyn seriously came into his life when she gave birth to Ramgen in 1988.
And apparently, Azucena, the real wife of Revilla Sr., welcomed the baby with open arms. She even allowed the baby Ramgen to be dropped off to the family compound to play with her grandchildren, even Sen. Bong Revilla confirmed.
When Azucena died in 1998, Genelyn became the loving companion of Ramon Sr. Through all the betrayals and liaisons that Ramon Sr.continued to commit, you could see in their photos that Genelyn truly loved him and Ramon Sr. doted on her.
She and their children were there for him.
Genelyn Magsaysay’s status may have changed under Philippine law
Now, this is what’s intriguing.
When Azucena died in 1998, Genelyn’s legal status MAY have changed under Philippine law. She was no longer The Other Woman. She MAY have become The Companion of the former Senator Revilla, who by then became a widower.
The 1987 Family Code recognizes the right of The Companion to inherit, provided certain conditions are met under this provision:
Chapter 7. Property Regime of Unions Without Marriage
Art. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.
In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household.
Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after the termination of their cohabitation.
When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. In the absence of descendants, such share shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation. (144a)
Art. 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding Article, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit.
Unfortunately, the arrangement was apparently disrupted after 10 years.
On Sept. 30, 2008 – or five days after Sen. Bong’s 42nd birthday – the delicate balance of love, harmony and perhaps resentment in the Revilla clan was terribly upset. Ramon Sr. suffered a serious stroke from which he has never fully recovered.
It is in this context that we can now examine Genelyn’s Facebook account, which functions more like her online wailing diary.
It shows The Anguish of The Other Woman/Companion whose man is dying, but who still has so many years of life before her and so many children to feed.
Last Saturday, Sen. Bong dismissed Genelyn’s FB postings as mere ravings, meant to distract investigators from the murder.
That’s how he looks at it.
Genelyn’s Facebook is her online diary
I think her FB postings may actually place the murder in context.
You see, the way Facebook works, every post is time-stamped. You can erase previous postings. But you cannot go back to a previous posting and change the time-stamp. And so you can trust that if Genelyn posted something earlier than the Oct. 28 murder of her son, the time stamp for that post is accurate.
Genelyn also placed her Facebook filter to “Public” – meaning, any Facebook member can access it. Because of this, I believe I am not violating her right to privacy. Even after some of her FB posts came out in the media, she has not turned her filter to “Private”.
Which means, she wants the whole world to know her pain.
I am not siding with her. I’m merely pointing out a possible avenue of police investigation into the death of Ramgen. If his siblings quarreled with him over money, what really brought this on?
The police claim Ramgen’s murder was prompted by the siblings’ squabble over the “allowance” they had been getting from Daddy Ramon.
Genelyn’s FB postings showed that months before the murder, the allowance being doled out to her and her children had been slowly shrinking.
What has received much media attention is Genelyn’s FB posting last October 21 – just a week before her son was killed. She wrote then:
It seems to be a dig at Sen. Bong Revilla.
Seriously, under the Constitution, Sen. Bong is well qualified to run for president. And he IS his father’s political heir in every way.
What could have prompted Genelyn’s rant?
Earlier postings show that in October 9, Genelyn was having money problems because their “allowance” from Ramon Sr. had been “cut.”
Previous postings also talk about her depression and money problems:
Genelyn’s circumstances apparently changed earlier this year
Last July 31, Genelyn hinted on FB that someone was breaking up with her:
And posted the song below by James Ingram –
Minutes later, Genelyn posted again, saying
With this song by David Gates –
Minutes later, she posted yet another song saying –
Over a week later, her mood had not changed. She posted two songs – “It’s over now”
And – she wrote “ASA TO THE MAX” along with the song – What if, babyface
But on Aug 19, 2011, Genelyn unveiled a more defiant mood in her post below:
But then her mood dropped again. On Sept 16, she wrote:
However, on Oct 14 – two weeks before the murder – Genelyn wrote this curious post with an accompanying picture of her and Ramon Sr. She said they were “consecrated” together in Church.
Is that the equivalent of a Catholic marriage? Or was Genelyn spinning a fantasy for herself?
I don’t know. But if that was a marriage, then Genelyn gets half her husband’s fortune.
Even if untrue, the Family Code of 1987 MAY still protect her and her children, as I mentioned earlier.
Genelyn uses Facebook to bare her side on the Family Feud
Genelyn and Sen. Bong Revilla are NOT friends on Facebook. This would tell you a lot about their relationship.
From her FB postings and those of her other children, you will get the impression that the children are convinced to this day that someone else is framing Ramona and Ramon Joseph for Ramgen’s murder.
For instance, her son Rueben posted:
Genelyn’s son-in-law called police investigators “stupid” –
If true, who could it be?
If not, how could Genelyn bear the thought of two children killing their own brother?
In this unfolding saga of the Revilla clan, what role will Sen. Bong Revilla end up playing?