“THE LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6.” So was emblazoned in the white T-shirt Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. wore on the eve of his “inCramenation” for plunder charges that stank out of the pork barrel scum.
Instant was the reaction of my Baptist brethren, with his own take from the Good Book – Exodus 20:15: “Thou shalt not steal.” He did not simply steal, he plundered. Sothe charges hold.
This, even as my Methodist friend boomed out Exodus 20:7: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
He’s in some kind of double jeopardy there. Not too deep into Scripture, I could only contribute to our coffee-and-doughnuts banter at Krispy Kreme, SM City Clark, a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
Revilla offside, a judgment call there though. Those into the World Cup would know. Poetically blunt was an Episcopalian pal steeped in English Lit, quoting Avon’s bard: “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness Is like a villain with a smiling cheek, A goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!” That was Antonio cautioning Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice, remembering our high school Shakespeare.
So could that be Revilla too affirming anew that God, not patriotism, is the last refuge of a scoundrel? The fervid, though nascent, religiosity Revilla scripted about himself peaked to messianic conceit right at the time he gave himself up at the Sandiganbayan, declaring: “I will rise again,” to the frenzied shrieks of his fanatics.
Hold your cries of “BLASPHEMY” yet. Read on.
Scenes from Revilla’s version of The Passion now: The scourging at the pillar of the Department of Justice with the barb-tipped whips of plunder and graft cases, the crowning with the thorns of the people’s denunciation, the carrying of the cross of isolation in jail, the crucifi xion in the mount of public opinion, climaxing to the glorious resurrection, in absolute redemption.
Alas, it is not the blameless Christ at center stage in Revilla’s Calvary. It is the unrepentant thief. Not only unrepentant but defiantly remorseless – even threatening doom? – was Revilla: “I will run if the people demand it.
Who knows, for the first time, we’ll have a President who is a prisoner.” Indeed, the trouble with political jokes is they often get elected. And the joke ultimately impacts, bitterly, upon the electorate. As we are now.
Not even a day in jail, the next President of the Philippines already whined of unbearable heat in the custodial center, allegedly causing him migraines which his incoming First Lady feared could lead to aneurysm.
How Revilla had migraines in the heat of sheltered Crame when he revelled in sweatsoaked joy under the scorching sun in his vain sorties – to clear his name – in the slums of Manila and Cavite, only instant-doctor Lani Mercado-Revilla could diagnose.
Worse than the heat though, it was rats – the size of kittens, and roaches that troubled Revilla most in the first days of his incarceration. SOS, Racumin. SOS, Baygon. And while at it, throw in Lion katol.
So un-Panday. So un-agimat. So un-Captain Barbell. Of the bang-boom, swish-slash, kisscrush action star whose making mincemeat of goons and ghouls alike won him as much votes as women, foremost of whom, if the movie rumor mill were to be believed, was the divine Miss G.
But, oh-so Revilla. All make-believe. Heroic in the reel. Wimp for real. Segue to Rabelais now: “Bring down the curtains. The farce is played.”