Friday, August 1, 2008

Bong Revilla: Amazing Political Story

The gossip girls are talking about Bong Revilla, the action star and former governor of Cavite now a duly elected member of the Senate, and his supposed bid to be the next vice president of the Republic of the Philippines.

While it is less than two years before the presidential elections in 2010, the political landscape is quickly changing as we start to see personalities trying every possible means to be noticed and, like one of the millions of commuters in Tokyo’s subway, pushed inside the train on the campaign trail.

Revilla is not pitching to be considered a candidate for the highest position in the land. No, he’s not that foolish to even think about it, although not a few say, “Why not?”

Yet the actor who followed in the footsteps of his father (former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.) knows he’s not quite ripe to be in the most coveted seat of power. If ever, he says, asked to be a running mate of a presidential candidate, he won’t decline the offer.

He also knows that it is premature to even speak about running (for vice president) in the coming elections. “At this point, I just want to let people know that as their elected senator I have made several milestones in legislation,” he told us over dinner recently. “You can check them out in the Senate records.”

He admitted that he has heard his name mentioned in political discussions as a possible candidate for vice president, yet he never gave them serious thoughts.

“If you’re familiar with the way politics is conducted in our country, you know that everything is speculations,” he said as a way to clear the air that he had his name flaunted in political circles. “I am glad that my name has come up, but I don’t want to even think about it. I’d be too presumptuous to even consider myself as the best possible vice presidential candidate.”

Revilla’s rise to politics is one amazing story. Following the success of his father in that period of the country’s political history when movie stars became the darling of the majority of the nation’s electorate, the junior launched his political career when he sought Cavite’s second highest position of power —vice governor. He won the elections as predicted and immediately embarked on a campaign to take the governorship for himself as soon as he got the chance, and he did.

Three terms later as a local government official, he had already trained his sights on higher office. The Video Regulatory Board, as chairman, became his training ground, and with the help of the movie media, gave him high approval ratings among the electorate with his unrelenting campaign against movie piracy.

When he finally ran for a seat in the Senate, while other movie stars that also joined the political fray struggled to get past names in the top 12 candidates, Revilla was comfortably coasting in the top six, and even beating veteran showbiz politician Tito Sotto to the finish.

The question now is, will the Bong factor work in the coming presidential race if he is asked to be on board as a running mate to whoever is declared as official presidential candidate?

It is too early to say, but if you ask the gossip girls in coffee shops across the metro they’d say, “Why not?”

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