Former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr., the popular action star whose fame propelled him to the Senate of the Philippines, died of heart failure on Friday. He was 93.
In a brief Facebook live video by his son, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. announced the passing of his father and namesake, who had been bedridden for 12 years after surviving a stroke in 2008.
“My father is now gone. Please pray for him,” Revilla said in between sobs.
The wailing of other grieving family members could also be heard in the video as they gathered around what appeared to be a hospital bed where the elder Revilla was lying.
“After 93 full years, our father, former Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr., succumbed to heart failure at 5:20 this afternoon. He is now free from physical pain and is in the loving arms of our Creator,” the senator said in a separate statement.
Customs intel officer
“Thank you very much for the love and prayers as we ask for continuous prayers for the eternal repose of his soul,” he added.
The older Revilla, who was rushed to the hospital two weeks ago after complaining of difficulty in breathing, was the third former senator to pass away this year. Heherson Alvarez died at the age of 80 on April 20 due to COVID-19, while Tessie Aquino-Oreta, who would have celebrated her 76th birthday on Sunday, passed away on May 14.
Born Jose Acuña Bautista in Imus, Cavite province, the older Revilla was a senior intelligence officer at the Bureau of Customs from 1965 to 1972. The unit he led was the precursor of the present Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service.
In 1972, however, he left government service and entered show business via the hit action movie “Nardong Putik: Kilabot ng Cavite,” a bioflick of a notorious gangster who claimed to have repeatedly eluded arrest because of a magical amulet. Nardong Putik was gunned down in a police dragnet.
Revilla, who came to be known by the nickname “Agimat” (amulet), then acted in, wrote and directed several other box office hits through his own movie production company, Imus Productions, whose management was later passed on to his children, including the incumbent senator.
In 1992, he was elected to the Senate and authored several laws, including the Public Works Act of 1995 (Republic Act No. 8150), amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, the Children’s Media Act (Republic Act No. 8370), and amendments to gun laws, among others.