Tel Aviv, Israel – As the Office of the Philippine Ombudsman prepared to indict three senators for their alleged role in the 10 Billion-peso pork barrel scam, most Filipinos went about their usual traditional Lenten season rituals – fasting, abstaining from meat, visiting churches, praying the rosary, going through the stations of the cross (via crucis) and giving alms to the poor. There is much anticipation for Easter Sunday, which Catholics know to be the day that Jesus Christ resurrected following his death on the Cross.
The three senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla – are about to face plunder and graft charges for allegedly pocketing their pork barrel funds in an elaborate scheme supposedly masterminded by businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles who is now in detention.
Senator Revilla is on a different level of Lenten tradition, one that low to medium-income people don’t usually get the chance to experience. Revilla, his wife and children, are in the Holy Land on a religious pilgrimage to what is believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.
In a skype call with Revilla’s wife, Cavite Representative Lani Mercado-Revilla, she indicated that immediately upon their arrival in Jerusalem, she saw a transformation with the Senator. “His physical appearance and demeanor totally changed. He seemed like he was at peace, like he just came out of the confessional box. In fact, throughout our flight from Manila to Tel Aviv, Bong was very calm and kept on listening to a video recording of “My Way,” sung by Rose Fostanes, the Filipina caregiver and winner of the first “X Factor Israel.”
Mrs.Revilla denied that the family was planning to seek political asylum in Israel, adding: “when we return to the Philippines after the pilgrimage, Bong will make an important announcement.” She didn’t say whether that announcement would be “guilty” or “not guilty.”
Meanwhile, Senators Enrile and Estrada, appear to be observing the Lenten season in solitary confinement in their respective mansions, perhaps praying for divine intervention.