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Cavite face-off between Bong Revilla and police

May 13, 2013 5:17am

(Updated 5:01 p.m.) In Cavite on Monday, it was politics imitating the movies, as SWAT team members positioned themselves outside the home of action star Bong Revilla, who is also a sitting senator with a wife and son running for office.

The SWAT team was there to back up policemen wielding a warrant to search vehicles near Revilla's home for illegal firearms.

Late afternoon on Monday, the police were finally able to search the vehicles, reportedly belonging to the NBI, and found four firearms, two AK-47 and two Armalites. Two of the rifles did not have exemption documents from the Comelec.

Revilla had claimed early Monday morning that police units were harassing him and his wife, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, at their home in Bacoor, Cavite.

According to a report aired during GMA 7's Eleksyon 2013 broadcast, Revilla said several police units, including a Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) and a SWAT team, were in battle positions behind his home in Justinville Subdivision.



But according to Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo, spokesman for the Philippine National Police (PNP), the policemen went there after receiving reports that armed men were seen in the area.

“Instead of complying, they (armed men) bluffed and castigated the troops and declared that they are there because Senator Revilla requested them,” Cerbo said in a statement.

Cerbo said Cavite RPSB, led by its provincial director Senior Superintendent Alexander Rafael, filed for search warrants to enter Revilla’s compound and vehicles.

According to Cavite police, several rifles were seen inside the motor vehicles.

NBI

Revilla described the armed men as “confidential” NBI agents who were deployed to his home after he sought assistance from the agency against the alleged police harassment. He said the policemen arrested the NBI men for allegedly violating the election gun ban.

"Humingi na kami ng tulong sa NBI para matignan at i-check kung ano ang nangyayari sa paligid, para sitahin ang pulis na nananakot sa gilid ng bahay namin," Revilla said. "[Pero] ang NBI na 'yun mismo ang inaresto nila kaya wala na kaming takbuhan."

The senator accused members of the regional and provincial police of turning a blind eye on their grievances.

"Ang PNP Bacoor at provincial, nagbibingi-bingihan kahit sa Region 4-A (Calabarzon)," he said in an interview with GMA News.

"Non-partisan"

Cerbo insisted that members of the PNP are non-partisan.

"Ang PNP kami ay inutusang manatiling dedicated at committed. Sila ay pinagbabawalan na gumalaw at magsalita ng political. Hindi sila maaaring maging partisan lalo na sa araw na ito," Cerbo said in a separate interview on GMA News.

He said charges of violation of the election gun ban are already being prepared against the armed men.

"Nag-file ng search warrant para mahalughog ng legal ang limang sasakyan na sa ngayon ay hinihintay natin ang magiging resulta ng finile na search warrant," Cerbo said.

Revilla denied the police's accusations. "Wala dito ang baril na hinahanap nila," he said. A few hours later, the police found the four firearms.

“Kabayan Riders”

Revilla said the police accused his team of supporters, called "Kabayan Riders," of being members of his private army. "Goons daw namin iyon. Iyon nga ang ginagamit namin para magtaboy ng mga bumibili ng boto, tapos sasabihin nila iyon daw private army namin," he said.

Asked who he thinks could be behind the mobilization of the police, Revilla said: "Maliwanag pa ho sa sikat ng araw kung sino ang tumatakbo sa lalawigan. Araw ngayon ng eleksyon. Bakit nagkakaroon ng ganito?"

Running for congresswoman of Cavite's second district, Revilla's wife, Lani, is up against Liberal Party's JBC Castillo and independent candidate Bong Ber Ado. Their son, Ramon Jolo Revilla, is running for vice governor against LP's Ronald Jay Lacson, son of Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and independent candidate Recto Cantimbuhan.

Revilla said his camp will not back down on the alleged "harassment."

"Wala kaming kinatatakutan dahil wala kaming kasalanan... Hindi po natutulog ang Diyos. Bahala na ang Diyos sa kanila."

Revilla said his entire family is currently inside their residence, including his wife, his father, former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr., as well as their children. — Mark Merueñas/ Rouchelle Dinglasan/ DVM/KBK/HS, GMA News
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