Senator Bong Revilla urges lifting of ‘Showtime’ suspension on humanitarian grounds

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. has appealed to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to reconsider the Movie Television Review and Classification Board’s decision junking the bid of “It’s Showtime” to lift the suspension on the variety show, saying this prevented numerous workers from making a living.

The MTRCB denied the motions for reconsideration filed by GMA Network Inc. and ABS-CBN Corporation for “It’s Showtime” which was suspended due to a segment in which hosts Ryan Bang, Vice Ganda, and Ion Perez allegedly acted indecently or inappropriately in the presence of children.

“Without getting into the merits of the case, the MTRCB should be able to consider the welfare of all the staff and crew [working in the show] who had nothing to do with the cited reason why the show was suspended,” Revilla said in a statement on the Senate website.

“These are the workers who are under a ‘no work, no pay’ scheme. If the suspension pushes through, they won’t have the means to earn a living and put food on the table,” Revilla added.

Revilla, who is Jose Mari Bautista Jr. in real life (his father, the late Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr. was Jose Acuna Bautista in real life), said both GMA and ABS-CBN could file an appeal with the Office of the President within 15 days, and that humanitarian considerations could be applied to the appeal.

“I think lessons have been learned,” Revilla said.

“If a mistake was made, one person’s sin is not the sin of another. I hope we don’t punish those working hard day-in, day-out just to eke out a living,” Revilla added.

Revilla he believes the two networks will appeal with the OP within the allowed 15-day period, and is confident that once it is reviewed, humanitarian considerations should be given importance.

“I think lessons have been learned,” the lawmaker expressed. “Kung nagkaroon man ng pagkakamali, ang kasalanan ni Juan ay hindi kasalanan ni Pedro. So I hope we don’t punish those working hard day in-day out just to eke out a living,” Revilla ended.

Earlier, Sen. Revilla Jr. celebrated his 57th birthday and 50th anniversary in show business at a star-studded event at the Okada Manila grand ballroom.

Politicians, businessmen, showbiz stars and celebrities joined the  celebration dubbed Idol Ko si Bong, GMA News, ABS-CBN and other Manila media reported.

Revilla’s children — from the eldest Brian, Jolo and his wife, Ina and her husband — celebrated with him, as well as his grandson Gab and his sister Andrea Andeng Ynares.

Showbiz personalities who graced Idol Ko si Bong included Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales, Tirso Cruz III and Lyn Ynchausti, Dawn Zulueta and Anton Lagdameo, Dodot Jaworski and Mikee Cojuangco, Ronnie and Mariz Ricketts, Bayani and Lenlen Agbayani, Federico Moreno and Harlene Bautista.

Also in attendance were Maricel Soriano, Jackielou Blanco, Alma Moreno, Iza Calzado, Gladys Reyes, Jimmy Santos, Sunshine Cruz, Jean Garcia, Ara Mina, Gardo Versoza, Roi Vinzon, Niño Muhlach, Long Mejia, Jillian Ward, Beauty Gonzalez and TV executives Annette Gozon, Cory Vidanes, Carlo Katigbak.

Senators Robin Padilla, Manuel Lito Lapid, Maria Imelda Imee Marcos, Mary Grace Poe, former Senator Manny Pacquiao, Senators Miguel Zubiri, JV Ejercito and Mark Villar were also around.

The 50th anniversary TV special of Bong will be aired on GMA 7 on Oct. 7.

 Dapper in a white suit worn over black pants, Sen. Bong tirelessly went from one table to another, from one end of the ballroom to another, greeting all his guests who joined the occasion that night, reported Leah Salterio.

“I’m so blessed,” Bong said. “The Lord gave me everything. After what happened to me, my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions — up and down and up.”

“As long as everything is okay, my family is healthy, however I can help the unfortunate others that they can feel it, I will do it. My wish is that God continue to give me courage and wisdom so I can continue to do my duties,” he added.

The senator’s wife, Lani Mercado, has no other wish for her husband but to see his personal wish come true.

“It’s so hard to make a wish for him,” Lani said. “I just want to see his personal wish fulfilled.

“Of course, I also want to see local cinema prosper again. I know it’s so hard to do that at this point because movies are not the priority of Filipinos lately. The prices of all the commodities are so high, watching movies is not their priority. I pray that we can renew that interest to watch movies again,” she said as quoted by Leah Salterio.

Bong, who is Jose Bautista Jr. in  real life, added, “Let’s push for the showbiz industry — film and television — to be alive again. I want to see that happen.”

For his golden anniversary in show business, the veteran action star said he is content to still be around doing projects on TV and even on the big screen.

“I cannot ask for anything more now that I will celebrate my 50 years in showbiz,” he said. “I’m really thankful to the Lord for all the blessings that He gave me and my family. I’m thankful to all those who believed in me through the years.”

The sit-down dinner consisted of seared sesame crusted Ahi tuna with vegetable salad oriental dressing, cream of artichoke for soup and wild mushroom cream of angel hair pasta.

After a mid-course of lemon raspberry sherbet, came the main course of grilled beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables, capped by chocolate fudge cake.

Bong was only seven years old when he was first exposed to the glitz and glamor of show business.

He initially played bit roles in the action films of his late dad, Sen. Ramon Revilla Sr. The first was Armando Herrera’s Hulihin si Tiagong Akyat (1973).

“I had a very short role then,” Bong earlier said. “It was really my dad who involved us in the production of his films.”

Acting is in his blood, according to Bong. More than public service which came much later, showbiz was really his first love. He did not aspire to be in politics. That came much later.

When he became a teenager, Bong started making his own name in the entertainment industry. He starred in the film, Bianong Bulag, where he played the young lead. The film was topbilled and directed by his late father.

Bong was 17 years old when his dad introduced him to veteran talent manager Lolit Solis and entrusted his career to her. He has been managed by Lolit for four decades.

It was in 1983 when father and son worked in the memorable action-drama, Dugong Buhay, megged by Carlo J. Caparas.

“My dad was really my mentor,” Sen. Bong admitted. “Not just in making movies. He was the one who molded me into becoming an actor.” (with Jennifer True Santos)