MANILA - On the eve of the promulgation of former senator Bong Revilla's plunder case, his daughter Gianna thanked his supporters who held a vigil at the family compound in Bacoor, Cavite on Thursday night.
Revilla's supporters had just finished a Mass also attended by Gianna and her aunt, Bacoor councilor Rowena Bautista-Mendiola.
Gianna said the rest of their family was already resting, preparing for the big day.
Her brother, Cavite vice governor Jolo Revilla, was ill.
But Bong Revilla's fourth child with Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla said all of them, including Revilla's siblings, would be present when the Sandiganbayan delivers its verdict on a case that has put him in detention for 4 years.
"Full-on support for papa," Gianna, 23, described it.
"We're having a hopeful heart. We're all hoping na makakalabas na si Papa tomorrow."
Bong Revilla faces a P224.5 million case involving the use of his Priority Development Assistance Fund, which was allegedly placed in bogus groups connected to so-called "pork barrel scam queen" Janet Napoles.
Still, for Gianna, the years her father spent detained was a "blessing in disguise" for their family.
"At first talaga, when papa got in [Camp] Crame, in the detention cell, it was really hard for the family, but in time, with God's grace, talagang everyone got together," she said.
"We even became more closer [sic] and the family became stronger and we became united as one. I would consider that a blessing in disguise as well."
She said she was praying for her father to be home for Christmas.
Gianna described Bong Revilla as emotional but hopeful when they last met on Sunday, when she last visited him.
"Of course he was positive, na naiiyak, kasi it's been so long, it's been 4 years, come on. Like if ever it's tomorrow na, talagang everyone's gonna be filled with joy," she said.
Revilla's supporters are hoping that the testimony of witness Marina Sula that she saw whistleblower Benhur Luy forge Revilla's signature in documents would help deliver a "not guilty" verdict.
But for former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the evidence they presented to the anti-graft court would lead to a conviction.
Revilla's family chooses to stay optimistic, Gianna said.
Ten of them would be inside the courtroom during the verdict, she said.
"We keep our head up high and we hope for the best talaga kasi we know God's plan for papa is just big and greater, even greater than before. And I know papa's gonna soar up high," she said.
Revilla is running again for the Senate in the 2019 midterm elections.
Should Revilla be acquitted and allowed to go home, his daughter says they plan to go to church first.
He would then visit his father, former senator Ramon Revilla Sr., and the grave of his mother, Azucena Mortel-Bautista.
"Kasi siguro na-miss na niya ang family niya. I believe yun talaga ang gusto ni Papa and 'yun yung nasa heart niya, to visit Daddy (Revilla Sr.) and thank God," Gianna said.