SAF 44 movie launched to mark Mamasapano clash 5th anniversary

SAF 44 movie launched to mark Mamasapano clash 5th anniversary
Myrtle Sarrosa, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, scriptwriter Eric Ramos, mothers of the slain SAF officers and the other people behind '26 Hours: Escape from Mamasapano.'
Allan Sancon

MANILA, Philippines — Grief was etched all over the faces of three mothers who appealed for justice, five years after their respective sons – members of the Special Action Force (SAF) – died in a police operation that killed terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir (alias Marwan) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

“Nothing has changed. We’re still hurting,” Catalina Nacino, one of the mothers, said at the recent press conference lawyer Ferdinand “Ferdie” Topacio hosted to announce the filming of “26  Hours: Escape from Mamasapano.” 

Julie Danao, another mother, tearfully revealed that she hasn’t returned to the US since her son died because she’s still waiting for elusive justice.

She, along with fellow grieving moms, approached Topacio right after the incident occurred to seek legal redress for their sons’ sudden death. Topacio not only filed a case on 44 counts of Reckless Impudence Resulting to Homicide against former president Benigno Aquino III, former generals Alan Purisima and Getulio Napenas, in behalf of the mothers.

Believing in the power of cinema to bring messages across, Topacio also decided to come up with his first film as producer.  

Topacio instructed scriptwriter Eric Ramos to base the movie’s story only on Senate and the Philippine National Police’s (PNP)  Board of Inquiry reports to erase doubts that the film is propaganda material.

“Those who testified were under oath,” Topacio noted.

He also pointed out that he didn’t do the movie to influence the pending case. He also did it to make Filipinos remember the SAF 44’s sacrifices for the country.

“Pinoy Big Brother” Teen Edition 4 Big Winner Myrtle Sarrosa will play a junior reporter assigned to cover the case. Edu Manzano and Ritz Azul are her co-stars. Volunteers have signed up to play various roles in the movie.

Topacio chose Myrtle for her social consciousness which “goes beyond giving relief goods” to victims of injustice.  

According to Topacio, SAF commanding officer General Amando Empiso and Baguio city mayor, former general Benjamin Magalong, who investigated the incident with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, have expressed support for the movie.

The movie coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Mamasapano clash, which took place last January 25, 2015 in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Forty-four SAF members died during the operation that aimed to kill or capture the Malaysian terrorist Marwan.



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