BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz - The Philippine Star

If you are not a social media follower, then you may not be aware that the biggest news now are the movies “Katips” and “Maid in Malacañang.” I have not seen either movie since I am still avoiding going to movie theaters. Fortunately, I received a very interesting commentary on the movie “Katips” from two of my regular readers. I felt that these are worth sharing with my readers:

“I am no moviegoer, but I had to catch the very first show of ‘Katips’ on the very first day for fear that it would have a very short-lived run for various reasons. I also decided to have my household help join me as a treat and for their reeducation and enlightenment.

“It is a timely movie on a dark period of our history. What better way to retell the story of martial law except through song for today’s generation? I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for director/actor/singer/songwriter Vince Tañada for his courage and daring to produce this film using his own limited resources.

“I hated the torture scenes (“ang karahasan” is what my companions remembered with disgust but delighted in the love stories) but such abuses were part and parcel of the unlamented period – reminded me of what Pete Lacaba and the late Obet Verzola endured during detention.

“What I found most memorable was the scene showing the four pairs of lovers echoing the last word spoken by one frame, spilling into another.  The song ‘Sa Gitna ng Gulo’ continues to haunt me, thank you to Pipo Cifra. ‘Katips’ as movie title is clever, taking off from Katipunan the place and Katipuneros as committed and patriotic citizens. It is so today, lingo-wise, and will certainly be part now of our everyday vocabulary.

“A movie not to be missed! It served its purpose in introducing the unlamented era to the youth. Certainly not the last movie on martial law period, which was far from a ‘golden age’.”

A thoughtful viewer says the movie succeeded in its intent: “Seeing the turnout and reaction of the millennials going to watch the film, in pink tops & maong pants or shorts, clapping at the end and screaming the pink campaign chant, the film does what it intended to do. And yes, for his timing, courage, commitment and passion in showing the movie when it did.”

One controversy regarding the two movies was a report that tickets were being bought for “Maid in Malacanang” which the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce explained that it was because proceeds from the sale of movie tickets were going to be given to charitable projects.

ABS-CBN broadcast journalist Karmina Constantino-Torres asked “Katips” director Vince Tañada whether the tickets sold for his movie were bought by individuals or bought in bulk to be given away for free. Tañada replied that they do not have that kind of money and tickets were bought by people going to the movie theater.

Another controversy is a scene from the same movie showing Cory Aquino playing mahjong with the Carmelite nuns in Cebu the night she sought refuge there. This was vehemently denied by several people, including eldest Aquino daughter, Ballsy Aquino Cruz: “Mom NEVER PLAYED MAHJONG during EDSA – I can’t imagine how she could have – and her presidency.

“Mom didn’t play mahjong after her mother passed away in 1985. She and her sisters played with their mother who had lost her hearing, to entertain her.

“I would think, even before 1985, they had stopped playing mahjong.”

A columnist always welcomes reader feedback. In response to my column on President Cory Aquino’s last SONA, these letters came in:

Dear Mr. Cruz,

Thank you for reprinting Pres. Cory’s last SONA. It brought back memories of her life as President of our country.

My name is Restie De Ocampo, an 84 year-old ‘semi-retired’ anesthesiologist from Tarlac. I happened to be the anesthesiologist at the St. Martin De Porres Hospital at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

We still miss the late President who became our friend after her presidency. There is a part of our home where we keep memorabilia of all that’s ‘yellow.’ In other words, we are proudly ‘dilawan.’

“Her last SONA showed what she has always been – a very decent, hardworking, intelligent, sincere and prayerful woman. ‘She honestly did her best.’

“And yet today, the political climate has changed. Some even vilify her. To us, she was and will always be that kind and sincere president who was loyal to her friends.

I still remember what Teddy Boy Locsin said in his eulogy: that President Cory ‘ENOBLED’ everyone she met, including us.

“Thank you for allowing us to remember a president who honestly did her best.

“It was a joy to read your column. Thank you.


Restie De Ocampo”

*      *      *

Dear Elfren, that Cory’s last SONA cast a spell over all gov’t officials to ideally adopt and follow dutifully in their heart and mind to perform well in their job of governance. Sincerity, dedication and compassion to work for the people, not for the self. May all gov’t officials read your column and learn by heart and do their jobs in solemn spirit of really serving the people.

With best regards, in friendship, Gody Bamba.”

*      *      *

Email: [email protected]


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