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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 25, 2022




                                ATTY. FERDIE TOPACIO WITH GERALD SANTOS


‘MAMASAPANO, NOW IT CAN BE TOLD’ is an entry in the December Metro Filmfest. 

It’s a true account of the deadly clash in Maguindanao that killed 44 members of the Special Action Forces (SAF) of the PNP in 2015. 

It’s a secret operation called Oplan Exodus and it aims to get rid of two notorious terrorists, but something went terribly wrong in its execution. 

The film will show what really happened. 

The well researched script is written by Eric Ramos, directed by Lester Dimaranan, produced by the fearless Atty. Ferdinand Topacio for his Borracho Films.  

“Ito ang pinakamahirap na script na sinulat ko kasi hindi ka puedeng basta mag-imbento and we had to do a lot of research,” says Eric Ramos. 

“The primary source of the movie is the report made by the PNP Board of Inquiry led by Gen. Benjamin Magalong, which is very thorough. 

"The movie is a war movie as it shows yung pakikipaglaban ng PNP sa terrorists, and also a procedural as it goes to establish who’s really culpable sa mga nangyari.” 

Atty. Topacio says the movie sticks to facts and this is not fiction. 

“We didn’t do it to put anyone in a bad light. We just want the truth to come out. 

"The only fictionalized characters here are those played by Ritz Azul and Myrtle Sarrosa as news reporters from rival networks. 

"They help in forwarding the narrative. It was a long hard battle for this movie kasi we entered it in 2020 as a script and it was rejected. 

"But now, we thank the MMFF committee as it is an official entry in the coming December filmfest.” 

To make the movie a good watch for viewers, Eric Ramos anchors it on three major characters.

“The movie has a very big cast kasi sa SAF pa lang, 44 na sila. 

"But the top members of the cast are Edu Manzano as Gen. Magalong, Paolo Gumabao as Supt. Raymond Train na head ng Seaborn Company, the main assault team, and Aljur Abrenica as Lt. Franco, ang intelligence officer ng grupo.  

"Sa roles nina Gen. Alan Purisima and Gen. Getulio Napenas who were assigned by Pres. Noynoy Aquino to handle the operation, we have Rez Cortez and Allan Paule.”

Also in the cast are Claudine Barretto as the widowed wife of one of the SAF cops, Gerald Santos as Sgt. Christopher Lalan (the only SAF survivor), Juan Rodrigo as Sec. Mar Roxas and Jervic Cajarop as Pres. Aquino.  

Gerald Santos says shooting the film during the height of the pandemic was a real challenge for all of them.   

“It’s a war movie so we had to do a lot of action scenes,” he says. 

“Ang hirap gawin physically kasi gumulong kami sa putikan, we go through the jungle, nakabilad kami sa maisan habang nakatirik ang araw, maraming takbuhan at habulan. 

"But in the end, it’s all very fulfilling. After we watched the movie when it was premiered in Baguio City, lahat ng nakapanood was raving about kung gaano ito kaganda so I’m really proud to be part of this movie.”  

Eric Ramos says the movie will tell it as it is.

“It will show what really happened on that fateful day of January 25, 2015. 

"The mission by the PNP to get terrorists Marwan and Usman is top secret. 

"Pres. Aquino knows Gen. Purisima has been suspended by the Ombudsman kasi may kaso siya, but he still appointed Purisima kasi bodyguard niya ito dati and he wants to help redeem him. 

"They thought it’d be an easy mission as Pres. Aquino was then already in Zamboanga and just waiting for word na the mission is a success so he can go to Maguindanao. 

"But at 5 AM, he was already informed that naipit yung mga pulis. Napatay nila si Marwan but nakatakas si Usman at napaligiran sila ng Muslim terrorists. 

"The problem is getting out of there. But hindi pa agad nagpadala ng military rescue team to help save the cops, kasi nga top secret ang mission, until it’s too late at napatay na yung 44 PNP police commandos.”