Duterte amused by film portrayal in Bato dela Rosa biopic
Seeing himself portrayed on the big screen, mannerisms and all, brought a smile to President Rodrigo Duterte’s face when he attended the premiere of the biopic of former Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa.
“He was surprised that the actor looked like him … He was really pleased. I was seated beside him and he was laughing,” said Dela Rosa, whose life story was screened on Tuesday night in a commercial theater.
Veteran actor Efren Reyes Jr. portrayed the President when he was still Davao City mayor, with Dela Rosa then a young police officer in the President’s turf.
Action star Robin Padilla played the lead role in the movie “Bato: The Gen. Ronald dela Rosa Story.”
The audience erupted into chuckles when Reyes made his first appearance in a scene depicting the 1989 hostage crisis at the Davao Penal Colony.
The incident became controversial when the President joked in one of his campaign speeches about the Australian missionary raped and killed in the riot.
Reyes copied the President’s mannerisms, such as his habit of pressing his fingers to his forehead and his signature cursing.
“[The President] said the movie was good, and said ‘congratulations,’” Dela Rosa said of the movie that showed his rise from being a fresh graduate of the Philippine Military Academy to his appointment as Philippine National Police chief when Mr. Duterte became Chief Executive in 2016.
The President was a “major influence” in his life and career, said Dela Rosa, who is running for senator in the May elections.
Although the movie was released two weeks before the start of the campaign period, Mr. Duterte defended its timing. It was “a tribute to an officer and a soldier of the Republic of the Philippines … [who] has the balls and the heart,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned that cinema owners could face jail time of up to six years should they continue to screen Dela Rosa’s biopic after the start of the official campaign period on Feb. 12.
“[The cinema owners] already know this but we’ll send them copies of the resolution highlighting the provision that prohibits the showing of any cinematographic works from the start of the campaign period,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters.
Republic Act No. 9006, or the Fair Election Act, prohibits the showing of any movie, cinematography or documentary depicting the life or biography of a candidate during the campaign period. Aside from a prison term, violators may be stripped of their right to vote and disqualified from holding public office.
Jimenez acknowledged that while “premature campaigning [has been] happening, it cannot be prohibited for now because the campaign period has yet to start.”
The Comelec is expected to come out in the coming days with a resolution listing the regulations that candidates must follow during the campaign period.
For now, all candidates are expected to have posters not bigger than 61 centimeters x 91 cm, which should only be placed in common posting areas to be determined by the local Comelec office.
Candidates running with a political party are allowed to spend P3 per voter, while those running independently can spend up to P5.
Their expenses, as well as donations they receive, must be reported, including those spent on social media.
They may be charged with election offenses if they do not take down posters and billboard ads in the next two weeks, regardless of whether these have been put up by other parties, Jimenez said.
In the case of government posters where President Duterte is joined by a candidate, the poll body’s spokesperson said the rule of thumb would be to check “if, taken as a whole, [the material] promotes a social advocacy, or if the primary purpose is to endorse a candidate. Then it becomes [subject to regulation].”
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