Rizal Alih sues Carlo J, wife over ‘beheading’ scene in 1991 film
Detained former policeman Rizal Alih is suing two filmmakers for a 1991 film which he said wrongly depicted him as having beheaded a ranking police official in the late 1980s.
Alih yesterday filed a libel complaints against Carlo J. Caparas and his wife Donna Villa, saying the film they made purportedly based on his life maliciously portrayed him as a murderer.
The renegade lawman explained that he learned of the movie “Arrest Patrolman Alih: Zamboanga Massacre” only last year when the policeman guarding his cell told him about it. He has been detained in Camp Crame since 2006.
He said the policeman later lent him a laptop so he could finally see the movie on Youtube. “I was indeed so shocked, speechless and angry that I was not able to finish watching the entire film,” he said in his complaint.
Alih is facing charges in connection with the 1989 siege of Camp Cawa-Cawa in Zamboanga City, which left a number of his supporters and two top police officials dead.
In his complaint filed through lawyer Fernando Pena in the Quezon City prosecutors’ office, Alih, 67, said the movie depicted him as having beheaded Gen. Eduardo Batalla during the siege.
“The portrayal that I allegedly beheaded Batalla in the movie was utterly baseless, malicious and a downright lie perpetrated in order to make the movie such a big hit and to make a huge profit at the expense of maligning my name and reputation,” he argued.
“I was likewise informed that the said film … became a blockbuster movie,” Alih said in his affidavit.
“The only way we can rewrite history is file this case in hopes of rectifying a decades-long error,” Pena told reporters in an interview.
Pena also maintained that the prescription period for filing a libel complaint is one year from the time the offense was discovered by the complainant, and not from the time of publication or release of the questioned material.
Asked why Alih filed the case only now, the lawyer said his client went into hiding in Malaysia for a long time and had no access to traditional media. He said the government even declared Alih dead at one point.
The movie had a star-studded cast that included veteran actors like Ramon Revilla Sr. as Rizal Alih, with Eddie Garcia portraying Batalla. Vilma Santos played Alih’s wife.
Alih claimed that Caparas and Villa never sought his consent for the movie.
Reached on the phone, Villa deferred comment pending receipt of Alih’s complaint. With a report from Bayani San Diego
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