"The Moises Padilla Story" (1961)- Stars Leopoldo Salcedo, Lilia Dizon, Joseph Estrada, Ben Perez, Oscar Roncal, Rosa Aguirre, Max Alvarado, Jose Garcia, Martin Marfil, Joseph de Cordova and Robert Arevalo/ Directed by Gerry de Leon
Based on actual events, The Moises Padilla Story tells of a man’s gallant stand, courage and struggle to fight an oligarchic governor who commands a private army to enforce his repressions of freedom.
Moises Padilla (played by Leopoldo Salcedo in an award-winning performance), a man of principle, was a witness and himself a victim of many atrocities committed by the governor and his men. No one dared to challenge Governor Rafael Lacson, the undisputed kingpin of Negros Occidental who was surrounded by his well-armed private army. Not until an unknown named Moises Padilla who decided to run for mayor of Magallon, a small town in Negros Occidental. Lacson sent word to Padilla to drop out of the race. Instead, Padilla, a guerilla fighter during the war, appealed to Ramon Magsaysay, then Defense Secretary, for protection. He was provided with only one but later recalled on order of the governor who had control of the police and the military (see film clip 1).
Padilla can not be intimidated but one night Lacson’s men picked him up. He was beaten and tortured and his disfigured body displayed publicly. Informed of what happened, Magsaysay hurriedly went to Negros Occidental. He found Padilla’s body, broken, dripping with blood and riddled with 14 bullets in the back (see film clip 2).
The movie was nominated in the Famas for Best Picture, Best Director (Gerry de Leon); Best Supporting Actress (Rosa Aguirre) and won three awards for Best Actor (Leopoldo Salcedo); Best Screenplay (Cesar Amigo) and Best Editing (Teofilo de Leon).
Aftermath (from the Time Magazine/ 1954)
Magsaysay's men uncovered enough evidence to indict Lacson and his 26 henchmen for murder. The trial began in January 1952. But for one reason or another, during Quirino's presidency, it was frequently interrupted (during one interlude, Lacson was convicted of raping his housemaid and sentenced to eight years). After a long trial, Judge Eduardo Enriquez rendered his verdict--- Death in the electric chair for the 22 defendants, including three mayors, three police chiefs and Lacson.
The town of