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Thursday, February 4, 2010

LEOPOLDO SALCEDO IN "THE MOISES PADILLA STORY" (1961): A FILM BY GERRY DE LEON

“Ang bangkay sa aking mga bisig ay hindi katawan ni Moises Padilla kundi ang malamig na bangkay ng ating Inang Bayan.” (“When I carried the body of Moises Padilla in my arms, it was not the body of Padilla but the body of the humble people of my country.”) ---Ramon Magsaysay


"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 Magallon was renamed Moises Padilla in honor of this great man.


26 comments:

TheCoolCanadian said...

Simon:

This film is definitely one of Gerry de Leon's best films, and the most riveting. Leopoldo Salcedo played the part so well, you would think the real event was unraveling before your eyes.

Cesar Amigo's screenplay was well-written, and this film is so timeless, the subject even parallels a recent one, but instead of LACSON, it is AMPATUAN.

This sort of evil is deeply rooted in RP's political milieu. It happened before, it happened again, and will surely happen in the future.

Very sad. We could only wish to make things such as this one – to go away forever, but that would be wishful thinking.

Video 48 said...

I totally agree with you, JM! I can’t imagine that it’s still happening in our midst; the latest- the Maguindanao massacre allegedly perpetrated by the Ampatuans and their private army. Very horrifying and shocking!

Anonymous said...

This does make me think of the Ampatuan case :-(

kevin j said...

is governor rafael lacson,of negros ,related to our senator ping lacson,?

Mark Kevin said...

10th FAMAS Awards Best Actor, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing - truly a great masterpiece of Filipino cinema in which its golden ages are sometimes long forgotten by generations.

The motion picture is still relevant to today's socio-political backdrop. But it gets worse as compared to the incident with Moises Padilla. It also reminds me of the murder of film critic Alexis Tioseco and his girlfriend; I have been visiting his WordPress since then.

Sir Simon, thank you very much for inspiring me further to create a present-day/futuristic adaptation of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which I have been doing since 3rd year high school. I was thinking if my analogue of Father Damaso could be based on the Negros Occidental kingpin in Moises Padilla, with connections to shady business dealings or even mobsters. By the way I will be turning 18 this March 12, and can you post more articles about Gerry de Leon's film adaptations of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, focusing on different characters like Maria Clara, Padre Damaso, Sisa's sons, and Paulita Gomez?

MKDL Studios

Video 48 said...

Mark- I’m glad and grateful that you like and appreciate the works of our great director Gerry de Leon. It’s the intention of this blog to share these Tagalog movie masterpieces to our younger generation like you and make them realize the importance of these movies in our culture and in our lives. Thanks!

Rodolfo Samonte said...

Simon,
Excellent clips. Gerry de Leon assembled the top actors, character-actors and villains to make this believable. Watching these clips, I can't get over the fact that we had some excellent actors. Starting of course with the title role of Leopoldo Salcedo. Then Rosa Aguirre in the role of his mother, Joseph Estrada as the hit-man, and the villains, the actors you love to hate: Jose Garcia as the governor, Joseph de Cordova, Max Alvarado, Martin Marfil, Bino Garcia. Also Robert Arevalo, Alfonso Carvajal, Ben Perez and even Lilia Dizon makes an appearance. Would have liked to see more of Lilia Dizon.It seems to me both Estrada and Rosa Aguirre should have won best-supporting actors here.
And who would have thought that one of the actors in the movie would someday become President of the Philippines?

TheCoolCanadian said...

Rod & Simon:

What's really surprising to me is the understated, but very powerful performances of Rosa Aguirre and Joseph Estrada.

Rosa Aguirre's extremely natural acting is quite heart-rending. The scenes with her and Leopoldo Salcedo define what a true drama should be (as against melodrama that some film directors would fall prey into, forced, artificial, silly phony emotions forcedfully solicited from the audience). Here, the most dramatic moments are never forced. The scenes play naturally and beautifully, that when it hits your heart, it hits really hard.

Joseph Estrada, even in some scenes where he doesn't have to say anything, still conveys what he feels inside: being torn between following the pulse of being a compassionate human to his fellowman; and the material reward he is supposed to amass if he goes all out to follow the evil scheme of Lacson. Effortlessly, Erap shows to us his dilemna through improvisations. I'd say this must be his most brilliant performance in a film.

This film is an amazing showcase of good acting, good direction, and a beautifully-written screenplay by Cesar Amigo.

Isn't Lilia Dizon the mother of Christopher de Leon? She was indeed another heavy duty actress.

There's another one I was lucky enough to cast on an episode of Ulila in the 1970s, the mother of Jay Ilagan, I think her name was Corazon Noble? She was so good, and her acting truly reminded me of the very talented French actress Jeanne Moreau.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

JM,
You're right, the acting, at least in those clips, all come out naturally, no overacting. If there was an actor who was prone to overacting, it was Leopoldo Salcedo, yet in this movie, he played the role just right. In fact, I couldn't see anybody overacting, even Max Alvarado always overacts in his many villainous roles. This was a well-helmed movie by Gerry de Leon, and guided these actors to first-rate performances.

And yes, Lilia Dizon and husband Gil de Leon are the parents of Christopher de Leon and Pinky de Leon.

However, I didn't know Corazon Noble was Jay Ilagan's mother?

An aside: when I was a boy, I used to walk by La Roca Trinidad, Pol Salcedo's huge, ranch-like, compound/home located along a winding road, roughly between Sampaguita Studios and LVN. Not too far away, closer to LVN, was also the home of Lilia Dizon. Years later, Salcedo had to give up La Roca Trinidad when his career went on the downswing.
Rod

TheCoolCanadian said...

Rod:

When I was child in Bicol, Corazon Noble and her son Jay would regularly visit my aunt and uncle in Sorsogon in summer time. Miss Noble was my aunt's friend. I was too young then and my cousins were all older, so I was always left out, and Jay being just a bit older than I was, became my playmate almost every summer because that was the time they would come to Sorsogon (they're also Bicolanos).

That's why when I was able to cast Miss Noble to appear in TV during the 1970s was sort of a reunion, and I was truly surprised how great of an actress she was.

I think Pol Salcedo mentioned to me once that that mansion in QC you were describing was a haunted one ever since. Later, he lived in Cavite.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

JM,
Nakausap mo pala si Pol Salcedo. What kind of person was he? For years, I saw him every Saturday at Taza de Oro on Roxas Blvd, in front of the US Embassy, where we also had our weekly artist's get-together in the big conference room on one side of the restaurant (see picture in Picassa here:http://picasaweb.google.com/rodolfo.samonte/TazaDays#5435565398296376338).
Pol Salcedo and his group would usually be in the main part of the restaurant. I never dared talk to him or bother him, so I'm rather curious now as to what kind of person he was.
Rod

TheCoolCanadian said...

Rod:

In the mid 70s, Pol appeared in several of the TV shows I was the mainstay writer. We became really close that time and he would tell me personal things about his family and friends.

He was always well-dressed, good-mannered, confident, stylish, charming, gregarious, and a very witty conversationalist. At 65, he was still very sharp mentally, and even if I was only 18 years old that time, I felt he was just my age when we would discuss things.

There was also another side to him, and that was being sensitive. In many incidents, I found him quite "introspective" and he tended to reminisce the past and would analyze the right and the wrong choices he had made in his life. But, the most obvious thing that stood out was his wistful desire and/or regret: that he wished he had spent more time with his children when they were young, something he had failed to do.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

JM,
Wow, you were quite a precocious prodigy. Being a established writer of TV shows at 18?
Wait a minute 65 years old is still young. I am 68, will be 69 in Oct, and I hope I'm still mentally sharp, or am I?

BTW, by way of explanation about why I was always in the Sampaguita/LVN area or how I knew the area. My father owned a huge house on Hollywood Street (now Lt. Artiaga) in San Juan, near Sampaguita, a two-storey Spanish with a big compound, yard and kayumito and mango trees. How I got to become a Sampaloc boy is a long story, but in one sentence: my dad traded the house to his brother for 50 hectares in Iloilo, after 5 years in Iloilo we moved back to Manila and since we didn't have a home, we rented. I'd often visit my uncle and the old house.
Rod

TheCoolCanadian said...

Rod:

I started writing komiks scripts at 14, right after high school. At 8 (Grade 4), I really thought I was ready to write movies! He-he. So, I approached Consuelo "Ateng" Osorio at ABS-CBN Studios and applied for a writer's job. She didn't hire me as a writer ("You're a bit too young," she told me), but offered me instead a role in one of her films called BANG-SHANG-A-LANG, which I didn't accept because I had no interest in acting whatsoever. Though after a few years as a teenager, I saw her again, I had to cave in and I played as Walter Navarro's younger brother in an episode of DULAMBUHAY NI ROSAVILMA (Vilma Santos' weekly TV drama) but that was it. At 16, BBC Channel 2 asked me to write Alma Moreno's TV show, Alindog. That's how I started writing scripts for the network.

San Juan is one of my favorite metro Manila areas. That area where your dad's lot was (between San Juan and QC) was the area that was really awesome in those days. The houses there possessed a lot of character, similar to the ones we see in San Miguel, Manila. And the sizes of the lots are humongous. My first cousin who was a medical doctor and much much older than I (maybe 27 years), married Nelda Aquino, the daughter of Congressman Rafael Aquino (originally from the Visayas). The size of the lot of their residence blew me away because it was 5 blocks along Mariposa Street. It had a tennis court, a mini-golf course and the house was palatial and even had an elevator.

Do you still remember the shooting to death of socialite Rose Castillejos in Forbes Park? Well, the suspect was Nelda's younger brother, Rafael Junior (we called him Paeng), who was wooing Castillejos that time and probably was spurned. A body was found in Agusan later, and was identified as that of Paeng. Incidentally, Rafael Aquino's wife, Puring Naldo, was Edith Naldo (Ricketts)'s sister, the mother of actor Ronnie Ricketts.

Your dad's lot in San Juan must have been worth more than that of the Iloilo property in today's RP real estate market. I noticed that in Metro Manila, the prices of real estate properties never go down unlike here in north America. It would have been nice for you to stay there when you go home for a vacation, isn't it? Iloilo is just too far away.

BTW, what happened to the Sampaguita Pictures building? Was it demolished?

Rodolfo Samonte said...

JM,
For years my mom and dad were always fighting about those bad decisions, like giving up that wonderful house. But the Iloilo experience was something I'll also never forget of course, the 50 hectares was in Estancia, Iloilo. My mother donated the land for the Elem School there which was in our property, and where I also went to Grade 1. I was Grade 4 when we went back to Manila. My cousin still owns the place now, whatever was left from land reform and she turned it into a subdivision called Villa Paterna. Apparently there are still vacant lots there, my cousin offered to give me a lot, but it's so darned far even as a vacation place.

For years Ortigas Avenue going towards San Juan from EDSA was a dead end right into the backyard of Sampaguita Pictures. They later had to give it up to make way for the extension of Ortigas. The former Sampaguita is now a highway and probably commercial and condo buildings around.

Yes, that area where Pol's house was, was a beautiful area with huge houses. I wonder what it looks like now.

And sorry to say, I don't remember any of those persons in your story.
Rod

TheCoolCanadian said...

Holy cow! Sampaguita Pictures is now a highway. Unbelieveable.

So nothing's left now of the big 3 film studios. I heard that LVN had its own "jungle" inside its studio compound. I've seen Premier Productions in Caloocan, but even in the 1970s it was almost gone. I guess we can only see them now via old photos, or old posters just like what we see here in Video 48.

Can you imagine if we also have something like the Universal Studios tour in the Philippines?

Rodolfo Samonte said...

what happened to the Sampaguita Pictures building? Was it demolished?

JM,
Actually, Sampaguita Pictures was not one building. It was several buildings with a gated entry, and I guess the size of the compound was around 30-40 acres or bigger as I didn't really see the back where it borders the end of Ortigas. The compound was also located sort of on a slope of a hillside, and once you get in it was like a park, with multi-level gardens, I think there was a fountain and Greek statues, and a winding walkway for visitors. Entry was not allowed unless I guess you had a pass,(I was able to sneak in as the guard was not too strict with little boys, hehehe). The front gate was also where Gilmore Avenue ends. To the right of the compound if you're facing the gate, was the huge residence of Vera-Perez, the owners. On one occasion, they were shooting a movie at the entrance to the Vera-Perez driveway. I don't remember now which movie that was but the scene involved Romeo Vasquez running, and bumps into Amalia Fuentes. It could have been Sino
Ang May Sala? but I don't remember now, but I did watch the movie to see just how that scene appeared on screen. I cannot forget how beautiful Amalia was then.

LVN also had a big compound, but was not as strict, no guards at the entrance, and if I remember correctly you had to walk through a tree-lined street before getting to the main building.

Premiere Production had maybe the worst location, behind some street in Caloocan, and if I remember right, they had one building which looked like a warehouse or a barn of galvanized iron roofing. No entry was allowed, but you'd see the actors hanging around outside. I saw Johnny Monteiro with his group once and also Willie Sotelo.

When the owners of Sampaguita finally relented and allowed the highway to be built, I think all they had to do was move to the side since it was such a big compound. I don't know what happened to Sampaguita the highway was built.

TheCoolCanadian said...

Rod:

Guess what? We used the Sampaguita Studios while filming the rape scene in Bedspacers. For some reason, I didn't explore the place. I thought it was just one building and that was it.

The Premier Productions was indeed in Caloocan and I used to go there with my cousin Butch Sta. Maria, whose ninong was Larry Santiago. You're right. It was quite neglected in the 1970s, but a lot of productions were still shot there, like Kampanerang Kuba with ate Vi.

It is very sad that not even one was left, isn't it. Would have been nice to have a grand tour of these studios where you can have a nostalgic trip of the place and rides like say, the jungles of OG, the hang-out of the LO-WAIST GANG, etc. Sometimes, I tend to believe that the Philippines is such an apathetic, shoulder shrugging, indifferent country when it comes to preserving its heritage. I don't even think the government tries to declare an old building a heritage one like the way they do it here and in Europe.

Amalia Fuentes. I saw here when she's no longer young, during parties at Mother Lily's residence. Watching her old films, it's easy to see that she was indeed very pretty. But, as Shakespeare said in Sonnet 12: "Time destroys beauty"

"Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow"

:)

Rodolfo Samonte said...

JM,
Check this out in Picassa. I just remembered, I had bought a current map (3 years ago) of Metro Manila, and it looks like Sampaguita Studios was ripped through by two streets, the main one being Granada, which connected Ortigas Avenue, and Gilmore Ave (where the main entrance to Sampaguita used to be). The other street is Santolan which I think also ended in the backyard of Sampaguita years ago. Looks like Sampaguita lost (or sold) half of its formerly huge compound, I think those townhomes was part of the studio.

LVN Studios shown at the top of the map, was walking distance, and now I remember it was close to the reservoir. I've also shown where our old house used to be on Lt. Artiaga. My first cousin who took possession sold the property.

http://picasaweb.google.com/rodolfo.samonte/MapOfLVNStudiosSampaguitaPictures#5436355310400633554

Rodolfo Samonte said...

JM,
Forgot to add this. Looks like both Sampaguita and LVN are still there, but I could not find Premiere.

TheCoolCanadian said...

Interesting. Your old residence's location is indeed prime.

Premier is way further from that map.

James DR said...

"I don't remember now which movie that was but the scene involved Romeo Vasquez running, and bumps into Amalia Fuentes. It could have been Sino
Ang May Sala?"

Rod:

I guess, that scene was from the movie "Pretty Boy", the opening scene, where Susan Roces guested as the lady entering a gate and then Romeo Vasquez saw her and Susan smiled at him. Then the next scene, Romeo running and bumps into Amalia.

Rodolfo Samonte said...

James DR,
Thanks for the info. Indeed that must have been the movie - Pretty Boy. I sure would like to see that movie, if it exist.

JM,
I tried to find Premiere in Caloocan, I guess it does not exist anymore...plus I don't even remember where it was close by or any landmark, so hard to find even if it's in the map.
Rod

anthony said...

I just read the facts in the supreme court decision on the case. It is torture in the extreme. This has happened before. It is happening now.

Jien said...

I am glad that those men were sentenced by electric chair. What will happen to the Ampatuans? Will the Maguindanao massacre victims will receive justice? Thumbs up to late president Magsaysay for hurryingly went to the place.

Thanks for sharing this. The events here in this movie are still happening today.

Anonymous said...

i bet that TheCoolCanadian's favorite novel is the Gullible's travels.... ooops Gulliver's Travels pala....hehehe At 8, he really thought he was ready to write movies! So, he approached Consuelo "Ateng" Osorio at ABS-CBN Studios and applied for a writer's job. hehehe.... At 16, BBC Channel 2 asked him to write Alma Moreno's TV show, Alindog....hehehe.. and by the way i'm albert einstein....

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