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Lim hands out 'pirated' DVD of biopic

Patricia Evangelista
Posted on 05/02/2013 2:34 PM  | Updated 05/04/2013 4:30 PM

The Mayor of Manila in his office. Photo by Rappler/Patricia EvangelistaThe Mayor of Manila in his office. Photo by Rappler/Patricia Evangelista

MANILA, Philippines - Dirty Harry may have gotten his hands dirty, innocently or otherwise. What appears to be a pirated copy of his atest film, "Alfredo S. Lim: The Untold Story," was released to media from the mayor's own hands.

The film, produced by Cesar Montano's CM Films, was screened in theaters in February 2013. However, in the printed credits of the film, or at least the copy offered by the mayor, “Alfredo S. Lim: The Untold Story” is presented by Star Cinema, in association with ABS-CBN Movie Productions and was produced by Charo Santos Concio, the current president of the mammoth broadcasting network.

It is an odd set of producers, granted that the film was distributed—according to Cesar Montano during the premiere—by Wilson Cheng of Solar Entertainment, an ABS-CBN competitor.

The copy of “Alfredo S. Lim: The Untold Story” is also packaged in much the same manner as many of the pirated blockbuster DVD’s hawked to Manila's pedestrians. The disc is stamped with the face of Cesar Montano, slipped inside a folded sheet of paper printed with a blurred version of what appears to be the film’s poster in front. There is no case, only a disposable plastic envelope.

A critique of the movie—“Two Thumbs Up!”—is printed on the back and credited to “Ebert and Reoper,” a misspelling perhaps referring to popular film critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper. Ebert died in April 2013, making it possible, although improbable, for the pundit to review the film in partnership with Roeper.

The credits also claim the film to be a “Sci-fi original movie.” The website listed on the credits does not exist, the title of the film is misspelled in the back—“The Untold Sory”—and the film claims to have been released by Sony Pictures in 2008. There are also two indicated audience classifications that are contradicting, "R" and PG-13.

The mayor's chief of staff Ric de Guzman denies there is any possibility the DVD was pirated.

"How can those CDs be pirated when it was the producer himself who gave them to the mayor?" He explained that "the one who printed the cover merely made a mistake pina-recall na ni Cesar [Montano] mga cover. Kaso nung humingiung Rappler ng kopya dpa napapakuha ni Cesar yung cover." The "mere mistake" included the use of a number of false houses and what may be a falsified review.

The mayor personally handed the DVD to Rappler on Tuesday afternoon, April 30, inside his own office in the Manila City Hall. As of publication, Rappler is still attempting a statement from producer Montano.

Mayor Lim is known for joining Optical Media Board teams to raid Manila vendors of pirated DVDs.

Asiong is a criminal

The biopic, the fourth in a series, claims to be the story of Lim's early days in the local police force.

In a February article by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Montano preempted criticism that the movie was a propaganda film aimed at the May elections.

“We are very proud of our movie," he says. "There was a conscious effort on the part of everyone involved in the production to come up with a film that tells a beautiful story. When you watch the movie, there is no propaganda involved. We are hoping you will see what we saw — an extraordinary individual, a hero in his own right, that aims to inspire and teach by just being himself."

Lim is defending his seat as mayor of Manila, against opponent former President Joseph Estrada.

Estrada may be a popular actor, says Lim, but that may not be an advantage. “The character he depicts, Asiong Salonga, is a notorious criminal from Tondo.”

Estrada is celebrated for his role as the Tondo gangster who plays Robin Hood to the impoverished of Manila. The first film was released in 1961, with two others following after the first, both starring Estrada. (Read: When Dirty Harry meets Asiong Salonga)

"Why do these people continue making films about gangsters and hoodlums? They should make films of the lives of heroes of the nation. Like Andres Bonifacio, or Jose Rizal, or General Emilio Aguinaldo—all our heroes, so that they will become role models of the youth, of the citizenry," says Lim.

Cherished values

A film must be about a hero’s life, says Lim, so that the young will be inspired. It is training during youth that teaches a man “cherished values and treasured traits.”

Lim's film--"Turning Cradle" in English referring to the basin at a convent where his mother abandoned the infant Lim--has Montano playing a younger Alfredo Lim, a tough-talking man’s man taught truth and justice at his grandmother’s knee. Abandoned by his mother, hunted by criminals, questioned by his wife, faced with deception after deception, he faces adversity with a roll of his shoulders. There are no blurred lines in this portrait of a police officer, no quirks, no moments of weakness, no failures other than his single-minded pursuit of justice. Bad men die in this movie, those who wear the badge are good and strong and true, and Alfredo Lim is the truest and the best.

“I have much left to face in my life,” Montano-as-Lim says in a voiceover at the end of the film. The actor stands before a mirror, buttoning his uniform, straightening his cap, combing wax into his perfectly-cut hair. “For as long as God is with me, I have nothing to fear. It is those who are evil that should be afraid. It is these men we must pursue. It is these men who threaten society, who threaten the shattering of our country. We the police are the only one to uphold the law.” -

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