Policemen in recent years have often been portrayed by Filipino movies in a negative light. Such depictions may be hurtful to honest members of the uniformed force but hardly anyone is to blame what with characterizations generally based on everyday realities.
In fact, the suspicion that generals are themselves criminals had been brought into the open by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, who says that a number of them are protectors of drug lords or drug lords themselves, heads of syndicates, or abettors of smuggling and human trafficking.
But the President is always quick to add that there are more good men than the crooks among the police force, regardless of their rank and medals. Taking on this positive side of those in active duty, an upstart movie company has come up with a project extolling the deeds of five members of the police force.
Simply titled “Men in Uniform,” the movie tells the story of five police officers essayed by Rayver Cruz, Alfred Vargas, Rommel Padilla, Jeric Raval and Empress Schuck.
“It took us several casting combinations before we finally started the shoot,” producer Jose Olinares of Active Media Events Production told The Manila Times after the Memorandum of Understanding between his company and the directorate for Police Community Relations Group (PCRG) was signed at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Olinares, who is also known as Jay-R Rosales in showbiz as a singer, said that after getting burned in his first movie production venture in 2014, he has chosen to focus on advocacy projects.
“My aim is not only to have a captive audience with advocacy movies such as this, which we can show across police headquarters in the country, but it also feels good to know that we’re doing what hasn’t been done before,” he elaborated.
Olinares’ partner in bankrolling the production is executive producer Leonora Sy. She is married to a police officer from Region 1 and an adopted member of the Bagsay Lahi 2006 Class.
A University of the Philippines-Baguio BS Communications graduate, the businesswoman said it was natural for her to invest in a project that would show police officers in a positive light after so many scandals that have rocked the institution.
PCRG Director Police Chief Superintendent Rhodel Sermonia meanwhile said during the short program that the police have a very challenging job within the community.
“We are seen in the streets but we are not felt in the community,” he stated, adding that besides maintaining peace and order, the police are also tasked to assist citizens in activities for the benefit of the neighborhood.
The movie, slated to show around police headquarters throughout the country in April, is comprised of true-to-life stories of police officers who embody the Philippine National Police (PNP) motto, “To serve and to protect.”
Chief Inspector Rolando Ramos (played by Alfred Vargas) is being honored posthumously in the film for his bravery in leading a series of buy-bust operatives in different localities, in line with the PNP’s anti-illegal drugs campaign. He led his team in the successful arrest and neutralization of eight high value targets. He died in an armed encounter with the suspects.
Action star Jeric Raval (who made waves as the paramour-security aide of Eula Valdez and father of Nash Aguas in ABS-CBN’s primetime teleserye, “The Good Son”) plays SPO2 Conrado Baldemor. Baldemor is known for his extraordinary bravery and dedication to duty when he served as negotiator during a hostage-taking incident inside a public transport bus, and saved the lives of a two-year-old child and two adult female captives.
Rayver Cruz is PO2 Jumeil Javier of the Police Security and Protection Group, honored for stopping a robbery aboard a moving public bus that resulted to the neutralization of a trio of criminals, thereby saving the lives of all the passengers.
Rommel Padilla breathes life to the character of PSSupt. David Aragon who heads the Police District Intelligence and Operations Unit. Aragon is behind the neutralization of some of Metro Manila’s most notorious car thieves, bank robbers and riding-in-tandem crooks.
The only woman whose valor is tackled in the movie is that of PSInsp. Melinda Mallari of WCPD Police, San Fernando, La Union. Played by Empress Schuck, the female police is hailed as one of the Ten Outstanding Policewomen of the Philippines for bringing to court hundreds of cases involving abuses committed against women and children.
Directed by Neal Tan (“Ataul For Rent,” “Tarima” and “Bigkis”), the project came into fruition from the combined ideas of the producers with Tan himself writing the script.
“Our policemen are still heroes in the eyes of few people. I am a living witness how there are police officers out there who go above and beyond the call of duty and have devoted their lives to the communities they serve,” the executive producer shared.
Sy ensures accuracy in the movie having closely worked with the PNP in Region 1’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Crime Laboratory and Regional Internal Affairs. She is also a member of the PNP Regional Advisory Council.