“It is about the journey of a mother who seeks the truth about her son.”
By RONALYN OLEA
MANILA — How does a film capture the real-life agony of a mother searching for a son? What kind of torture does a family of a desaparecido go through over years of searching?
Director Joel Lamangan and scriptwriter Ricky Lee team up to take such a gargantuan challenge. Their new project, Burgos, revolves around a family who has paid much for democracy.
Burgos comes at a critical stage of almost six years of searching for Jonas, the third of five children of Mrs. Edita Burgos and the late press freedom fighter Jose Burgos Jr. The family got hold of new pieces of evidence pointing to the culpability of the military in the abduction of agriculturist-activist on April 28, 2007.
Veteran actress Lorna Tolentino will portray Mrs. Burgos. Young actor Rocco Nacino will act as Jonas. Playing Joe Burgos is Tirso Cruz III. Dimples Romana, Allen Dizon, Bangs Garcia and Kerbie Zamora would portray the Burgos siblings while Ina Feleo plays the wife of Jonas.
“It is such a blessing that Lorna will be in the film,” Mrs. Burgos said in a press conference, April 13. I am honored… “The cast is good. Each of them has somehow the stance/aura of my children. But beyond us, I hope this would deepen the public`s understanding of the phenomenon of enforced disappearances.”
Tolentino said she too is honored to be portraying Mrs. Burgos. She said that she empathizes with Mrs. Burgos. “I hope this would pave the way to finding Jonas,” Tolentino said.
Not just another movie
Burgos is Lamangan’s dream project. “After watching the play Mrs. B, I told myself that this story must be seen by a wider audience and filming it is the best way,” he said during the press conference.
Staged a few years ago, Mrs. B is a monologue about Mrs. Burgos’s search for Jonas. Bibeth Orteza and Gina Alajar played the lead role in the Concerned Artists of the Philippines production.
Lamangan said he saw the importance of propagating the story especially since cases of enforced disappearances continue to increase.
For his part, Lee said, he agreed to write the script immediately. “This (issue) is close to my heart. I was also imprisoned for a year during martial law. I have friends whose loved ones went missing. Even after 10 years, 20 years, they do not lose hope.”
Lee said he did a lot of research and interviews with members of the Burgos family before writing the script.
Nacino said he read news about the case. “It’s not just another movie. It’s for a cause,” the young actor said.
Other members of the cast are also excited about the project.
“We are proud that we are part of your journey in finding Jonas,” Romana told Mrs. Burgos. Romana said she admires the strength of the family amid the difficulties.
Lamangan said that unlike his previous films such as Dukot, Burgos is more personal. ” It is about the journey of a mother who seeks the truth about her son. Hers is also the story of other mothers looking for their own desaparecido.”