MANILA - Ousted Laguna governor ER Ejercito announced on Monday a film about the 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) men who were killed in an encounter with forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last month.
Ejercito, who is also known by his screen name Jeorge Estregan, shared a poster of the movie titled "SAF" on his official Facebook page. The film to be directed by Pedring Lopez has the tagline "Para sa Diyos, Para sa Bayan, Para sa Tao."
In the description of the poster, Ejercito said: "Bilang pagpupugay natin sa 44 bayani ng Elite PNP-SAF officers na nagbuwis ng buhay sa Mamasapano clash, isasapelikula ng inyong lingkod ang makulay na buhay at kabayanihan ng ating mga magigiting na sundalo upang mabigyan ng tamang pagkilala at pagpupugay ang #Fallen44"
Only hours after it was published, the poster already had over 5,000 likes, 150 comments and 450 shares on Facebook. The reactions, however, were mixed.
"This is not just a cheap propaganda, this is also a mockery of the deaths of #SAF44. Don't allow idiotic opportunists like Estregan abuse the situation," commented one Facebook user.
"It is too premature," said user Jeffrey Fenis. "There are some other time to do the movie but now in the near future. There are a lot of questions yet to be answered plus the emotion is still high."
Another user, Miguel Christopher, criticized a different aspect of the project: "Worst movie poster ever made. And it is pretty obvious that Estregan's face was just Photoshopped over the face of a soldier. This is stupid in its entirety, really."
Others, however, came to the defense of Ejercito's intentions in making the film. "Dapat gawan talaga na ng pelikula bago makalimutan ng taong bayan ang sinapit ng 44 SAF. Ok ako diyan," said user Annie Uzaraga.
Delio Tonogbanua agreed: "Tama 'yan, para malaman ang kabayanihan at hindi basta-basta makalimutan ang ginawa nila."
Ejercito, who started acting in 1985, has co-produced and starred in several films inspired by or about historic Philippine events and personalities in recent years, among them "Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story" and "El Presidente."
He has yet to announce a release date for "SAF."