MANILA -- The great-grandson of General Miguel Malvar on Sunday opposed an upcoming biopic about the general and the casting of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in the titular role.
Gabriel Malvar, an executive producer and director, said direct descendants of the general were not consulted about the movie and that a relative "unilaterally decided" to produce the film.
"Had I been consulted, I would have said that I preferred someone not involved in politics or in public service to portray him," he said in a Facebook post, adding that his great grandfather preferred a quiet civilian life after the war.
"I do not think he would have preferred to have his name associated with anyone in politics and government service. I would like his name and legacy totally apart from the political milieu."
Malvar said the boxer-turned-politician was "too big to be contained in any role."
"My fear is that he is larger than life and his character cannot be separated from Manny Pacquiao the person. If he plays lolo Miguel, the viewers will not be able to see and appreciate my grandfather," he said.
"It would be disrespectful and a disservice to my great-grandfather if even in the movie about his life, he is not the center of the attention and is merely an afterthought with all the distractions."
The legacy of the last Filipino general to surrender in the Philippine–American War deserves to be communicated well, Malvar said.
"As a direct descendant, I am a steward of this illustrious legacy. It is my duty to protect it and ensure that his reputation and what he stood for are not tainted. If I cannot add to it, then at the very least, I should make sure it is not diminished. Miguel Malvar deserves nothing less," he said.
"I have nothing to do with this film. This does not have my approval."
JMV Film Production, headed by Jose Malvar Villegas Jr., meanwhile, defended Pacquiao's casting.
"We are calling on whomsoever are the critics of the choice of Sen. Pacquiao as Gen. Malvar to instead of their bickerings brought about by their political agendas, to instead unite for the sake of correcting our history and exposing the absues of our former colonial masters," it said in a statement Saturday.
The film, directed by Jose “Kaka” Balagtas with screenplay by Ed Samson, is set for release next year.