This early, netizens are all abuzz bout the forthcoming bioflick of Philippine National Police ( PNP ) Chief Ronald " Bato " dela rosa.
After all, it was during his term when the government's war on drugs escalated to unprecedented heights, leading to the long-awaited crackdown on the rampant menace that has long plagued Philippine society for several decades now.
But what lies beneath the facade of the crime-busting enigma? Where does he draw the line between being an officer and gentleman?
To his enemies, hard-nosed criminals, drug lords, erring police offers, etc. he is the tough, relentless and uncomprimising iron hand who is willing to uphold the law at all costs.
But to his friends and family, he can be the sweet and lovable father figure whose fierce loyalty is aptly complemented by his comic demeanor and good-natured humor, as evinced by some of candid media interviews.
From the outset, compressing Bato's life story to a mere couple of hours seems like a daunting task. For sure, his heroic exploits as police officer leading to his pivotal role in the controversial anti-drug war will be the movie's full focus.
Given Bato's toughie character, it comes no surprise how the country's top action icon Robin Padilla has been tapped to play the title role. With his menacing stare and hard-hitting action stunts, Robin fits the role.
Joining the cast are Beauty Gonzales, Alvin Anson, Archie Alemania, Chanel Morales, Efren Reyes, Gardo Versoza, Gina Alajar, Jess Mendoza, Joko Diaz, Jun Hidalgo, Kiko Estrada, Kiko Matos, Manuel Chua, Marx Topacio, Menggie Cobarrubias, Mon Confiado, Polo Ravales and Ricky Davao. The movie is directed by Adolfx Alix, Jr.
BATO also marks the debut of ALV Films in the local movie industry. No stranger in the local movie industry, Vegafria has long been involved in the creative and production processes of many local films outfits, particularly Regal Films, whose top executives Mother Lily Monteverde and daughter Roselle are close friends and professional colleagues, as well as Star Cinema and GMA Films.
" With our recent ventures in the pageant world ( Miss World and Mr. World ), sports ( Manny Pacquiao and URCC ), I felt that it was time to go back to more creative pursuits," Vegafria shares.
" The local movie industry is definitely on an upswing, and what better way to keep it alive than by being at the forefront and being directly involved with the art form from concept to finished product. I have always been, and I will always be a movie fan. and with this new venture of ours, I am very sure that this love and passion for the art form will translate to noteworthy projects," he adds.
Through the years, Vegafria had the privilege of working closely with some of the prime movers in the movie industry-producers, directors, cinematographers , musical scorers and of course, the actors and actresses themselves, some of whom have garnered acclaim in international film festivals.
His past experiences as juror at the annual Soho International Film Festival in New York has also opened his eyes to the diverse talent and wealth of opportunities in the global film industry.
He points out, "Of course, we want to help the local film industry first, but it's never too ambitious to aim for global competence. And I believe that with the world-class talent of our local writers, directors, actors in the industry, it's only a matter of time before we become a formidable force in the global movie industry as well."
Produced by ALV Films and Benchingko Films, and distributed by Regal Entertainment inc., BATO opens in local cinemas on January 30.