Monday, December 28, 2009

Bootleg DVDs of Maguindanao massacre on sale

By Jeffrey M. Tupas, Jeoffrey Maitem
Inquirer Mindanao
First Posted 19:07:00 12/28/2009

DAVAO CITY -- Bootleg digital video disc (DVD) copies of the “Maguindanao Massacre 11/23/09,” are now being sold underground in many parts of Mindanao, according to those who have seen the "film."

The Philippine Daily Inquirer was able to get a copy of the DVD. Running over four hours, the DVD showed the actual retrieval of the bodies from the massacre site at Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town, Maguindanao.

It showed the blood-soaked, bullet-riddled and mutilated bodies of the Ampatuan massacre victims. Most of the footage had graphic images of body parts protruding from the earth.

The origin of the Maguindanao Massacre DVD is not known but a DVD vendor in Koronadal City said he got his stocks from a supplier in General Santos City.

The INQUIRER secured a copy of the film, sold at P120, from a vendor who requested that he be not named, saying he feared for his life.

“Please don’t tell anyone that you got it from me…I only gave you this because I trust that you will not tell that it came from me. It’s scary,” the vendor said, referring to the movie. “Nakakatakot…sobrang nakakatakot. At nakakadiri (It’s really scary and it’s gross),” he said.

The vendor indicated he was also scared of the Ampatuan family, whose key members have been charged in connection with the massacre and were the erstwhile allies of MalacaƱang.

The material contained the first two days of the retrieval operations conducted by the authorities after the November 23 abduction and grisly murder of at least 57 civilians, 31 of them journalists and the rest close relatives and supporters of Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, a Maguindanao gubernatorial candidate running against the Ampatuans in the 2010 elections.

It is not clear whether the content of the DVD was from the documentation done by the team that conducted the retrieval operations.

The DVD opened with the convoy of the retrieval operations team that traveled to the dumping site in Barangay (village) Salman. Immediately after, the amateur camera captured the yellow backhoe excavator that had the marking “Under the Administration of Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr.”

For more than four hours, the camera focused on the excavation of the victims. First to be exhumed was a woman, believed to be one of the lawyers of Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, who wore a brown-striped blouse.

A man was later overhead as saying: “Sino ito? Si attorney? Sige…kunin na ang lahat kasi lahat tayo ay kapamilya na dito eh.”

After the first body was recovered, a man was also overheard as saying: “May ara pa (Are there still more)?”

“May ara pa gid. Marami yan sila dyan…(There would surely be more. There are a lot of them buried there),” another man answered.

When the body of a woman, wearing a green blouse and yellow pair of pants, was exhumed, a voice was heard saying: “Ka-daming tama…”

And judging from the looks of the victim, the same man suspected that she may have been sexually abused.

There were at least eight men who were exhuming the bodies, using shovels and their bare hands alternately. The film showed the lousy and slipshod retrieval of bodies and evidence, done by non-experts. It was only in the latter part of the first day and the second day that police experts got to work in the retrieval operations.

When shovels and bare hands proved to be slowing down the retrieval, the authorities later decided to use the backhoe to dig the grave where the victims were dumped. It was then that more and more bodies were found, including that of Mangudadatu town Vice Mayor Eden Mangudadatu, sister of Esmael.

Eden was immediately identified by the men involved in the diggings. A mobile phone was also recovered and a man was overheard as saying that “gitago nya sa loob ng sapatos. (she hid it inside her shoe).”

The Day 2 of the DVD opened with the diggings now aided mainly by the backhoe. It was on the second day that the retrieval operations teams dug up the vehicles, which were also dumped into the grave in an apparent effort to hide evidence.

And when more bodies were recovered, a male voice said: “Buti pa yong manok na panabong kahit na kargado sa gamot, kapag di na tumutuka ang kalaban, din na papaluin…” (Fighting cocks are treated better.)

In Koronadal City, a Maranao vendor said he has run out of copies of the DVD.

He said they have been selling it for P120 per copy, and even bragged about the clarity of the DVD he sold as the material was taken by members of the Scene of the Crime Operatives of the Philippines National Police.

“I’m expecting my order to arrive anytime tomorrow. The one you’re holding is a clear copy because members of SOCO filmed it,” he said in Filipino.

Janice Cabasag, 29, a resident here, told the Inquirer that she managed to procure a clear copy from a vendor for only P70.

Cabasag said the DVD contained footage of the actual retrieval of the bodies in the village of Salman.

“Looking at those images of death, I can feel the pain of the families who lost their loved ones. Those who did it are demonic,” she said.

Mario Alasin, who maintains a small restaurant here, also told the Inquirer that his staff bought a copy, but he had refrained from seeing the footage.

In Parang town in Maguindanao, Norma Cantal, admitted she bought the same copy at the public market.

When asked about the sale of the DVD, Corazon Cabillio, wife of slain journalist Jimmy, said she has heard about the DVD but has not seen a copy. Cabillio said she was interested in getting a copy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Memoriam: Alexis Tioseco (1981-2009) and Nika Bohinc (1979-2009)

In Memoriam: Alexis Tioseco (1981-2009) and Nika Bohinc (1979-2009)

Wishful Thinking for Philippine Cinema
March 15, 2009, 3:57 am
By Alexis A. Tioseco

(Shorter version originally published as an addendum to an article in Rogue Magazine, extended final version which appears below published in Philippines Free Press week of December 13, 2008).

I wish that the Film Development Council of the Philippines would understand the value of the money they’re given and consider going to Paris and spending P5 million of their P25 million allotment for a showcase given by a young festival an investment, and not just a vacation.

They support filmmakers with finished films to go abroad to festivals for the pride they bring their country—I wish instead they would support their films locally, and help them get seen by a larger Filipino audience.

I cry for the loss of Manuel Conde’s Juan Tamad films.

I cry for a country that can’t convince that one Filipino-American who owns the only known print of Conde’s Genghis Khan in its original language to return (i.e. sell) the film back to his mother country.

I cry for the generations of Filipinos, myself included, that can no longer see Gerry De Leon’s Daigdig ng Mga Api, and instead have scans of movie ads to admire on the internet (with sincere thanks to Simon Santos and James De la Rosa).

I mourn a heritage that has allowed through neglect the prints of Mario O’Hara’s Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and Peque Gallaga’s Oro, Plata, Mata to turn flush sepia.

I cry for a Union Bank and University of the Philippines that conspire in apathy to let the master negatives of treasures produced by Bancom Audiovision rot in rooms only air-conditioned half the day and in cans untouched for years and years.

I pray for a city government or even enterprising and concerned theater owners to consider setting aside 50 centavos or a peso of a ticket for the preservation of our national audiovisual heritage. There have been flood taxes siphoned from movie tickets for crying out loud—this should be easy!

I wish Cinemalaya, which, thanks to the media and the government’s press mileage behind it, has a great festive excitement, would actually put their efforts in the service of Philippine cinema, and not their own self-involved attempt to start a micro-industry.

I wish filmmakers would stop listening to Robbie Tan.

I wish Cinema One, which takes more risks, gives more money and often produces better films than Cinemalaya, would actually give filmmakers some rights to their work and stop swindling them.

I wish Cinemanila, which has introduced to the country more great films than any other institution, doesn’t stop showing them on 35mm.

I wish Cinemanila would publish their full schedule in advance: it’s difficult to plot what films to watch when you don’t know which ones will show again.

I wish the Goethe- initiated Silent Film Festival, with live scores by Filipino musicians, would continue annually, and that one year they get to show a Chaplin, a Griffith, a Dreyer, and maybe a Vertov or Medvedkin.

I wish Lav Diaz would have larger budgets to maneuver and shoot with. And would work with the ace production designer Cesar Hernando once again.

I wish more people saw Lav Diaz’s films rather than just respecting his stance, and using him as a symbol.

I wish Raymond Red would get to make Makapili and/or return to making fantastic shorts in the experimental mode.

I wish Raymond Red would still get to shoot on celluloid.

I wish John Torres would sacrifice the image quality of his HDV camera for the special intimacy and spontaneity he is able to achieve with his 1ccd camera. Or get a smaller HDV camera.

I wish Mike De Leon would make another movie… please.

I wish Roxlee would get enough money to buy the time necessary to make an animated feature.

I wish everyone would buy a copy of Nicanor Tiongson and Cesar Hernando’s richly illustrated The Cinema of Manuel Conde.

I wish there were more books on Philippine cinema.

I wish a book series was started that published classic screenplays.

I hope Noel Vera gets to write his book on Mario O’Hara.

I wish a close study of the entire oeuvre of Ishmael Bernal were made.

I wish older commentators would understand: Lino Brocka is dead.

I wish younger filmmakers would understand: Lino Brocka compromised when he had to because he had to, and perhaps even, at times, too much. You are living in a different time. The excuse that Brocka made more than 60 films therefore you can afford your own mediocre ones does not hold water.

I wish we had less tourist cinema.

I wish we had less formula cinema—“real-time” anyone?

I wish Cinefilipino had put out Maalaala Mo Kaya with the reels in the proper order.

I wish Cinefilipino would have put our their Brocka titles with just a little bit of care and affection, providing some writing on the film or special features to contextualize them rather than just throw them out their bare to earn.

I wish Nestor Torre would open his eyes…

I wish the Manunuri books on Philippine cinema in the’70s and’80s would go back in print.

I wish the Manunuri actually cared about Philippine cinema today.

I wish more of the Manunuri actually reviewed films instead of just giving out awards.

I wish the Young Critics Circle were actually young.

I wish the Young Critics Circle were actually critics.

I wish Francis ‘Oggs’ Cruz, Richard Bolisay, and Dodo Dayao would get space in the broadsheets, because they’re far more interesting than anyone writing there regularly.

I wish we didn’t have a cinema of the press (more on this soon).

I wish Noel Vera would move back.

I wish Hammy Sotto were still alive.

I wish Hammy Sotto’s manuscripts would get published.

I wish film preservation activist Jo Atienza was still in Manila.

I wish we had a fully supported Film Museum.

I wish we had a Cinematheque.

I wish the UP Film Center had better seats, and more important, showed better films.

I wish more non-filmmakers from the Philippines would get to travel to festivals.

I wish film were taught in high schools.

I wish we had more film lovers and less bureaucrats in important positions in the field of cinema.

I wish Teddy Co would get the recognition that he deserves for his selfless work.

I wish Teddy Co would write more as his ideas deserve to be recorded.

I wish co-ops would co-operate.

I wish Khavn De La Cruz would get to make his musical EDSA XXX.

I wish the Max Santiago feature would get made, and that shorts would finally come to my hands on DVD (Hi Marla!).

I hope Tad Ermitano never stops writing and playing in his cave.

I wish Lourd De Veyra would continue writing on actors and cinema.

I wish Raymond Lee’s UFO success.

I wish Albert Banzon would get more credit.

I wish we had more regional feature films, and more support for regional filmmakers.

I wish everyone would watch When Timawa Meets Delgado.

I wish someone would lower MTRCB rates for screening fees, especially for festivals.

I wish someone, anyone, would make a good, thought-provoking film about the Philippine upper class.

I wish Ketchup Eusebio would get more leading roles.

I wish Elijah Castillo would appear in a lot more films. Soon.

I wish Cesar Hernando would get to make a video transfer of his experimental short Botika, Bituka.

I wish filmmakers had some integrity and told Viva to screw themselves when offered another exploitation film.

I wish more people could see the film Bontoc Eulogy by Marlon Fuentes.

I wish Vic Del Rosario wasn’t presidential adviser on Entertainment, given the shlock they produce, and yes, that includes the films that starred First-Son Mikey Arroyo.

I wish Star Cinema would stop—just stop.

I wish there was a film library that people could go to in order to read books on cinema.

I wish the MMFF were not in the hands of the same people who install public urinals (admittedly useful).

I wish the MMDA didn’t call those circles and boxes Art.

I wish that MMDA Art wasn’t so much better than every MMFF film.

I wish a certain festival in December didn’t consider box office as a criteria for its main prize (which comes with rewards). We don’t give cultural awards to Wowowee, do we? Well, not yet…

I wish I could see how “commercial viability” was computed.

I wish Mother Lily didn’t have a monopoly on the Metro Manila Film Festival.

I wish Mother Lily took better care, or rather took care at all, of the good films she unwittingly produced in the past.

I wish Mother Lily would get to see Raya’s Long Live Philippine Cinema! …or maybe not.

I wish the Hammy Sotto-led Philippine Cinema in the ’90s book, with excellent interviews and a complete filmography of the decade, and which has been completed for several years, would finally get printed.

I wish all the old Mowelfund shorts—including the works of Regiben Romana, the Alcazaren Brothers, Louie Quirino and Donna Sales, Raymond Red and Noel Lim—would come out on DVD.

I wish a book would be written about all the Mowelfund shorts.

I wish a book on Philippine poster art would be released.

I always look forward to the rest of Nick Deocampo’s projected four-to-five volume history on Philippine cinema—at least someone is writing it.

I wish there were a pure film studies course available in the Philippines.

I wish that venues that are censorship (and therefore MTRCB fee) exempt would understand the vital role they play and take more responsibility.

I wish we had a regular film journal. Why don’t we? We have enough critics groups and awarding bodies.

I wish more film teachers were approaching cinema from cinema.

I wish R.A. Rivera would get to make his first feature soon.

I wish Quark Henares refrains from selling out again, because if he doesn’t, he has the potential to be one of the important ones.

I wish more people would get to see In Da Red Korner. It deserves to be reconsidered.

I wish Rogue Magazine would cut down their featuring of foreign films in the gallery section when there is so much to write about locally that doesn’t get covered in other media beyond sloppy journalism.

I wish the government would sponsor DVD releases of the surviving films of Lamberto Avellana, Gerardo De Leon and all other classics that still exist.

I wish FPJ Productions would again screen the footage of Gerry De Leon’s unfinished Juan de la Cruz (the icon, by the way, that was invented by this magazine).

I wish less filmmakers compromised.

I wish more filmmakers admitted when they did.

I wish we focused our attention more on audience education, development and literacy, than on dumbing down films to pander to them.

I wish Philippine cinema all the success in the world. . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

IP Address Alone Insufficient To Identify Pirate, Court Rules

IP Address Alone Insufficient To Identify Pirate, Court Rules
Written by enigmax on June 15, 2009

Anti-piracy groups and lawyers across Europe are unmovable - they say that since they logged a copyright infringement from a particular IP address, the bill payer is responsible. Now a court in Rome has decided that on the contrary, an IP address does not identify an infringer, only a particular connection.

Right across Europe, many countries are being targeted by anti-piracy evidence gathered by outfits such as Swiss-based Logistep. After tracking alleged infringers, legal action is taken to force ISPs to hand over the identities of the person who pays the bill on the particular account linked to the allegedly infringing IP address. Lawyers operating in tandem with companies like Logistep, such as ACS:Law in the UK, insist that since they have an IP address, this automatically means that the bill payer is the copyright infringer or at least liable for the infringement.

Italy, which has seen its fair share of misery inflicted by Logistep and its partners Peppermint Jam, now has reason to be optimistic that these cynical, profit-motivated operations can be dampened down.

Although anyone with a basic knowledge of the Internet could come to the same conclusion given 30 seconds in a quiet room, the Tribunale Ordinario di Roma has now ruled that an IP address alone does not identify an infringer. According to a Punto Informatico report, on this basis the court kicked out a complaint against an individual accused of copyright infringement.

The District Attorney and judge said that the mere ownership of a connection from where an infringement took place is not sufficient to establish the identity of an infringer or liability of a defendant, especially since other people could have committed the alleged infringement.

In the UK right now, as many as 5,000 or more Internet bill payers are receiving letters through their doors from lawyers ACS:Law claiming that their Internet connection has been used to commit copyright infringement. TorrentFreak is in contact with many letter recipients and we are convinced that many people are being wrongfully accused for a multitude of reasons. Interestingly ACS:Law say that they do not necessarily claim that the bill payer committed the infringement, yet they still make threats and demand settlements for around £600 from that very individual.

They do this because they do not know and cannot prove who carried out the infringement, and simply hope that the bill payer feels responsible for what has happened and pays the settlement.

If it wasn’t clear before to some, it should be pretty clear now. As far as evidence goes, an IP address alone does not identify an infringer, merely a connection, and in the absence of additional evidence - such as that collected following an examination of the alleged infringer’s PC - it means little on its own.

Thank you Italy for your common sense.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blackout Europe: Telecoms Package threat to the Open Internet

The European open internet is under imminent threat
Don't let the EU parliament lock up the Internet! There will be no way back!

Act now!
Internet access is not conditional

Everyone who owns a website has an interest in defending the free use of Internet... so has everyone who uses Google or Skype... everyone who expresses their opinions freely, does research of any kind, whether for personal health problems or academic study ... everyone who shops online...who dates online...socialises online... listens to video...

The internet as we know it is at risk because of proposed new EU rules going through end of April. Under the proposed new rules, broadband providers will be legally able to limit the number of websites you can look
at, and to tell you whether or not you are allowed to use particular services. It will be dressed up as ‘new consumer options' which people can choose from. People will be offered TV-like packages - with a limited
number of options for you to access.

It means that the Internet will be packaged up and your ability to access and to put up content could be severely restricted. It will create boxes of Internet accessibility, which don't fit with the way we use it today. This is because internet is now permitting exchanges between persons which cannot be controlled or "facilitated" by any middlemen (the state or a corporation) and this possibility improves the citizen's life but force the industry to lose power and control. that's why they are pushing governments to act those changes.

The excuse is to control the flow of music, films and entertainment content against the alleged piracy by downloading for free, using P2P file-sharing. However, the real victims of this plan will be all Internet users and the democratic and independent access to information, culture goods.

Think about how you use the Internet! What would it mean to you if free access to the Internet was taken away?
These days, the Internet is about life and freedom. It's about shopping, booking theatre tickets ... holidays, learning, job-seeking, banking, and trade. It's also about the fun things - dating, chatting, invitations, music, entertainment, joking and even a Second Life. It is a tool to express ourselves, to collaborate, innovate, share, stimulate new business ideas, reach new markets - thrive without middlemen..

Just think - what's your web address? Unless people have that address in their "package" of regular websites - they won't be able to find you. That means they can't buy, or book, or register, or even view you online. Your business won't be able to find niche suppliers of goods - and compare prices. If you get any money at all from advertising on your site, it will diminish. Yes, Amazon and a select few will be OK, they will be the included in the package. But your advertising on Google or any other website, will be increasingly worthless. Skype could be blocked. (As it is in Germany in the use from iPhone, already). Small businesses could literally disappear, especially specialist, niche or artisan businesses.

If we don't do something now - we could lose free and open use of the internet. Our freedom (of choice in information, market, culture, pleasure) will be curtailed. The EU proposals hold an enormous risk for our future. They are about to become Law - and will be virtually impossible to reverse. People (even the members of the European Parliament who are voting on it) don't really seem to understand the full implications and the legal changes are wrapped up in something called "Telecoms Package" which lulls people into thinking it is just about industry.

However, in reality, hiding from public view, the amendments are about the way the Internet will operate in future! Text that expresses your rights to access and distribute content, services and applications, is being crossed out. And the text that is being brought in, says that broadband providers must inform you of any limitations, or restrictions to your broadband service. Alternative versions use the word ‘conditions' - and it is seriously being proposed that you will be told the conditions of use of Internet services. This is made to sound good - it is dressed up as ‘transparency' - except that of course it means that the broadband providerwill have the legal right restrict your access or impose conditions,otherwise why would they need tell you? If the Telecoms Package amendmentsare voted in, the changes will not be reversible.

We all have a stake in the Internet! You need to act now to save it!
What can you do about it?
Tell the European Parliament to vote against conditional access to the Internet! Remind them that they need your vote in June and that internet still give us the tools to be watching and judging what they are doing! (link a la quadrature du net) You must know you are not alone: hundreds of organizations are working on that and thousands of people have already contact their parliamentarians about this issue.

So, act now:
1 - Email, write to or phone your MEP - follow this link to get theirdetails - a suggested template letter is attached. You can also use the following software that send the letter directly to all the parliamentarians. Believe, they will really receive it and they will really feel the pressure. You are welcome to personalize the letter and include information that will make MEPs wake up, take note and take appropriate action.

2 - Forward this email to everyone you know so that they can take action.

3 - Syndicate this page so that you keep been informed: disinformation is what they count on, we must be aware. Text for people to cut and paste to MEP: The coalition version needs to have instructions for people from each country. coalition members need to get a translated version online in their own languages and link to the LQ site for their own MEPs.

Suggest you indicate:

Here are the MEPs who are important in the process.
Here are the MEPs from [your country] [or list each country of the coalition] .

This is suggested letter / email to send to your MEP. Personalise this email to include your own Internet use in your personal and business life. Change the sentence in red to personalise the email and tell the MEP how you individually use the Internet or just take it off.

Friday, February 20, 2009

From the back cover of Lovebirds DVD

Here is what's printed at the back cover Lovebirds DVD. The indie film is directed by Ronaldo Bertubin and stars Boots Anson Roa.

"Alexis is a foreigner came to Philippines to meet his chatmate Mario. As a Filipino Culture, visitors are welcome by family host with welcoming party of food, fiesta and people. When Alexis visited Mario. Mario's parents told to the neighborhood that Alexis is a girl, but surprisingly it was Alex. Mario's mother denied that he was Alexis and introduced him as Alex the brother of Alexis to the neighborhood. His parents known about Mario's sexuality until at the end Alexis becomes closer and fell in love with Mario. With all the laugh and cry. A story of a foreigner in another country, different culture, and acceptance of love will have all a happy ending."

Ay sus, ginoo! Can someone get me a glass of cold water please. Nabilaukan yata ako... wahahahaha

Good thing I do not buyed this DVD. hehehehe