“It was my character who said the line, not me as a person,” said seasoned actress Rita Avila.
Rita Avila has responded to the backlash over her controversial line in the ousted Sinag Maynila Film Festival entry “Walang Kasarian ang Digmang Bayan”.
In the Jay Altarejos film, the seasoned actress plays Virgie, who, in one scene, expresses her anger at President Rodrigo Duterte for implementing the war on drugs that caused the death of her loved one and says the line: “Kung sana naging mas matapang ako, ako mismo ang papatay kay Duterte.”
The movie has been disqualified following claims that the festival didn’t approve of its “anti-government” sentiments. Sinag Maynila, however, said that it decided to pull out the film from their full length category finalists after it “found that there is substantial deviation from the submitted and approved script, and that the film is no longer a faithful representation of the approved screenplay.”
In a series of posts on Saturday, Rita hit back at critics of her controversial line in the movie, particularly members of the media for publishing “misleading” headlines, and stressed that it was her character, Vergie, who said the dialogue, and not her as a person.
“Headlines call attention. Fools read the headline and then without thinking, they speak dirty. Watch the movie, understand why my character said the line. Intindihin muna kung bakit may ganung linya sa istorya,” she said.
“Uulitin ko po, HINDI KO MAGAGAWANG SABIHIN ANG LINYANG UN SA PRESIDENTE SA TUTOONG BUHAY,” she added.
Rita, 51, also revealed that she has the “professional obligation” to do the movie, as “Walang Kasarian ang Digmang Bayan” is the sequel to the 2014 film “Kasal”, in which she played mom to the lead actor.
“Ganito na lang po: pag yang linya kong yan ay sinabi ko sa tutoong buhay... MATAKOT NA...
ako. AKO. AKO PO. Ni hindi ko makukurot ang Presidente. Ni hindi ko sha mamumura sa tutoong buhay. Parang ung mga high sa drugs lang ang matatakot sa isang linya sa pelikula. Isip isip naman po mga kapatid. Sensibilidad po,” she said.
She went on: “Someone who is doing a great and proper job won’t take a movie about the present time personally. Matalino naman ang ating Presidente para mayanig sa isang pelikula. Di ba po?”
“Walang Kasarian ang Digmang Bayan”, which tells the story of a filmmaker turned revolutionary fighter was originally meant to run in select cinemas from March 17 to 24 as a finalist for the festival’s full length category.
Jay, who also wrote the film, has since blasted Sinag Maynila’s reason to pull the entry out of the festival, saying it was "a flimsy way out to get rid of me and the film."
"Tayo ba ay Martial Law na at ikaw ang tagapagpaganap sa sektor ng pelikula, Brillante [Mendoza]?" Altarejos said in a statement, addressing the multi-awarded filmmaker as head of the festival’s committee.
"Patuloy kaming makikipaglaban para sa tunay na kalayaan. Kalayaan sa pagpapahayag at kalayaan sa pamamahayag," he added.