Director Mike de Leon’s new short film highlights Duterte’s controversial moments 

Screenshot: Mike de Leon’s “2019 Kangkungan” video from Citizen Jake Vimeo. (Original footage from RTVM)
Screenshot: Mike de Leon’s “2019 Kangkungan” video from Citizen Jake Vimeo. (Original footage from RTVM)

For those who need to be reminded about all the controversial things Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said and done since assuming office in 2016, here’s a new short film that does just that.

It’s titled Kangkungan and it’s by veteran Filipino director Mike de Leon. The film was released on Vimeo on Sunday, a day before the national holiday that celebrates the bloodless 1986 People Power Revolution that brought down late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

A 5-minute montage of clips featuring Duterte, the film is like a dark blooper reel of the last three years.

“Countrymen, this is the President of the Philippines,” the narrator starts the film, followed by a clip of Duterte saying “Fuck you” in a speech and flipping off the camera.

This in-your-face tone is present throughout the video as it shows clips like that time Duterte kissed a married woman on stage, his expletive-ridden speeches, and the fatalities in the war on drugs. Through a narrator, the film also criticized Duterte’s terrible relationship with human rights groups, the Catholic Church, and the media.

More than that, though, the film highlighted Duterte’s alliances with controversial figures, particularly the Marcos family.

“And he has committed the most heinous crime of all against a nation that has forgotten its past. By supporting the return to power of the sociopathic Marcos family,” the film’s narrator says as videos of President Marcos’ controversial burial in the Heroes’ Cemetery flashes.

De Leon is known for films that discuss political and social issues like Kisapmata and Sister Stella L. 

He had retired after his film Bayaning Third World (Third World Hero) in 2000 but had a comeback last year with Citizen Jake, a film that tells the story of a journalist whose father was a crony of President Marcos.

His new short film, which alleges that Duterte is “killing this country,” urges viewers to vote wisely in May’s mid-term elections.

“Countrymen, and especially our nation’s youth, this coming May, vote as if your future depended on it. As if your life depended on it,” the narrator says in the end along with a clip of a man being executed by hanging.

And the short got people talking.

While some lauded de Leon for his work, many Duterte supporters also accused him of working for the opposition and called the video propaganda.


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