Pieta- Ace Vergel Movie

Note: It may contain spoilers.

Here’s another 80s movie that I watched; it starred Charito Solis as Amanda, Ace Vergel as Rigor, and Vivian Velez as Marta in the lead roles. The great painter and sculptor Michaelangelo did the painting and sculpture version of it. Pieta means “pity” and it shows Jesus on Mary’s lap right after the crucifixion. Therefore, the movie’s theme is about the compassion and love of a mother to her son but the son here is the exact opposite of Jesus because Rigor is the kind of son any parent would not dream to have.

Amanda raised Rigor singlehandedly along with her adopted daughter Marta. Growing up, Rigor was always involved in making troubles and was disrespectful of Amanda. He called Amanda just by her name and grew up to have the reputation of being the most feared person in their area. Fidel, Amanda’s admirer, tried to be a father figure to him but he let him feel that other men were not welcome in their house because he was supposed to be the only man in the house. This changed when Marta’s ex-convict father Rubio came to his rescue and as a form of gratitude, he let him stay with them.

Instead of bringing peace into the house, Rubio introduced Rigor to the underworld. The big boss Jack was hesitant but accepted him because he was Rubio’s recruit. So, I guess that Rubio was a valuable member of the group to be given that consideration. Jack tested Rigor’s capability in the hope that he would lose to his henchman but Rigor won the fight and earned his place in the group. Instead of being grateful, he bedded Jack’s mistress in the master’s bedroom while the latter was sleeping soundly.
Some criminals change but in Rubio’s case, the evil in him was deeply rooted and could not be softened by the years he spent in prison. He raped Amanda and this angered Rigor not because he cared for her but because he stepped on his male ego being the man of the house. In retribution, he raped Marta and even announced it to his neighbors. Like, how could he rape someone he grew up with? When Rubio learned about Marta’s rape, he was naturally triggered as a father. He and his henchmen attacked Rigor but they were all defeated and killed. Fidel was one of the casualties when he tried to stop Rubio from harming Rigor.

Amanda and Marta’s life should have been okay when Rigor was sent to prison but the problem did not stop there. Marta was pregnant and was initially thinking of aborting the baby. Amanda scolded her and made her realize that the baby had nothing to do with the problem. So, Marta went on with her pregnancy and Amanda informed Rigor about it.
While in prison, he met the henchmen of Don Jose, the lord of the underworld. The group helped him escape the prison and brought him to Don Jose. In a twist of fate, Don Jose was his biological father and he was overwhelmed by the money and power that he had. Ironically, he was soft on his father and did not criticize him for leaving them. He was bent on taking his son from Marta to groom him to be his future successor. Marta went to the province to hide the baby but was unfortunately traced by Rigor when Amanda visited her. A chase scene in the woods followed with Rigor threatening to kill Marta if she would not give the baby to him. When he realized that the police were after him, he made Marta and the baby a human shield. Now in despair and nowhere to go, he appeared to be planning to harm the baby but was interrupted by a sniper’s shot. The baby, Marta, and Amanda were safe; Rigor was in the blink of death. Amanda let the dying Rigor rest on her lap. She loved her son so much and had that brief tender moment with him. He uttered the word “Nanay” and then passed away. It was the first and last time that he acknowledged her as his mother.

Ace Vergel was the original Bad Boy of Philippine cinema. You would surely hate him in this movie especially if you were raised by a single mother who moved heaven and earth just to give you a good life. I don’t see any logical reason why Rigor would hate his mother and grew up notorious except the Nature versus Nurture explanation. He got his bad genes from his father and no amount of good nurturing could change that. Speaking of Ace, he was the son of Alicia Vergel and Cesar Ramirez. He was the brother of Beverly Vergel. He had a son named King with his ex-wife Maya dela Cuesta. He passed away at the age of 53 in 2007.

Charito Solis was famous for her Ina Magenta role in Okay Ka, Fairy Ko. But before that, she was a sought-after LVN actress and later on, a respected drama actress. She died at the age of 62 in 1998.

Vivian Velez is still active behind the scenes as the director-general of the Film Academy of the Philippines.

By the way, this film was made into a teleserye in 2008. It starred Ryan Agoncillo as Rigor and Cherie Gil as Amanda. They changed Marta’s story on the TV adaptation from being Rigor’s adopted sister to being his love interest.