Atom Araullo was recently embroiled in a controversy when veteran director Mike De Leon shared a now-deleted Facebook post where he wrote that the former reporter “disappointed him as a person” in the filming of “Citizen Jake.”
On Tuesday, Araullo broke his silence on De Leon’s public criticism of him. He said he chose not to comment on it initially.
“I chose to keep quiet while the movie was still in cinemas because I didn’t want it to distract from the film, or be accused of cheap gimmickry to promote it.”
On Citizen Jake and Mike De LeonBefore anything else, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who…
On his portrayal
Araullo, a real-life broadcast journalist, said he was surprised that De Leon approached him to portray title character Jake Herrera, who is also a journalist.
Even if he did not have acting background, De Leon insisted that he wanted a “journalist and a non-actor” so Araullo continued with the project, eventually becoming involved with the scriptwriting process.
But Atom was quick to end comparisons to his character:
“Do I stand by the film? Of course I do. Will I defend it? That goes without saying. While it has its weaknesses and limitations, I am immensely proud to be part of Citizen Jake. Meanwhile, and I fear I’m stating the obvious, Jake Herrera is not Atom Araullo.”
“Although there are similarities, we don’t necessarily share the same politics. The film is told through the point of view of the privileged elite and can be seen by some as cynical or nihilistic.”
Araullo said he will continue talking about his political views in his own terms, suggesting that he and the character’s views are different.
“The film itself is already a statement. As for my own political views on current events, I have expressed and will continue to express them in my own way and on my own terms.”
On De Leon
Araullo did not just talk about the film, he also gave a picture of De Leon’s personality. For him, De Leon’s Facebook post was unsurprising, since “it was only the latest in a string of unprovoked, irrational, almost random tantrums that I had to endure during the making of this film, determined as I was to see it through.”
He also accused De Leon of being a “deeply troubled person.”
“When others found themselves in Mike’s crosshairs, I tried to be there to lend a sympathetic ear. Perhaps his woeful behavior continues because he is never held accountable…”
“The kindest thing I can say about him is that he needs help, patience, and understanding as he wrestles with his personal demons.”
“But while he has certainly tested the limits of my endurance, I can rest easy knowing that I worked hard, behaved professionally, and did all to the best of my abilities at the time the film was made.”
He also wished the director would remain productive after the filming of “Citizen Jake,” adding that he is still grateful to be part of it.