Quezon City police filing raps vs ‘fake’ documentary makers


MANILA, Philippines — Police are preparing criminal charges against three German nationals believed to be behind a documentary that depicted a barangay in Quezon City as a lawless community under the control of a notorious criminal gang.

Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director, said the German nationals were found to be the producers of “No-Go Zones, Philippine Gangs” which aired on social media platforms last week.

“Being tagged are two males and a woman, all Germans,” Torre said in Filipino over dzBB radio yesterday. Torre declined to identify the foreigners.

He also did not say what charges the police are preparing against them for maliciously putting a Quezon City barangay in a bad light.

He said the documentary was released in November 2019 by network Amazon Prime Video and reposted on Free Documentary on Facebook last April 26.

The documentary, which supposedly featured a lawless community in Barangay 2A in Quezon City, generated 2.9 million views on Facebook.

In the video, the producers showed the entire stretch of Pajo street as a lawless area under the grip of a band of thugs led by a certain Jojo, supposedly of the Batanga City Jail Gang. It was not clear if the makers of the documentary had misspelled the name of the gang or if they were really referring to the Batang City Jail gang, which actually exists.

The documentary also described everyone in the community, including women and children, as thieves and murderers.

Jojo was shown on a motorcycle supposedly checking his territory, which the documentary said was notorious for harboring hardened criminals that even seasoned policemen wouldn’t dare enter.

However, investigation revealed that the seven people featured in the documentary, including Jojo, were not criminals but were paid actors.

Torre said a certain Marj Estrada-Rosas, a digital creator, recruited the seven and offered to pay them P500 each and groceries to take part in the video. However, they only received P200 each as initial payment.

Torre said they are eyeing estafa or possibly swindling charges against the Germans for reneging on their financial obligations to the people they hired supposedly as actors.

Contrary to what was depicted in the video, Torre said Pajo street and the other areas in Barangay 2A are not included in their list of crime prone areas.

He said in a phone interview the area is close to the QCPD’s headquarters in Camp Karingal, thus it is unlikely to be a hotbed of crime.

Torre said Jojo is not a hardened criminal but a scavenger with no record of any heinous crime in the police database.

The police official said law enforcers are not afraid to enter the area, noting that it is a bad spot for criminals. “The place is very small, there’s little room for escape,” he said.

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