Calvento Files | A Retrospective on ABS-CBN's True Crime Filipino Show

Calvento Files, was an investigative program and documentary drama (docudrama) hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Tony Calvento that aired from December 4, 1995 to October 2, 1998 on ABS-CBN. Calvento Files was a docudrama that chronicles and archives some of the most disturbing and heartbreaking true crimes recorded by the police and various witnesses in the Philippines during that time. Let's go down memory lane with the iconic Filipino true crime docudrama "Calvento Files" here on Retro Pilipinas.

Calvento Files 90s filipino tv show retrospective ABS-CBN investigative docudrama look back Retro Pilipinas Feature

Calvento Files - The Show
About Calvento Files

ABS-CBN, in its pursuit of quality entertainment and public service, has come up with yet another experimental format: TONY CALVENTO FILES.

The program is envisioned as a two-hour docu-drama combining the standards of the number one drama anthology, Maalaala Mo Kaya and the number one public affairs program, Magandang Gabi Bayan.

Tony Calvento Files will definitely arouse the catharsis and awareness of the Filipino audience; also a way of public service - by helping convict criminals and making the viewing public more cautious in their dealings with other people especially with their loved ones. Above all, it hopes to convey a message and lesson for the viewers so they will not fall prey to the dangers posed to them in their everyday living.

Source: ABS-CBN via Wayback Machine

A Retrospective on Calvento Files
A Look Back on Calvento Files

What can be said about the Tony Calvento Files docudrama back on its original run on ABS-CBN? Well, this is one of the most memorable Filipino television shows for me as a child of the 90s. I think I was around the age of 10-12 when it aired during 1995-1998 and although I've forgotten most of the episodes, there is one thing that I can be certain of and that is Calvento Files was a disturbing Philippine television show to watch. I guess my parents are partly to blame for that, letting me watch such a graphic investigative police and crime program about murder, rape and other true crimes that occurred in the country all the way to that year.

I don't know how ABS-CBN's Calvento Files docudrama holds up to today's standards, but I remembered being disturbed as a kid by how graphic the portrayal of these crimes was presented. I wish ABS-CBN can release a DVD, Blu-ray or maybe release the episodes of this classic docudrama on their streaming services for us to at least get the chance to re-experience them as adults. Where the performance really that great or was that simply just a mind of a kid like me seemingly introduced of what horrors some people are capable of towards their fellow humans. I am a big horror fan and someone who likes to watch true crimes related stuff from time to time, so if ever this gets re-released, this fits my preference perfectly well. This is what I love when doing retrospectives here on Retro Pilipinas, I can get to talk about something that has become a part of my life and everybody else's that seemingly everyone has a vague recollection about. When looking at anything about the show, I can't seem to find further details about it except for some wiki entries and that the original host, Tony Calvento, passed away due to Cancer in October 2017.

I wish I can find a breakdown of the cases covered per episode but alas, there is none! There is one episode though, the Calvento Files pilot episode on the Oroquieta massacre and those found in the film adaptation of the now-defunct ABS-CBN investigative program. Guess that is what is expected on anything that dates before the age of the Internet and there are only some who have archived such show for preservation. It's a good thing that we can get a glimpse of what Calvento files (a snippet of sort) was like as it got a big-screen adaptation with 1997's Calvento Files: The Movie where you can check out the trailer here:

Calvento Files: The Movie

Episode 1, Balintuwad, is the story of a fifteen-year-old epileptic girl who was gang-raped and drowned by her captors the night she sneaked out to watch her sister's prom. Eventually, the perpetrators are revealed to be schoolteachers, the very people who are supposed to safeguard children's welfare. Based on the true story of Valen Lanistosa of Dueñas, Iloilo. Episode 2, Inay, May Momo, tells the story of a young mother and her daughter who undergo a terrifying ordeal when the husband is hacked to death by the mother's spurned lover. The widow presses charges against the killer, but the killer hounds both the woman and her traumatized daughter in an attempt to scare them to drop the charges against him.

Soure: IMDB

I might as well, re-watch this film and do a crossover movie review between Retro Pilipinas and Pinoy Movie Blogger (a blog which I am also the author of), to just add to this retrospective. Watch out for that update soon.

Calvento Files 90s philippine tv show hosted by Tony Calvento on its philippine television run on ABS-CBN from 1995-1998 A Retro Pilipinas retrospective

What about you guys? What are your fondest, favorite, or disturbing memories, episodes, or cases covered in this phenomenal ABS-CBN 90s true-crime docudrama? Share your thoughts and opinion about Calvento Files in the comments section below:

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