This movie is an interweaving of several true events into a coherent story line which was intended to point out the inherent corruption in the government of the Philippines at all different levels.
Delayed by censors while they tried to find a way to keep the movie from being released, eventually some sex scenes from Manila's live sex shows were cut and the film allowed out. It wasn't until the furor the movie caused at the Cannes Film Festival that the government realized how critical the movie was of the current regime and arrested Brocka.
He was later released. The movie takes a strike that paralyzed Manila, the kidnapping of a businessman and the shoot-out between the kidnappers and police, all true events, and winds them into a coherent story that ably shows the corruption prevalent in the Manila governmental system.