News Flash

August 28, 2015, Friday
  • Classes at U.P. Manila’s College of Arts and Sciences cancelled on Friday afternoon due to INC rally along Padre Faura St. 4 hours ago |
  • Rains in the area of Padre Faura St. in Manila fail to dampen the spirit of INC members who are protesting at DOJ. 4 hours ago |
  • CBCP says government should not underestimate the message of ‘no remittance day.’ 4 hours ago |
  • Construction of LRT 2 Masinag Extension to begin on Sept. 26. 4 hours ago |
  • Body of a missing seaman found in Tagaytay. 4 hours ago |
  • Palace calls for sobriety as more INC members troop to Padre Faura in Manila to join vigil in front of DOJ. 4 hours ago |
  • PNP’s estimate of INC members gathered in front of DOJ in Padre Faura St. in Manila is 4,000. 4 hours ago |
  • Justice Secretary Leila de Lima not yet seen at DOJ premises as of Friday afternoon. 6 hours ago |
  • Schedule of hearing on libel case filed by Makati Mayor Binay vs. Sen. Trillanes among those postponed on Friday due to INC rally at DOJ. 6 hours ago |
  • INC rally in front of DOJ has prompted the postponement of some hearings in the department. 6 hours ago |
  • Sen. Trillanes says he is ready to face any complaint at Senate Ethics Cmte. with regard to his hiring of over 40 consultants. 6 hours ago |
  • 10 members of the Philippine Marines injured in a battle with about 300 ASG bandits in Patikul, Sulu on Friday morning. 6 hours ago |
  • Radio broadcaster Cosme Diez Maestrado killed in an ambush in Misamis Occidental. 6 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna’s wife Rossel says it is ‘business as usual’ in their QC coffee shop after it was fired upon by gunmen. 6 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna’s wife Rossel thanks those who are concerned for them after the shooting incident in their QC coffee shop. 6 hours ago |
  • Migrante International says OFWs in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia & Italy are joining the ‘zero remittance day’ on Friday. 6 hours ago |
  • Migrante International leads a rally at Mendiola in Manila as part of their ‘zero remittance day’ protest. 6 hours ago |
  • OFW Amie Emuslan who has been in comatose in UAE for 4 years finally brought back home. 6 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino tells visiting Thai PM that Filipinos are offering their condolences to the Thai people who are Filipinos’ brothers. 6 hours ago |
  • Thai PM Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha expresses sympathy for the Filipino who sustained injury in her hearing during the Aug. 17 Bangkok blast. 6 hours ago |
  • Thai PM who is visiting PH says situation in Thailand now under control since the Aug. 17 Bangkok blast that killed 20 persons. 6 hours ago |
  • Gunmen shot and killed a Chinese tourist who was on board a taxi in Vito Cruz, Manila. 9 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna says cops are looking at his job as a media man as possible motive behind the shooting incident at his coffee shop. 9 hours ago |
  • 2 men seen on CCTV firing at the coffee shop of ABS-CBN broadcaster Anthony Taberna in Visayas Ave., QC. 9 hours ago |
  • Padre Faura St. in Manila still closed to traffic on Friday morning due to INC rally in front of DOJ. 9 hours ago |
  • Some INC members continue their vigil in front of DOJ for the second day. 9 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano tells court that part of his privilege as senator includes giving statements on subjects of senate probes. 9 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano asks Makati RTC to dismiss the P 200-million damage suit filed against him by VP Binay. 9 hours ago |
  • BOC Chief Bert Lina shows at a press conference how prohibited items are being smuggled into PH using balikbayan boxes. 9 hours ago |
  • Customs Commissioner Bert Lina says he is listening to the sentiments of OFWs. 10 hours ago |
  • Customs Chief Bert Lina holds a press conference explaining how BOC is handling and inspecting balikbayan boxes. 10 hours ago |

Of heroes and villains

By MST News | Jan. 19, 2013 at 12:01am
Andres Bonifacio and Apolinario Mabini have always been my heroes of choice.

My top hero was the Supremo because he was (and is) regarded as the full-blooded revolutionary who led the masses’ fight against our Spanish oppressors.

Second was Mabini because of his intelligence and uncompromising patriotism. He came in conflict against the illustrious Cabinet members of then President Emilio Aguinaldo, which, later alienated him. Mabini was one of those who would rather lose power than give his principles up.

Dr. Jose Rizal was also on my list. After all, his writings inspired the Katipunan. He was also martyred by the enemy. But Rizal was my far third.

Rizal was highly educated. Bonifacio was virtually unschooled. Rizal rejected the revolution.  He wanted annexation to, not independence from Spain. Bonifacio, despite the odds, went on and led the revolution towards Motherland’s independence.

I believed that Rizal was a safe choice for the Americans as our national hero over Bonifacio because he was a pacifist, and the latter, a rebel.

In short, I bought the idea that Rizal was a reformist and Bonifacio was the revolutionary. Bonifacio’s image with the grim face, a bolo-bearing arm raised as if shouting, “Sugod mga kapatid!” truly captivates me. It was so romantic, I could swoon.

As an activist, I want systemic change. I think that nothing short of a revolution, albeit non-bloody, can solve our country’s problems. I believe that the “masa” should lead the revolution, ala-Bonifacio.

To me, Bonifacio was bigger than Rizal.

What about Emilio Aguinaldo? Without really bothering to learn more, I regarded him as the villain of the revolution. He had my hero, the Supremo, killed. He sold out to the Americans. I needed nothing more.

Or so I thought.

Lest I be accused of biases, let me state that I write this piece not as an expert but as a student of history.

I also write this not to defend Aguinaldo but to raise concerns on how we learn from our past. Purposely, this piece comes after the showing of the movie on Aguinaldo. I have nothing to do with it.

Activism rekindled my interest in our history, particularly, the Philippine revolution.  Through the years, I have read many related books, publications, even unpublished manuscripts.

I searched for materials on revolutionary Filipino women. My belief that katipuneras did more than feeding the men and healing the sick was reinforced because of accounts of women fighting side by side with katipuneros.

I visited museums and historical homes and places, looking for clues about the lives of those who came before us. Seeing their personal things fascinated me.

My thirst for knowledge and understanding has given me insights about the context within which our heroes, even those we consider as villains, operated.

I learned that Rizal did not reject the revolution outright. He wanted for the group to prepare more and acquire arms that the Katipunan sorely lacked.

I learned how lonely and hard-up Rizal was in Europe despite pictures of parties and get-togethers we see of him. His letters to his family and his writings at this point revealed this. He even wrote about the loneliness of being unable to court women he found attractive because he had a job to do for his country!

From various publications, I learned how hotheaded Bonifacio was, and how it appeared to people that he liked being treated as “maharlika”. There are some accounts of katipuneros complaining about Supremo’s highhandedness.

I also learned that the revolution’s launch was more accidental than planned. Katipunan was discovered because of a quarrel between two members. One revealed the secrets of the society to his sister who in turn told a nun. The nun had the katipunero confess to a priest. Thus, KKK was discovered and members were hunted down.

A few days after, Bonifacio launched the revolution. Nagkasubuan na!

Many months before the movie El Presidente was shown, I got lucky and had the opportunity to read some of Aguinaldo’s papers.

I must confess that reading his words, his perspectives on things, their difficulties during the revolution, the treachery within and outside Katipunan, gave me a different point of view.

Aguinaldo became President at the age of 28. What does a 28-year old know? In the papers I read, he spoke of his sadness that Mabini chose to leave him. He said he only wanted the best and the brightest to help him in building the nation.

I think I understand better.

The movie El Presidente was based on Aguinaldo’s memoirs. It can easily be dismissed as his way of clearing his name and perhaps it is. But will we know for sure?

A number of people strongly rejected the way the Supremo was portrayed in the movie arguing that Bonifacio was not a traitor. Perhaps that is true. But it is also possible that Aguinaldo (if indeed he wrote it) was telling the truth.

The reactions against the movie are understandable. But at the very least, the movie presented another side of the story of the revolution.

We venerate our heroes, especially Rizal and Bonifacio. We firmly believe that they did no wrong. Sometimes, we forget they were people like us, complete with shortcomings and limitations. Mistakes happened along the way. Our heroes were not Gods.

We should look at the context within which our heroes did things. They made decisions perhaps with the best intentions in mind at a very difficult time. It was war. Such context is important if we are to truly understand.

Aguinaldo is perhaps the least popular of Katipunan leaders but it is undeniable that he was a key player. I believe that his life, together with the lives of others, needs to be further studied with an open mind.

Now, I regard Bonifacio, Rizal, Mabini, Aguinaldo, and the rest as heroes. Flawed -- but heroes still.

We will never know the whole story but we will benefit from taking lessons from our past. We have our heroes to inspire us. This is how we move forward.   and   @bethangsioco  on Twitter

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