‘The Macabebe in Noynoy Aquino’

- Federico D. Pascual Jr. - The Philippine Star

TRACING the bloodline of President Noynoy Aquino, the director of a respected cultural research center in Angeles City concludes that the President can still muster the courage infused in his warrior pedigree to leave an impressive conclusion of his six-year term.

Director Robby Tantingco of the Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University tells his cabalen in the “Amanung Sisuan” (“Mother Tongue”) Yahoo group in a posting titled “The Macabebe in Noynoy Aquino”:

“Love him or hate him, President Noynoy Aquino is Kapampangan. Many of us despise him for a million things he did and did not do, including his ill treatment of the other Kapampangan President, but we cannot disown him.

“President Aquino is indeed a product of our Kapampangan race. More significantly, his ancestors came from the town of ancient warriors, Macabebe. His great-grandfather, Servillano Aquino, a Katipunero who later became a general in Emilio Aguinaldo’s army, was the son of Braulio Aquino and Maria Antonina Petrona Aguilar de Hipolito of Angeles town, whose great-grandfather Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda was the founder of Angeles himself, and whose uncle Mariano V. Henson was a mayor of Angeles, and whose aunt Agustina Henson was the matriarch of the Nepomuceno clan of Angeles.

“Braulio and Petrona had a daughter named Brigida (Servillano’s sister), who married Andres Ganzon of Angeles. The Ganzons owned a house along Miranda Street, where, on June 12, 1899, the first anniversary of Philippine independence, Gen. Servillano Aquino stayed while his superior, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, stayed in another house on the same road, the Pamintuan Mansion.

“When Servillano was nine, Braulio and Petrona relocated to Concepcion, Tarlac, where Braulio became mayor. After Petrona’s death, Braulio remarried and had a daughter, Elena, who married a Gueco from next-town Magalang.

“Elena Aquino Gueco had a daughter, Paz, who married Daniel Romualdez, a congressman from Leyte who later became Speaker of the House.

“There’s a little-known story about Daniel’s first cousin Imelda Romualdez spending a summer vacation in a Magalang village named Navaling. On the banks of the Parua-Bamban River separating the two towns, the Guecos picnicked with their pretty bakasyonista when Paz’s spirited nephew from Concepcion, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. (President Noynoy’s father), came and swept Imelda off her feet.

“The romance waned when summer ended, with Ninoy’s sisters pairing him off instead to Cory (Corazon) of the wealthy Cojuangco clan. Imelda, on the other hand, met a dashing Ilocano lawyer named Ferdinand E. Marcos and the rest is iginuhit ng tadhana. Interesting that Ninoy married Cory and Ferdinand married Imelda in the same year, 1954.”

• Noynoy’s Macabebe origin traced

TANTINGCO continued: “President Noynoy Aquino’s Macabebe connection came from his great-grandmother, Servillano’s wife Guadalupe Quiambao, daughter of Pablo Quiambao and Lorenza Tañedo.

“Pablo was a fugitive from Macabebe who relocated to Tarlac to become a local Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor, while Lorenza was a Kapampangan swordswoman.

“Guadalupe, the blood of Macabebe warriors flowing in her veins, fought with her husband Servillano during the Revolution. It is said that she died holding a bolo with her right hand and a dagger with her left.

“After Guadalupe’s death, their three children (all boys, one of whom was Benigno Sr., President Noynoy’s grandfather) were sent to Angeles to live with their aunt Brigida Ganzon in the house on Miranda Street.

“They studied under Maestro Bartolome Tablante who could not control the unruly boys, so they were transferred to Bacolor where they had another tutor, the super-strict Maestro Modesto Joaquin.

“While the children were away, Servillano took a second wife, Guadalupe’s widowed sister Petronila Estrada (grandmother of Sen. Eva Estrada Kalaw). Servillano and Petronila had a daughter, Fortunata, who served as muse to many Kapampangan poets, later eloping with poet laureate and congressman Amado Yuzon to Shanghai.

(FDP: Few people know that the baptismal name of multi-awarded TV director Lupita Concio (now Kashiwahara), Ninoy’s sister and Noynoy’s aunt, was Guadalupe, after her headstrong lola.)

“After Petronila’s death, Servillano, already 72, took a third wife, Belen Sanchez, with whom he had a son, Herminio Aquino, who became a congressman, vice governor and the vice presidential running mate of Raul Roco when the latter ran for president in 2004.

“President Noynoy’s grandfather, Benigno Sr., was President Manuel L. Quezon’s Secretary of Agriculture who stayed behind when Quezon fled to the safety of Australia as Japanese imperial forces occupied the Philippines in World War II.

“Benigno Sr. served as Speaker of the National Assembly during the occupation. When the country was liberated, he flew to Japan but he was arrested and flown back to Manila to face charges of collaboration. He died while on bail.

“His widow, Aurora Aquino (his second wife and third cousin), was left with seven children, one of whom was Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., President Noynoy’s father.

“Benigno Aquino Sr. had a first cousin, Eusebio Aquino, who was Kumander Bio, a ranking leader of the Huks (Hukbalahap, or Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon). Kumander Bio’s son Paul was also a ranking Huk leader, and his daughter Gloria became the wife of Huk Supremo Luis Taruc’s brother and fellow Huk leader Peregrino (father of my friend Greg Taruc). Thus, the Tarucs and the Aquinos are related by marriage.

(FDP: That background may have helped Ninoy Aquino, then a Manila Times reporter and President Ramon Magsaysay’s personal emissary, negotiate in four months the unconditional surrender of Luis Taruc on May 17, 1954.)

“I hope that in his remaining few months in office, President Noynoy Aquino will find the courage inherent in his Macabebe blood to rise above himself and become the great president that he can still be.”

(FDP: We expressed a similar hope in our Postscript of Jan. 5, 2016, titled “Unsolicited advice to exiting President”. See http://tinyurl.com/je5mvtd.)

* * *

ADVISORY: Access past Postscripts archived at www.manilamail.com (if necessary, copy/paste url on address bar). Follow us via Twitter.com/@FDPascual. Email feedback to [email protected]

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