Hen. Luna and Goyo in our time; the Filipino musician as hero

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa - The Philippine Star

A year before the 2016 presidential elections the movie “Heneral Luna” broke box office records in theaters all over the Philippines. It was unprecedented. For the first time we had a movie about Philippine history that drew crowds. I saw the movie myself.

It was an inspiring film on the life of Antonio Luna who was described by the American General James F. Bell himself “he was the only general the Filipino army had.”

But he and his brothers were against violent revolution. Like Rizal, he and his brothers, Juan and Jose believed it was possible to achieve a gradual reform of the Spanish colonizers. But they were caught in the maelstrom of those troubled times even if they had turned down Bonifacio’s approach to join the Katipunan.

Filipinos were inspired by its theme about the intramurals between the rebels on one side against continuing the revolution and the other. The elite wanted to forge a surrender and cooperation with the American imperialists.

I don’t know if it was by chance but it was also the theme that carried Digong to victory. He said repeatedly in his speeches during his campaign that “our enemies were among ourselves and he pointed to the oligarchy as the culprit. In the Philippine-American war, the Filipino oligarchy then did not want to continue the fight because it would imperil their fortunes.

But Antonio Luna was adamant and he fought for the revolution’s cause. His intransigence ultimately caused his death when he was assassinated by the oligarchs then who were able to convince Emilio Aguinaldo to their side. It would be suicidal if they continued the war.

As the Spanish/American War came to a close, and the defeated Spanish prepared to withdraw from the Philippines, Filipino revolutionary troops surrounded the capital city of Manila.

The newly arrived officer Antonio Luna urged the other commanders to send troops into the city to ensure a joint occupation when the Americans arrived, but Emilio Aguinaldo refused, believing US naval officers stationed in Manila Bay would hand over power to the Filipinos in due course.

This was a strategic blunder.

We could have been independent without relying on America’s word.

There was enough time for Filipinos to implement the Luna plan while the Americans were waiting for reinforcement. Unfortunately the internecine struggle between Luna and Aguinaldo with the elite Filipino oligarchs behind him destroyed the Luna plan by killing him.

It is my opinion that the propitious time came with the emergence of Duterte, a man who was willing to confront our problems of nation-building the most vicious being America’s dictum of divide and rule.

Recently on my way to office I saw big signs with the word “Goyo.” I did not know that ”Goyo” was the nickname of Gregorio del Pilar and like Filipino nicknames it had an ng at the end. It was Goyong. I would like to congratulate its producers. I don’t know if its coincidental but once more it comes at a time when Filipino patriotism is being challenged.

Once again, we ask the question – was it coincidence or destiny that Luna was killed? Why should Duterte become president at this time to get us out of our history of colonial subservience and the mistakes we made in our wars of independence that brought it upon us.

Would history repeat itself with Digong’s presidency being threatened by assassination plots and a “failing” economy? We did not think “Heneral Luna” would wake up the nation’s nationalistic passion. Can it happen again with Goyo?

Its sequel, the second of a trilogy, has finally been released. “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” is supposedly the most expensive Filipino movie ever made, which means it needs good box office performance to recoup its investments.

After the death of Antonio Luna, the ragtag revolutionary army of Filipinos was divided into troops supportive of his vision, and others on the side of President Emilio Aguinaldo.

Gregorio del Pilar, or Goyo, was with Aguinaldo. Together with his trusted men, Goyo sought to eliminate Aguinaldo’s enemies.

The Americans launched a simultaneous attack in several towns in Central Luzon. This forced Aguinaldo, Goyo, and their forces to go further north up to Ilocos Sur, where the young general planned and executed a defensive stand on the pass on Mt. Tirad where Goyo was killed.

*      *      *

On the issue of whether we should adopt a revolutionary government we must be reminded that it was declared by the Katipunan during the Philippine Revolution or the War for Independence of the Philippines against the Spanish colonial administration over the islands. The Tejeros Convention of 1897 saw the election of officers for a revolutionary government. The independence of the Philippines from Spain was declared by Katipunan leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, who is recognized as the first President of the country, on June 12, 1898.

Six days later a revolutionary government over the Philippines was officially declared.

The direct mandate of the people power was for the complete reorganization of the government, restoration of democracy, protection of basic rights, rebuilding of confidence in the entire government system, eradication of graft and corruption, restoration of peace and order, maintenance of the supremacy of civilian authority over the military, and the transition to government under a new constitution in the shortest time possible.

Finally, the Duterte administration has done something to keep that noisy Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV looking back at what he has done or should I say that he has undone for this country. Yes, I’m referring to the big news that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte invalidated the grant of amnesty to Trillanes for failure to comply with its minimum requirements. Come now, was Trillanes so reckless that a simple compliance of the minimum requirements for his amnesty he failed to act on, more so that his political patron, P-Noy Aquino was no longer president?

Miscellany Well not all of us can be soldiers. Others would make their contribution to nation building as renowned musicians.

Our very own young Pinoy violin virtuoso, Chino Gutierrez, will stage at the BDO Concert Hall, H. V. de la Costa cor. Makati Avenue, on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 pm.

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