Blending Bonifacio's passion for action and Rizal's strategic vision
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 29, 2015 - 9:00am

When we were in college, both in SWU and in UV, we used to debate on the proposition: Resolved that Andres Bonifacio is a greater hero than Jose Rizal. Since we were then in the thick of the student activism, in the roaring sixties, we used to denounce Rizal as all words and thoughts and no action. Our worthy opponents then from San Carlos and San Jose used to say that Bonifacio was all action without thinking. Today, on the occasion of Andres Bonifacio Day, and exactly a month before this year's Rizal Day, it dawns on us: Why not blend Rizal's strategic vision and Bonifacio's passion for action and results. Among our presidentiables, Poe, Roxas, and Defensor are too Rizal-like. Duterte and Binay are the Bonifacios. But Binay is too ''tainted'' now.

When Rizal was deported to the idyllic Dapitan, while the Katipuneros were ''wounded, scarred, and died in many battlefields in Luzon and the Visayas, Gat Andres Bonifacio, the KKK Supremo dispatched a delegation to Rizal's hideaway, and asked him to support the revolution, if not by actual combat, at least by his talent at propaganda. But Rizal rejected the revolution at that point in time. He believed that the Filipinos were not ready for a bloody confrontation with the Spanish colonizers. In fact, Rizal proposed cooperation provided that the Filipinos would be represented in the Spanish Cortez. Therein lies the dividing line between the warrior from Tondo and the intellectual reformist from Calamba, Laguna.

While Rizal was given all the opportunities for education here and abroad, Bonifacio was busy working to support his orphaned siblings. While Jose Rizal had a devoted mother who taught him the cartilla at a very early age, and a father who did all the farm work to support a big family, Bonifacio's parents died when he was barely in his teens. He was then left to support his brothers and sisters, which he did by selling canes and paper fans. Rizal had a very caring and self-sacrificing older brother, Paciano, who had to struggle very hard to send Rizal to school both in Manila and in Europe.  Bonifacio was the older brother who did all the struggles for his younger siblings.

While Rizal could write freely in Europe and elsewhere, Bonifacio did not believe in what Rizal said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Bonifacio relied in his sword, his bolo, and his pistol. While Rizal was often photographed in heavy European coat and tie, Bonifacio wore handwoven sinamay. Rixal was an ilustrado, a pensionado, an educado. Bonifacio was a man of the masses, a working man, a laborer, an obrero and one who earned his livelihood by the sweat of his brows. Rizal has never plowed the farm of his father. Bonifacio was a handy man, who used the bolo, the hammer, and the saw, the chisel and other manual instruments. Rizal was an elistista. Bonifacio was masa.

If only that Bonifacio had the mind of Rizal and Rizal had only the dexterity and action-orientation of Bonifacio, we would have both the brains of Crisostomo Ibarra and the aggressiveness of Elias. Rizal would have been a very effective adviser to the Supremo as Apolinario Mabini provided the brains to Aguinaldo. The problem with Rizal is that he did not discern what could have been a very strong synergy between himself and the Great Proletarian or the Great Plebian. Also, Bonifacio failed to access into the talent of Rizal in leading both the Katipunan and the Revolution.

Today, we have a Rizal in the person of Mar Roxas, and a great proletarian Mayor Rudy Duterte, not Jojo Binay who is like Crisostomo Ibarra, nor Grace Poe who is Maria Clara, neither Senator Miriam who is the female version of Pilosopo Tasyo, and a better and more positive version of Dona Victorina. But if Mar Roxas has only the courage, the grit, and the guts of Rudy Duterte, he would have been the man for 2016. If Duterte had the strategies, the vision, and the sophistication of Mar Roxas, then we would already have a clear choice. Nonetheless, in these times and milieu, I would rather opt for action rather than ''teka teka." What matters most is not idealism or philosophy but urgent and bold actions and results. The country is in dire need of fixing. Action and decisiveness are what we need. Action is what really matters most.

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