cinema, Film Review, History

Debunking Heroes: the Magdalos then and now

While the new Magdalos are being accused of plotting to oust the President, and goyoMagdalo leader, former naval Ltsg, now Senator, Trillanes is facing suits from the government, the original Magdalos – Generals Emilio Aguinaldo and Gregorio del Pilar are being attacked as anti-heroes, if not outright villains, in the movie, GOYO (2018).

I thought the movie was going to portray the Hero of Tirad Pass in a heroic manner. But I should have known better.


The mestizo duo who act as Executive Producers of the film, E.A. Rocha and Fernando Ortigas seem to be intent on showing the Filipinos (formerly called Indios) that their heroes were no heroes at all. They were like squabbling children, and no match to the Caucasians – the Spaniards and the Americans.


In both films Heneral Luna (2015) and Goyo (2018), the Filipinos’ complete conquest of the Spaniards and some victories over the Americans were not shown. And the atrocities -including massacres and tortures -committed by the Americans were completely ignored.




What was shown was the infighting among and between Filipino leaders.Poor Filipinos. They already have very few heroes. And now, the mestizo duo are making movies to make the Filipinos ashamed of their heroes.


So, what’s the third movie of the trilogy? About Apolinario Mabini? I hope it won’t commit the crime of imputing Mabini’s paralysis due to syphilis, which was the propaganda of the mestizos / ilustrados who were against the original team of Aguinaldo, Mabini and Luna. The mestizos led by Pedro Paterno conspired with the Americans and divided (and later conquered) the Aguinaldo – Mabini – Luna team.


From the very last scene, after the credits, it looks like the third part would be a movie on Quezon. The scene was in 1935, during the election for the Commonwealth Presidency.

Quezon was the candidate of the Americans. And they did their best to malign and spread rumors and fake news against Quezon’s rival, who was none other than America’s old enemy, Emilio Aguinaldo!


President Duterte ordered the arrest of Trillanes because the latter allegedly did not have a duly-filled up application form. The Justice Dept. asked a court for an arrest warrant for Trillanes and the Makati regional trial court judge issued such a warrant on the grounds that Senator Trillanes could not present a copy of his application form for amnesty.

In 1927, Quezon and Aguinaldo had a public quarrel over a piece of land. During a meeting of the Veterans Association, Aguinaldo announced the expulsion of Quezon and a few other veterans (of the Katipunan). Quezon laughed it out and said that the association was a farce and that he was never a member of that association. Aguinaldo then showed the press Quezon’s application form and another document showing Aguinaldo’s approval.

Like Trillanes, Quezon could not possibly have a copy of his application form. Custody of application form lies with the concerned organization. In Trillanes’s case, the Department of National Defense and in Quezon’s case, the Association of the Veterans of the Revolution. Apparently, application forms play an important role among the Magdalos, then and now.


But wait, while Heneral Luna ang Goyo were both directed by Jerrold Tarog, there’s a previous movie – Bonfacio, ang Unang Pangulo (2014), which was megged by another director, Enzo Williams. But the mestizo duo of Rocha and Ortiz were also the producers. Thus, this is the first movie, and Heneral Luna and Goyo are the sequels.

So, the trilogy of Rocha and Ortigas (and most probably the fourth film, too, which would make it a quadrilogy) is actually a very calculated attack on the memory of the country’s first President, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. In fact, in their first film, they already tried to FAKE HISTORY by claiming that Bonifacio was the first President! He was the Supremo of the Katipunan, a secret society, not a country! At best, he was the Supremo or Pangulo or Hari ng Bayan of the Haring Bayang Katagalugan (Sovereign Tagalog Nation). Perhaps he could be called the First and only King of the Tagalogs! After all, Aguinaldo maintained that Bonifacio was a monarchist while he (Aguinaldo) was a republican.


While the Magdiwang faction also declared a revolutionary government, according to some accounts, nothing really came of it. It was superseded by the Tejeros Convention and other events. Emilio Aguinaldo was declared President of the Republic of the Philippines, with an Army (headed by Luna), a Congress (Malolos Congress), with a Prime Minister (Mabini and later, Paterno) and Cabinet and with a Declaration of Independence. Aguinaldo’s government covered most of the Philippines, except for Moroland, the Land of the Moros.

Nobody can take away the distinction of being the founder of the Katipunan and the Father of the Revolution from Andres Bonifacio. And the distinction of being the first President of the Republic of the Philippines lies firmly with Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy. Both had their strengths and weaknesses. Both were great men and heroes of the Tagalog and Filipino peoples.


Back to Goyo, after the battle, the American soldiers took del Pilar’s belongings as war trophies. These included a lady’s handkerchief, a locket with a photo of a girl and a diary. Although not shown or mentioned in the movie, the last entry in the diary of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar was :

“The General [Aguinaldo] has given me the pick of all the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the Pass. I realize what a terrible task has been given me. And yet I felt that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great.”


Are those the thoughts of a hero and patriot or an ambitious, murderous, womanizing soldier?

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