Sunday, January 8, 2012

Margarita Ventenilla-Hamada on Jose Rizal

One of the country's incisive writers whom I have tremendous admiration for is Margarita Ventenilla-Hamada, author of "Swatting the Spanish Flies," a critical commentary on Philippine history.  She is also an educator, having founded Harvent Schools in Dagupan City and Lingayen, Pangasinan.  

She had sent me a copy of her reaction to Manuel F. Almario's article published by the Philippine Inquirer on its front page, December 31, 2011 edition.  She had also requested that I share it with my readers.  Herewith her response:

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Will the real Jose Rizal please stand up?
               (Deconstructing Almario’s fiction of Rizal as a rebel-hero)
                                    By Margarita Ventenilla-Hamada

Nationalists and ideologies

            There are three kinds of nationalists.  For want of a better term, I shall classify them as A, B, or C.  The ‘A’ nationalists can tell gold (freedom or human rights) from the gold-plated trinket (political independence).  They buy the gold because they know the intricacies of the market well enough to profit, and not lose from their investment.

            The ‘B’ nationalists, on the other hand, cannot tell one from the other.  Neither do they have the panache of a seasoned trader.  So, they get easily conned to invest in trinkets whose glitter feeds their illusion that they have a treasure in their hands.

            The ‘C’ nationalists are not nationalists at all.  Pseudos, they prey on the ‘B’ nationalists’ penchant for glitter and build their fortune selling them their trinkets, which they claim cost them their lives mining, smelting and designing them.  The ‘B’ nationalists glorify these quacks as heroes for such sacrifice and look askance at the ‘A’ nationalists whose keen eyes they do not have and whose safe way of acquiring their gold through reputable shops is, to them, cowardly, not heroic. 

            These buyers of trinkets—the B nationalists, snigger at the class A nationalists—the ‘mere reformers’  and men of peace like Jose Rizal whose revolution is not a violent, bloody one; whose weapon is the pen and not the sword; whose battlefield is the psyche of both tyrant and slave; whose ideology is liberty, not political independence.

Coward or Hero?

            Manuel F. Almario wrote an article extolling Jose Rizal, not as a reformer and man of peace but as the opposite— a man “generally acknowledged as the inspiration, if not instigator of national independence and unity”---in order to redeem him in the eyes of his fellow B nationalists.  In his article, “Rizal: ‘Amboy’ or home-made hero?” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 31 December 2011, front page), he ran rough shod over historical facts, twisting them to justify, and even peddle his dangerous trinket—political independence to an as yet unprepared people, and its very criminal means of getting it: armed revolution.  He offered as support for his arguments, thrice altered hearsay, instead of authentic primary sources.  He also deliberately disregarded historical data and the words of Rizal himself to better be able to foist his conclusion on his readers as the correct one.

La Solidaridad

            For instance, he states that Rizal was the founder of La Solidaridad, (which, in his opinion, was subversive) although Rizal himself said he was not, in the following words:

(The La Solidaridad) was founded by Marcelo H. del Pilar and was always edited by him…when I wanted to criticize the actions of La Solidaridad, Marcelo H. del Pilar was against it…This proves that the political (policy) of the paper was never under my direction.  (Rizal’s rebuttal of the statements of the thirteen affiants against him in his trial).

Almario also concludes that the La Solidaridad “propagandists” (led by Rizal) who asked for equal status and rights as the citizens of Spain and representation in the Spanish Cortes were “revolutionary” because, he writes, “when a slave demands to be equal to his master, it is a revolution.”  Does Almario’s position as spokesperson for the Movement for Truth in History give him the license to make sweeping, unsupported conclusions such as this?

The Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo

            Almario also sweeps aside what Rizal himself had said about his purpose in writing the Fili and gives the impression that he knows Rizal’s purpose better than Rizal himself by saying :  “Rizal took a leave from the newspaper (La Solidaridad) to devote his time to writing a novel (El Filibusterismo) that would more dramatically denounce the tyranny of the Spanish regime, and thus arouse the fury and igniting the latent nationalism of the Filipinos into the conflagration of revolution.”  Not at all!  The Fili is a sequel to the Noli, whose purpose, wrote Rizal to his critic, Barrantes, was not to incite a revolution, but to effect the Filipinos’ mental and moral evolution.  Let us read Rizal’s own words;

     Yes, I have depicted the social sores of ‘my homeland’;  in it are ‘pessimism and darkness’ and it is because I see much infamy in my country; there the wretched equal in number the imbeciles.  I confess that I found a keen delight in bringing out so much shame and blushes, but in doing the painting with the blood of my heart, I wanted to correct them and save the others. (Reply to Barrantes’ criticism of the Noli, 15 Feb 1890, La Solidaridad).
Its sequel, the Fili, wrote Rizal, is a study of subversion, to make his readers see “the structure of its skeleton”, not an enticement for it: “If the sight should lead our Country and its Government to reflexion, (Note: not subversion!) we shall be happy no matter how our boldness may be censured...” (Dedication page, El Filibusterismo, Europe, 1891).  Then Rizal ends the Fili with the following paragraph:

He (Father Florentino) then hurled “the steel chest which contained Simoun’s fabulous treasure “ into the sea and prayed: “When men should need you for a purpose holy and sublime, God will know how to raise you from the bottom of the seas.  Until then, you will do no evil there, you will not thwart justice or incite greed.
Does this sound like an enticement to subversion?  Rizal made it so clear that revolution is evil because it thwarts justice and incites greed.  Yet Almario, who is hell-bent in ‘redeeming’ Rizal by ‘elevating’ him as a terrorist to fit his idea of a true hero gives us another impetuous insight: “Ibarra morphs into the terrorist/revolutionary/separatist Simoun.  A tight parallel could be drawn between the real life of Rizal and the fictional life of Ibarra turned Simoun.”

            But Rizal says he is not Ibarra/Simuon! He said so in his letter to Barrantes which was published in the La Solidaridad:  “I myself, ‘the man’, the Ibarra of Your Excellency (I know not why, for I am neither rich nor a mestizo, nor an orphan, nor do the qualities of Ibarra coincide with mine.) – (La Solidaridad, 15 Ferbruary 1890).  On a later date, Rizal says: “That was my purpose in depicting the dark character of Simuon so that it might be realized that the members of the La Solidaridad are not subversive.” –(letter to M.H. del Pilar 23 May 1892).

Rizal’s essays

            Next, Almario holds up the warnings on revolution contained in Rizal’s essay, The Philippines, a Century Hence and in a proclamation Rizal addressed to Our Dear Mother Country Spain as proofs that Rizal had preached revolution.  Had Almario made preliminary studies first, he would not have missed what Rizal said about these ‘warnings’.  This is what Rizal said about them:  “I have also believed that, if Spain systematically denied democratic rights to the Philippines, there would be insurrections and so I have said in my writings, deploring any such eventuality, but not hoping for it.”  - (Memorandum for My Defense 12 December 1896)

            Almario must not dismiss this Memorandum as a desperate, out-of-character attempt of Rizal to get himself off the hook, as he, Almario has just done, for Rizal’s aversion to revolutions was patently consistent and clear from the beginning of his writing career.  Let’s take a look at how he described revolutions years before he was accused as the instigator of the Katipunan:  In an article he contributed to the La Solidaridad, “The Truth for All”, 31 May, 1889, he warned the Spanish government in the Philippines:

If you continue the system of banishments, imprisonments and sudden assaults for nothing, if you will punish the people for your own faults, you will make them desperate, you take away from them the horror of revolutions and disturbances, you harden them and excite them to fight.
He used the word, ‘horror’.  Does this not say the opposite of what Almario is trying to prove?

La Liga Filipina

            Almario now turns to La Liga Filipina’s constitution as another proof that Rizal, its founder, is a subversive.  He writes:  “The constitution of the La Liga Filipina was in actuality a separatist document, a virtual declaration of independence.”  After quoting the purposes of the Liga, he declares:  “In effect, Rizal was proposing a separate government.  In the indictment of treason against the Spanish regime, the formation of the Liga was one of the charges against him.”  To this charge, Rizal had countered brilliantly and truthfully:

Let them show the statutes of the Liga and it will be seen that what I was pursuing were union, commercial and industrial development and the like.  That these things---union and money---after years could prepare for a revolution, I don’t have to deny; but they could also prevent all revolutions, because people who live comfortably and have money do not go for adventures. –(“Data for my Defense” 12 December 1896, Fort Santiago)
Two weeks later, Rizal added:

            The Liga  was not an association with harmful purposes and that is proven by the fact they had to abandon it to organize the Katipunan which perhaps was the one that fulfilled their purposes.  For the little that the Liga might have served for the rebellion they would not have abandoned it.  Instead they would have simply modified it, for if, as someone alleges, I’m the chief, out of consideration for me and for the prestige of my name, they would have preserved the name Liga.  For having rejected it, name and all, for creating the Katipunan, clearly proves that neither did they count on me nor did the Liga serve their purposes, for another association is not formed when there is one already established. – (“Additions to my Defense” 26 December 1896, Fort Santiago).

Historical Data

            Then, Almario invents a historical information about the reasons for Rizal’s deportation to Dapitan.  He writes:  “Within three days after the founding of the Liga, Rizal was arrested and exiled to Dapitan.  The authorities correctly apprehended that Rizal had transgressed the bounds of reformism, stepping into the dangerous grounds of revolution.”  Where did Almario get this information about the authorities’ reason in exiling Rizal to Dapitan?  He or his sources must have made it up because according to Leon Ma. Guerrero, the reason Despujol had exiled Rizal was because of the anti papal pamphlets found in the luggage of his sister who arrived with him from HongKong.  Being a devoted papist, Despujol was livid.  Guerrero based his statement on what Rizal had written down in his diary:

            After we had conversed a while he (Despujol) told me that I had brought some proclamations in my baggage;  I denied it.  He asked me to whom the pillows and sleeping mat might belong and I said they were my sister’s. – (Diary entry, 6 July 1892)

Guerrero continues, “He was kept eight days in the Fort.  On the 14th July he was notified that he would be taken to Dapitan in Mindanaw at 10 o’clock that night.” (Guerrero, “The First Flipino”).
Not having read this entry in Rizal’s diary, or disregarding it if he had, Almario then makes an impetuous conclusion:  “Indeed, his exile was the blow that convinced the followers of Rizal that seeking reforms through peaceful means was pointless.”  Where is his proof of this?  According to some extant letters unearthed, his exile was the opportunity that del Pilar seized upon to organize a separatist club.  With Rizal out in Mindanao, he (del Pilar) can now push for independence through armed revolution—an issue that Rizal had blocked at every opportunity while they were together in Europe.  Del Pilar told his brother-in-law, Deodato Arellano to organize the Katipunan in preparation for an armed revolution for independence.


            Now Almario turns to the aid of hearsay, dignifying Pio Valenzuela’s four different accounts of his meeting with Rizal, in his zeal to reinvent Rizal into his one-dimensional idea of a hero.  But first, let us read Pio Valenzuela’s first account of his meeting with Rizal in Dapitan, as it is more credible, because it is consistent with Rizal’s writings as early as 1884.   Leon Ma. Guerrero tells us in his book, The First Filipino that:

           Bonifacio had at first been reluctant to believe Valenzuela’s report of Rizal’s attitude.  (No, no, no!  A thousand times no!) but, once convinced of its truth, he ‘began to insult Rizal, calling him a coward and other offensive names.’  Bonifacio for his own reasons, had forbidden Valenzuela to reveal Rizal’s disapproval of the Revolution, but he had done so anyway, and many of those who had offered contributions had backed out.
But Almario deliberately and conveniently disregards this more credible report of Pio Valenzuela.  Instead, he chooses to quote the revised versions of Valenzuela’s conversation with Rizal as recorded in his (Valenzuela’s) memoirs which are more compatible with his (Almario’s) purpose but which are so at variance with Rizal’s sentiments about revolutions that they are absolutely comical.  Almario writes:

Rizal and Valenzuela conversed conspiratorially in a shady nook away from Rizal’s house on June 21, 1896…Rizal was elated by the news of the Katipunan’s existence and murmured, ‘ So the seed grows,’ ecstatic that the seed of revolution he had sown was sprouting.
Then he cites the opinion of historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo that upon hearing of the Katipunan from Pio Valenzuela, Rizal

gave no objection to armed revolution but only cautioned that if an insurrection was to be staged, all efforts should be exerted to gather sufficient arms in order to ensure success and avoid unnecessary casualties and sufferings of civilians and insurrectionists.
 It seems that Almario was just too glad to see Agoncillo fall for Pio Valenzuela’s revised version of that meeting with Rizal that he quotes Agoncillo’s opinion:  “It is obvious that Rizal was not against revolution itself but was only against it in the absence of preparation and arms on the part of the rebels.”
But Rizal, who is not known to be a flip-flop, wrote down his own account of that meeting with Pio Valenzuela.  This is what he wrote:

            I have always been opposed to rebellion because I was hoping Spain would give us soon liberties (Note: human rights), as I told Pio Valenzuela, because I could see that in order to forestall future events, a very close union between Spain and the Filipino people was necessary.
Since 6 July 1892 I have absolutely not taken up politics until 1 July of this year when, informed by Mr. Pio Valenzuela that an uprising was planned, I advised the opposite, trying to convince him with reasons.  Mr. Pio Valenzuela separated from me seemingly convinced, so much so that instead of taking part later in the rebellion, he presented himself to the authorities for forgiveness.
Mr. Pio Valenzuela came to advise me to put me in safety, for, according to him, it was possible that they would complicate (sic) me.  As I considered myself entirely innocent and I didn’t know the how and the wherefore of the movement (besides I believed I had convinced Mr. Valenzuela), I took no precautions, except that when the Most Excellent Governor General wrote me advising me of my departure for Cuba, I embarked immediately, abandoning all my affairs. – (Data for my Defense  12 December 1896)
In the face of Rizal’s own, unrevised account of that same meeting, it is truly difficult for an objective reader of history to swallow Pio Valenzuela’s many versions, unless he has a very personal agenda to adhere to.

Rizal’s mission in Cuba

            Even Rizal’s intention to volunteer as military doctor in Cuba was fictionized by Pio Valenzuela and his piece of fiction is swallowed hook, line and sinker by Almario:

            “My intention,” Rizal whispered to Pio, “…is to study the war in a practical way, to go through the Cuban soldiery and find something to remedy the bad situation in our country.  Then after a time, I would return to our native land when necessity arises.”

In short, writes Almario, “he (Rizal) was preparing himself for the revolution.”

            Almario would not have swallowed this piece of fiction and made this ludicrous conclusion had he done some serious reading and research.  First, Blanco’s letter of approval of Rizal’s request to be sent to Cuba arrived on 30 July 1896, two weeks after Pio Valenzuela’s departure from Dapitan.  How could he (Valenzuela) have known that Rizal was going to Cuba?  Could Rizal have told him about his trip to Cuba when his application wasn’t approved yet?  The fact is, during Pio Valenzuela’s visit, Rizal had given up is plan to go to Cuba.  Then, suddenly, two weeks after Valenzuela had left Dapitan, Blanco’s approval arrived, and he wrote Blumentritt about the good news some time after:  “I no longer planned to go to Cuba since more than six months had passed since my application, but, fearing that my refusal to go at that time might be attributed to some other cause, I decided to abandon everything and leave immediately.” 

            From Rizal’s letters to his sister, Trinidad and his best friend, Blumentritt, we can surmise why he agreed to take the suggestion of Blumentritt to go to Cuba:  “With regard to your advice on going to Cuba as a doctor, I think it is an excellent idea.  I am writing immediately to the Governor General.” – (Letter to Blumentritt  20 November 1895).  He was tired of his exile and of the relentless efforts of the religious there to re-convert him to Catholicism.  He also felt bad that these same religious refused his request to marry Josephine Bracken unless he retracted his views on religion and the religious:  “I am beginning to feel unwell,” he explained to his sister Trinidad.  “I do not think I can endure much longer the kind of life I lead here: much work, poor food, and not a few troubles.”

            If Rizal had indeed confided his plans to learn the art of war in Cuba to a complete stranger like Pio Valenzuela, why didn’t he do the same—confide to his best friend, Blumentritt?  Almario should have asked this question first before pouncing on Pio Valenzuela’s fictionized memoirs to bolster his preposterous arguments.

            Then again, Almario’s lack of research makes him commit the unconscionable.  He calls Rizal an accomplice  of the insurgents because he writes, “Rizal never betrayed his knowledge of the plot to the authorities…” when in fact, it is on record that Rizal did.  This, Rizal states unequivocally: 

            When later, despite my counsels, the uprising broke out, I offered spontaneously, not only my services, but also my life, and even my name so that they might use them in the way they deem opportune in order to quench the rebellion; for, convinced of the evils that it might bring, I considered myself happy if with any sacrifice, I could forestall so many needless misfortunes.  This is also on record. – (Manifesto to Some Filipinos  15 December 1896)
            Why doesn’t Almario believe Rizal?  Why does he choose to believe Pio Valenzuela, a flip-flopping liar, as Dr. R. M. Bernardo, a Rizal scholar calls him?  Because his purpose is not to tell the truth, as he should do, being the spokesperson of the Movement for Truth in History, but to fit Rizal into his one-dimensional idea of a  B nationalist’s hero—a delirious revolutionary like Andres Bonifacio and an ambitiously cunning Emilio Aguinaldo--- those C nationalists so adored by B nationalists like himself.

Rizal’s Manifesto to Some Filipinos

            But Almario’s repudiation of Rizal’s Manifesto as the best proof of his (Rizal’s) true advocacies, is the most dismaying, yet.  In this Manifesto, Rizal denounced the Katipunan in very strong terms, calling it absurd, fatal, savage, criminal, and a dishonor to Filipinos, and asked the rebels to go home.   So, Almario tells his readers to view it “from the circumstances of its writing.  Not only did he face a death sentence, Rizal must have also been thinking of trying to save his family from further persecution.”  How can Almario say this when Rizal’s Manifesto wasn’t the first article he wrote against armed revolutions for independence?  As early as 1884 and up till a few hours before his execution, he has been denouncing armed revolutions/independence while preaching about the Philippines’ future assimilation with Spain!
The following are excerpts from his articles arranged chronologically:
1884 (June 25) Speech at the Luna-Hidalgo banquet in Madrid:

            …we have all come here to this banquet to join our wishes, in order to give form to the mutual embrace of two races that love one another and like one another, morally, socially and politically united for a period of four centuries so that they may form in the future one single nation in spirit, in their duties, in their views, in their privileges.

1889 (May 31) The Truth for All ( La Solidaridad):

            And we say loyally to the Spanish government:  We shall say what we think, even though many be displeased.  We want to be loyal to the Metropolis and to her high officials.

1890 (February 1) The Philippines a Century Hence (La Solidaridad):

            The Philippines, then, either will remain under Spain but with more rights and freedom, or will declare herself independent after staining herself and the Mother Country with her own blood.  As no one should wish or hope for such an unfortunate rupture of relations which would be bad for all and should only be the last argument in a most desperate case, let us examine the forms of peaceful evolution under which the Islands could remain under the Spanish flag without injuring in the least the rights, interests, or dignity of both countries.
                ........We know that the lack of enlightenment, the pusillanimity, the selfishness of many of our compatriots, and the audacity, the astuteness, and the powerful means at the command of those who want obscurantism to prevail there can convert the reform into an obnoxious instrument.  But we wish to be loyal to the government and we point out to it the road that seems to us best so that its efforts would not come to naught, so that the discontented elements would disappear.  If after such a just as well as necessary measure is implemented, the Filipino people are so foolish and pusillanimous that they would turn against their own interests, then, let them bear the responsibilities and suffer all the consequences.  Every country meets the fate that she deserves, and the government can say that it has fulfilled its duty.

1892 (March 21)  Letter to Governor General Despujol, Hong Kong:

            I consider it my duty not only to respect your administration but also to get, should it be necessary, the adherence to Spain of all the Filipinos.

1892 (June 20) Letter to the Filipinos, Hong Kong:
            Happen what may, I shall die blessing her (the Philippines) and desiring the dawn of her redemption. (Note: not independence!)

1894 (February, no date) Letter to Governor General Blanco, Dapitan
            ….my crime would be for having desired what the Constitution and our laws assign to us, for having wanted our liberty, and I say liberty and not independence because I know very well that people can be independent and a slave at the same time, like many peoples of Asia, and on the contrary, one can be a colony and dependent but equally free and happy as we see in many countries in Oceania.

1896 (December 12) Data for my Defense:

            Well now, many have interpreted my phrase ‘to have liberties as to have independence’ which are two different things.  A people can be free without being independent and a people can be independent without being free.  I have always desired liberties for the Philippines and I have said so.  Others who testify that I said Independence either have put the cart before the horse or they lie.
                I cannot deny that sometimes rebellious and punishable ideas have crossed my imagination, especially when my family was being persecuted, but afterwards reflection, the reality of facts, the absurdity of the thought, made me recover my senses, because I don’t believe I’m stupid or foolish to want an impossible and senseless thing.
                …separatist ideas are not mine; rather I am their effect.

1896 (December 29, seven hours before his execution) letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt:

My dear brother,
When you receive this letter I shall be dead.  I shall be shot tomorrow at seven o’clock, but I am innocent of the crime of rebellion.
                I am going to die with a clear conscience.
                Farewell, my best, my dearest friend, and never think ill of me!

Rizal’s Adios

            Finally, Almario uses Rizal’s “Adios” to prove, by his own subjective interpretation, that he, (Rizal) applauded the rebels and wished them to succeed in winning independence for his beloved country.  A closer, more objective study of the Adios, however, shows the opposite.  Rizal described the rebels as an unthinking, delirious mob, who know not the consequences of their action, too easily seduced by the C nationalists’ favorite slogan—“for country and home”, a slogan used by terrorists all over the world until now.  He is willing to die, if his death will stop the carnage, and his beloved country will live and find redemption (Note: not independence!), at last.  His death indeed stopped the carnage, albeit for a while, because demoralized by his unjust and cruel death, and tempted by the cash reward offered, the rebels sold the Katipunan to the authorities barely a year later (December 15, 1897), at the Pact of Biak na Bato.  But his country only got political independence 50 years later from another foreign power and not yet the redemption (the people’s mental and moral evolution) he tried so hard to bring about.


            One of the major reasons for the Philippines becoming a third world nation after the USA granted her political independence is:  No other class A nationalist openly took Rizal’s place after his death.
            Our historians and scholars who handled the lessons of our past were and are B and C nationalists.  They extol and continue to extol the trinket called political independence while condemning Rizal’s smarter choice for a still weak people—gold nuggets of civil liberties via assimilation into a first world nation—by denying that he ever chose this for us.  Being what they are—B and C nationalists, they couldn’t see or they deny what they see--the danger of the trinket they preferred---that in the hands of the weak and wicked, this independence becomes a threat to civil liberty (remember Martial Law?) and progress (look at our unemployed, our homeless, our millions of OFWs, our garbage, etc.)  as it has indeed become in the Philippines. I have yet to meet one among our historians/scholars who is focused on bringing about our redemption by examining possible technologies that may effect our moral evolution.

            If our B and C nationalists do not morph into class A nationalists soon, we will forever be producing student activists like the 43,000 cadres of the ‘70s who took up arms against Marcos’ government and died accomplishing nothing. The evil they blamed on Marcos’ government persists up to this day long after he and his government have gone.  Just like how Bonifacio’s Katipuneros and Aguinaldo’s guerillas accomplished nothing, too, not even winning the independence they pretended to pursue.  This is the truth in our history.  The independence granted us by the Americans was not due to any ‘heroic’ efforts of our B and C nationalists but to the Americans’ shrewd realization that they can colonize us more efficiently if we had an independent democratic government.  Through our elections, they can put their ‘chosen’ in top positions and get everything they want, without compromising their noble statutes’ stand against acts of subjugation.  Those “chosen’ who don’t do as they are told are assassinated (Magsaysay) or ignominiously removed (Marcos, Erap) by adverse press their ambassadors sow among the populace who had been molded to be B and C nationalists by our historians.

            We need class A nationalists to give us, in the words of Alejandro Roces, a ‘factual and objective perspective—one that strives for meaningful interpretation of people and events of the dim past,’ not a warped, subjective appraisal of these to support one’s inferior and dangerous ideology.

            Until these class A nationalists come forward, Rizal will remain, long after the sesquicentennial of the year of his birth, the dreamer of unfulfilled dreams of peace and progress (the fruits of redemption) in his beloved Philippines.

(The author is the Founder/Directress of two non-traditional schools, HARVENT SCHOOL in Dagupan City and Lingayen, Pangasinan.  She is the author of 2 books on Rizal, Swatting the Spanish Flies and Transcending Rizal, and books on education and Quantum Physics and skillbooks on the 3 basic academic skills.)

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Related link:

A True Hero

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What JPR Told Bonifacio’s Emissary

     Highly nationalistic PDI contributor Manuel Almario’s long detailed portrait (in PDI, 12/31/ 2011) of our PH top hero’s core-identity  as a “Bonifacian” deep down has got me all stirred up. That astonishing view was fully developed and defended by Professor Quibuyen in his major late 1990s book. My online  book (at on Rizal’s still unappreciated core-teachings clashed with that view of the ascendant highly nationalistic school of PHhistory. No matter how we Filipinos might wish Rizal to have violently fought side-by-side with Bonifacio against the latter’s most hated foe, Spain, the facts of the case say so otherwise. I would endorse here instead PDI columnist Randy David’s portrait of him on December 29 as “the first Filipino modern…[believer of] the power of scientific reason” who valued individual liberties most of all and would not consciously lie in manifestoes and testimonies during his trial, not even to save his neck. Almario thinks otherwise. He forces the facts to fit his highly nationalistic ideology, as we shall see.

      He wrote that Rizal “conversed conspiratorially [with Katipunero Valenzuela]” and “was elated by news of the Katipunan’s existence….gave no objection to armed revolution, but only cautioned … to gather sufficient arms [and brainy well-off members]…” Faced with Rizal’s famous anti-rebellion manifesto, Almario explains it away by saying it was calculated half-truths lacking veracity done for his defense in order to save his life. This revisionist nationalistic reinterpretation of the facts revolves around Valenzuela’s suspiciously flip-flopping recollections decades later. These shockingly contradict his earliest testimonies reporting Rizal’s deeply expressed opposition to the rebellion and use of his name. Upon being heatedly told this, the rightly agitated Valenzuela rushed home from Dapitan to relay it to his fellow topmost rebels. Their resounding silence and secrecy over so important a matter is confirmation as well. More confirmation comes from testimonies around that time by Valenzuela’s own colleagues. More important than anything else, Valenzuela’s earliest relayed report and testimonies were as a whole impliedly confirmed many times by Rizal himself in many of his testimonies, diary entries and letters.
By Roberto M. Bernardo, 2/1/2012

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Related link:

Erap: Victim of circumstance?


1 comment:

  1. Hello Eric,

    It's good to see you & happy you're back to blogging again! I miss you my friend. I went to Bohol a couple of years ago & I only knew you are now staying in the island I could have say hello to you!

    Thank you for this beautiful & well written article of Ms. Margarita Ventenilla-Hamada. A great reply to Manuel Almario's wrong history!

    Take care Eric or you are still Senor Enrique - the multi-award blogger for me!
    ka tony