LETTER TO AMBETH OCAMPO ON LUNA AND MABINI

Generl Antonio LunaJFAV UPDATES
September 30, 2015

LETTER TO AMBETH OCAMPO ON LUNA AND MABINI

September 27, 2015

Dear Ambeth,

This is my rejoinder to your interview in 1984 with the eminent historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo that you wrote in your column “Two Mabinis, Two Lunas,”

You stated, “ In my interviews with Agoncillo, he said: While Aguinaldo is not personally involved in the death of either Luna or Andres Bonifacio, he should be held to account for the behavior which he did not order investigated.
Ambeth R. Ocampo: Do you think he tried to cover up?

TAA: That was Aguinaldo’s mistake. Granted, Luna was assassinated. Why did he not order the investigation of those people who assassinated Luna? That was his responsibility. I’m not pro-Aguinaldo or pro-Bonifacio. I judge a person on the basis of the documents available. If the time comes that I am proved wrong and other documents are shown, then I’ll accept it. Conclusions are not final, because nobody can say that I have exhausted all my sources. No! Ang anti-Aguinaldo si Vivencio Jose, masyadong pro-Luna. This is the kind of thinking I do not like.”

Although Agoncillo is saying that he is not pro-Aguinaldo all his writing shows the bias to his relative, General Aguinaldo. Reading his book,”The Revolt of the Masses”, it will seem he was dissecting Bonifacio but in fact maligning him. Sa Pilipino, “hampas sa kabayo. Latay sa kalabaw”

According to you, Agoncillo said, “ Hindi! [Jose] suppressed the documents. It’s all right if it is a question of interpretation, but the trouble is he suppressed. Kahit na kasalanan ni Luna, he is trying to suppress [the documentation]. Example: the letter of Mabini to Aguinaldo denouncing Luna. Hindi niya binanggit. The letter of Baldomero [Aguinaldo] to [Emilio] Aguinaldo denouncing Luna? Hindi niya inilagay. Ang sabi lang niya, naiinggit lang iyong mga taong attacked.

I have read Vivencio Jose’s book on Luna. And he even clearly stated that Luna did not support the Katipunan. Did Jose suppressed documents? I say no.

Dr.Jose was very clear that Luna was implicated in the Katipunan. First, by the documents showing he (Luna) was one of the leaders of the revolution together with other big names like the Zobel, Atayde and others.

He was also implicated by Dr. Pio Valenzula who gave information to the Spanish when he was arrested. Rizal was also implicated by Valenzulea who visited him in Dapitana nd asked the Katipunan to recruit Luna for his military knowledge.

Dr. Jose also wrote that Luna was tortured and never denied that Luna informed on the Katipunan to spare himself from torture. But does this make Luna a traitor?

And by the way, I think if Agoncillo has documents to prove Luna informed on the Katipunan, he should have came out with the documents. Not just make plain talks and shower Luna with innuendoes.

But did he not do the same? He also suppressed documents . He did not even used as reference the memoirs of General Santiago “Apoy” Alvarez, “The Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution “ that came out in the 1920’s. And why did he not use it? Is it not suppressing document too ?

Again, Agoncillo attacked Mabini because Mabini has wrote against his relative Aguinaldo. And label him as “ inconsistent.”

He said,” That is the superficiality of these people. Mabini is inconsistent. Firstly anti-[Luna] later pro-[Luna]. You should study [the sources and the motives]. If you are really critically minded, why is this fellow now anti-Aguinaldo? You should try to discover why.”

Most of all, I find Agoncillo as so arrogant to malign Luna the way he malign Bonifacio saying:

“ How did he become a hero? ….He never won any battle, papaano mo sasabihing hero iyan? sinunod daw si Luna, yung guerilla warfare. Noong panahong sinasabi niyang maggegerilya, hindi maaari ang guerilla eh because the Americans were still weak at the time, papaano gegerilyahin iyan? Pangalawa, there was no preparation for guerilla warfare. Hindi niya ina-analyze. All that he wants is to justify all the things that Luna did.”

Don’t get me wrong. I still consider Agoncillo a nationalist historian. But his fault is he is so rabid Pro-Aguinaldo that he malign Bonifacio and General Antonio Luna to protect his relative.

He maybe a historian but not a good military historian. On that account, he dismiss even the comment of American Generals who believed that General Antonio Luna was the ” best General the Filipino Republican forces ” have at that time.

It is easy for Agoncillo to say Bonifacio never won any battle because for him as a historian, you are a good military leader only if you win battles.

Agoncillo did not know that even great military man like George Washington lost his battles too. Even Fidel Castro was captured during their failed attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26. But later they won the Cuban revolution.

But that is besides the point. It was General Luna who was at the forefront of the battles from Manila to Caloocan up to Calumpit, Bulacan that delayed the advance of the Americans to Malolos and let Aguinaldo escape to the north, that itself was a mark of good generalship.

And to direct the offensive in Manila that almost succeeded is a magnificent feat itself. Why did the arrogant Agoncillo demean and malign General Luna? Just to favor his own relative Emilio Aguinaldo?

Well, if Agoncillo used the the memoirs of General Santiago Alvarez. Or Heneral Apoy’s “Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution “ that came out in the 1920’s, he will find out that the true hero at the Battle of Dalahican or Binakayan was General Mariano Alvarez and not Emilio Aguinaldo.

And yet many historian allied to Agoncillo says Aguinaldo was the leader at the Battle of Binakayan when Aguinaldo was not EVEN THERE!

And what did Aguinaldo do to fight the Americans? Just to run away and issue directives. And when was captured, to swear allegiance to the Americans and receive a pension from the Americans until he died.

Agoncillo rode on his anti-Americanism to favor Aguinaldo and malign other of our heroes like Bonifacio and Luna. He says.” we historian should base our conclusions to documentary evidences” but when Mabini documented is memoirs and wrote against Aguinaldo he says Mabini is two faced and bias. But what is he? Is he not biased.?

I am happy that here in the United States” historian does not solely base their history on written documents. They use oral history to capture the essence of history”

And that is what Agoncillo miss. He can ignore the oral history of the Filipino people but every one knows and it was passed orally from generations to generations that Aguinaldo ordered the assassination of Andres Bonifacio and General Antonio Luna.

Agoncillo in his books can focus on the temperamental and emotional of General Antonio Luna and call him as a “traitor” and demean his heroism but the Filipino people know best.

To say that there are “Two Mabini’s and Two Luna’s” is to cast doubts on the heroism of our heroes and malign them to favor somebody else.

Sincerely yours,

Arturo P. Garcia
Los Angeles,California
United States of America

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