Daily Archives: October 30, 2016

GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA, THE GREATEST FILIPINO ANTI -IMPERIALIST GENERAL

CULTURAL NOTES
October 29, 2016

GENERAL ANTONIO LUNA, THE GREATEST FILIPINO ANTI -IMPERIALIST GENERAL

By Arturo P. Garciaantonio_luna_small

( In honor of the 150th Birth Anniversary of General Antonio Luna, i re-published this article. I added small notes and minor editions. General Luna was born of October 29, 1866 in Binondo, Manila.

I wrote this article In commemoration of the 149th Birth Anniversary of General Antonio Luna on October 29, 2015. The Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) published this article)

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As a historian and a military historian, I rise to the defend of the greatest anti-imperialist Filipino General Antonio Luna and to refute the innuendoes of the so called”pre-immenent Filipino historian”

Teodoro Agoncillo who by the way is related to the family of Emilio Aguinaldo. He who says, “ General Luna is no hero, and a general who never won any battles.”

Wild and False Charges

The charges of Agoncillo is not true but a continuing campaign to malign General Antonio Luna including also UP professor Dr. Vivencio Jose who wrote the book, “The Rise and Fall of Antonio Luna” (1982) which became the reference of the film-Heneral Luna.

The Agoncillo led campaign is to demean General Luna as a ‘temperemental hot-head” and “abrasive” to justify his assassination and dastardly murder on June 5, 1899 and hide the accountability of General Emilio Aguinaldo in the assassination of Luna.

As a military historian unlike the armchair historians like Agoncillo, I rise to defend Luna , Bonifacio and others to protect not only their honor.

This also to defend and to protect the honor of those brave patriots who died in the defense of our freedom against the Spanish Colonialist and American imperialist and those who want to malign them.

General Luna Won his First Battle as A Brigade Commander

General_Manuel_Tinio,_General_Benito_Natividad,_LtCol_Jose_Alejandrino

First, it is not true that General Luna never won a battle. Actually he was one of then a Colonels of the Republican army that liberated Manila during the Battle for Manila in August 13, 1898 in the coordinated American and Filipino attack against the Spanish forces.

Luna headed a Republican army brigade that handled the sector that occupied and drove away the Spanish army in their block houses in the suburbs of Sampaloc and Quiapo up Santa Cruz and Binondo. Luna was just a new commissioned General and together with other Filipino Generals took the suburbs of Manila except the walled City of Manila.

Luna and other Generals like Pio Del Pilar and Mariano Noriel saw the duplicity of the Americans when they occupied Intramuros and won’t let the Filipinos entered the walled city. That early, their suspicion was proven true when they were not allowed to enter the walled city of Intramuros after the “mock battle of Manila.”

How they hated the Americans when they saw that the Spanish surrendered the city and raised the American flag on top of th walled city. They knew they were robbed of victory.

And yet the naïve General and President ( Sic) Emilio Aguinaldo trusted more his pro-American cabinet and his American allies than his generals on the field. Dr. Jose gave the details on this battle on his book. So who now never won any battle as a general?

Luna led the attack on Manila, February 1899Heneral Luna

2nd, Dr.Jose in an interview with the ANC last September 29, (Manila time)2015 explained to Karen Davila that : ” how can General Luna win any battle when General Aguinaldo kept the best and majority of the forces with him, centralizing the forces loyal to him like the Pampanga Brigade and the Kawit Brigade under him when they were needed in the battlefield.? “

Dr Jose explained that the Luna plan to attack Manila faltered because the Kawit Batallion under Captain Jalolino and other forces refused to reinforce his (Luna’s) forces in Caloocan. Precisely because the Pampanga Brigade under General Mariano Hizon was taking a beating at the Battle Of Caloocan. The cowards ran away, saving themselves and leaving the brave Filipino partriots to die and hold the line in front of the overwhelming American enemies at the Battle of Manila and Caloocan.

Dr. Vivencio Jose said, “the plan was good but it in implementation it was not good.” Can we blame General Luna about this?

Even the Asian leader Mao Zedong explained, “there is no such thing as an ever victorious general.”

He further explained, that ” a good general or a military leader can be good if he can use the forces at his disposal and make do with his limitations.” And that what General Luna did.

Agoncillo Erred

3rd. Agoncillo again erred when he said, “the American forces were still weak then so there is no need to wage guerilla warfare.” Again the historian erred because he is not a military historian.

Most of all, I find Agoncillo as so arrogant to malign Luna the way he malign Bonifacio. HE said of Luna;

— “ 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.”

Agonclilo erred again. This time big errors. I agree, he was an nationalist historian but he lacks acumen in military history. He made a wrong assessment of the military forces at that time.

Luna excelled despite limitationsAntonio_luna_PG

The American forces are strong. They have naval support. It was because the US Asiatic Fleet was anchored in Manila Bay shelled the Filipino forces in Manila up to Tondo and even as far as Bulacan and Cavite can be reached by their naval guns.

This is a big advantage that the Americans have because the Filipinos have no navy to speak of.

Add to that , the small gunboats that can traverse the Pasig River, these naval artillery punished the Filipino forces that was depending the road towards Malolos. Bulacan, the Capital of the Republic.

The American forces although composed of volunteers were commanded by American generals who were veterans of the Civil War and the Indian Campaigns. They possess good artillery pieces and Gatling guns or the early version of the machine guns that were superior to the little artillery and small arms that the Filipino forces had.

The Americans have a mounted cavalry. They brought their horses to the Philippines. These cavalrymen were veterans of the Indian wars in America and some of them were composed of African Americans that brought fear to the Filipinos. While the Filipinos have none. Only the officers rode horses.

So where in the world Agoncillo get his conclusions that guerilla warfare is not needed at that time.? And the American forces were weak?

Luna learned the hard facts that the Filipino forces cannot win the fixed set piece battles that they were fighting from February to May 1899. They were always on the losing end and the only thing they can do is to delay the advance of the enemy by fighting at every strong point they can establish , fight and hold the line.

Thus with his limitations in fighting a conventional warfare or mobile regular warfare, Luna held the line for Aguinaldo who would rather keep thousands of forces at his disposal than to release them to the command of Luna on the battlefield of Luzon.

Despite fighting a regular mobile warfare on fixed battle lines, General can do as much within his limitations and the limitation of of his forces. Despite that the Republican forces won victories like at the Battle of Quaiga, Bulacan on Aprill 27, 1899 and the south of Manila like in the Battle of Mabitac, Laguna.

Only after is death, when Aguinaldo issued Luna’s memorandum to wage guerilla warfare then the Filipinos has some small measures of victory.

Dr.Jose and General Jose Alejandrino were right; “Aguinaldo was thrust as a national leader with no vision and has small town mentality.

On the other hand, Luna though he did not study formally in the academy learned from his Belgian and French military fiends and has the vision how to defeat the Americans but was waylaid to satisfy the ambition of a weak dictator president who want to play as a general.

Luna. A Victim of Regionalism called Cavitismo14595808_10207871654854601_8029198642329058949_n

4th, General Luna was a victim of regionalism that the Spaniards used to rule over the Filipinos. For more than 300 years. The Spaniards kept regional forces of Guardia Veterana of Civil Guards like the Macabebes of Pampanga, The Ilocanos ad the Guardia Tagala.

General Aguinaldo fostered this regionalism by favoring his Cavite people and dispensing favors and ranks to those who are loyal to him and who would not fight but only obey him.

In fact, he replaced Luna with his subaltern, General Mariano Trias, also from Cavite who willfully surrendered to the Americans after Aguinaldo was captured and took his oath of allegiance to the Americans.

He did not even issued an order for his second -in-command General Miguel Malvar to take over as the Commander of the revolutionary forces as provided for the orders of succession in the Philippine Republican Army.

He favored the Bulacan Brigade under Gregorio Del PIlar, The Tarlac Brigade under General Venancio Conception and Servillano Aquino and used them to purge officers and men who are perceived to be loyal to Luna after the assassination.

Del Pilar tortured and killed the Bernal brothers from Mandaluyong because they were the staff officers of Luna.Generals Venencio Concepcion and Servillano Aquino (the great grandfather of President Aquino)  of the Tarlac Regiment also were the henchmen and loyalist of Aguinaldo who purged Luna’s officer and men.

That can also be said of the Pampanga Regiment under General Tomas Mascardo who refused to take orders from Luna.

General Luna was a good military commander and the only thing that they can say to him was he was a “mananampal.” . That he verbally abuse those who went against him.

He was mercurial especially when he is on the right. He calls a spade a spade. He called cowards as cowards and mince no word. An Avant garde during his time.

The Soldier’s General14695405_10207850348441954_5232161676933159161_n

5th General Luna was not an ordinary General. He was a hands on General. He was always right in to thick of the battle.

At the Battle of La Loma, he personally retrieved his friend who was wounded, Col Jose Torres Bugallon in the thick of battle in the midst of enemy naval and artillery.bombardment.

He was not an armchair general or a ‘Chateau General” of World War I commanding from the comforts of his villa way from the battle. He was fearless and personally led his man in battle like Alexander the Great and Civil War Confederate generals Thomas “ Stonewall” Jackson and Union Army Ulysses Grant.

He was wounded at the Battle of Santo Tomas, Pampanga and only a purse of coin saved his life. While fighting the battles, he was also the editor of the paper of the Republic, the “La Independencia” until he died of a cowardly assassination.

And yet his detractors like Agoncillo played to the hilt his being abrasive and being abusive. That is because he tried to install discipline among his men.

When his soldiers refused to dig trenches, he said to them,” Its better to dig trenches that can protect you than dig graves when you are dead.”

Thus Luna was more respected by his enemies- the Americans than his fellow Filipinos. The saying was right,” the courage of his enemy does him honor”. Prompting General Hughes to say,” The Filipinos killed the only General they had.”

Thus, for me, it is very unpatriotic to insinuate that Luna was a “traitor” and “should never be a hero, “because he never won any battles.” It is just a simple and baseless talk.

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

He was a historian yes, but he is not a military historian thus he cannot fathom the circumstances that can make or unmake a military leader or even understand the art of military leadership.

Agoncillo did not know that even great military man like George Washington lost many his battles too. Even Fidel Castro was captured during their failed attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26.1953 But later they won the Cuban revolution.

There are also great Generals who won many battles like General Robert Lee but who eventually lost the war. There are also great generals like Hannibal and Field Marshal Erwin Rommel who were losers. So it is not winning battles that counts but winning the war.

Agoncillo should blame Aguinaldo who lost the war, not Luna who fought the good fight. He only did his duty up to the time his death ,, obeying orders when was assassinated on June 5, 1899 fulfilling his duties to his president.

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