Has ‘Heneral Luna’ stained Malacañang’s image?

"Heneral Luna's" official poster

The buzz stirred by social media that propelled ‘Heneral Luna’ into a byword among netizens and stirred curiosity among the movie-going public now appears a cause for concern for some in Malacañang.

Most of those who have already watched the celebrated film may have noticed that the political issues then still exist today despite the numerous political crises that the country have went through, which supposedly have provided lessons and maturity to our past and current government leaders.

But such was not the main concern of those in Malacañang.

It was more of those currently in power being “associated” with of some of the main characters in the movie, whether real or imagined.

The movie has ignited anew the long-debated issue on whether the late Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, revered as the first president of the Republic, be considered a hero, despite being insinuated to have plotted the assassination of Gen. Antonio Luna.

Aguinaldo has been hounded as well by the controversy on the death of Andres Bonifacio, who was tried for treason along with his brothers, when they refused to recognize the revolutionary government of the former.

A Palace insider who solicited feedbacks from those who have seen the movie was more concerned of whether the audience have related current Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Sec. Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya to Aguinaldo. Sec. Abaya is a great grandson of Aguinaldo. 

The DOTC chief also happens to be “unpopular” not only among Senators, who have been quite critical of him, particularly in not thoroughly addressing the worsening condition of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), and the country’s transportation system in general. He was not also popular among netizens, especially when he was quoted to have said: “Hindi naman siguro fatal yan [traffic].”

The said remark, made when he was asked about the traffic situation in Metro Manila, has drawn ire among the public, including Sen. Pia Cayetano. She took to the social media her disgust over the apparent insensitivity of the Cabinet official on the huge burden that the protracted traffic mess has brought to the daily lives of commuters. 

He has since apologized for his remark.

A line uttered in the movie, “nagalaw pa ba iyan?” supposedly that of Aguinaldo’s mother, Trinidad, seeking confirmation on the death of Luna from a window in the convent.

Some historians, in various radio and TV interviews, said the supposed “urban legend” on the statement attributed to Trinidad has another sympathetic version, that is, Trinidad was misquoted, and she may have said: “Nagalaw pa ba iyan? Mga masasama kayong tao!”

Said version would imply that Aguinaldo’s mother was actually sympathetic to the fallen general, thus, supporting the contention that Aguinaldo was not involved in the death of Luna.

The Palace official could only heave a sigh of relief over the fact that not many people, except those in government and media practitioners, are aware of the fact that Sec. Abaya is related to Aguinaldo.

Pres. Aquino himself cannot consider himself “spared” from the controversy surrounding Luna, as the source of his family’s wealth on the maternal side has been placed under suspicion. Another “urban legend” had it that his late great grandmother Ysidra supposedly had for “safe-keeping” the treasure trove of the Katipunan passed on to Luna.

Allegedly, Luna entrusted the said wealth to Ysidra, rumored to be his paramour at that time, the latter supposedly used it instead in enriching her clan following the death of the general.

In the film, the general was depicted to have kept a secret affair with an “illustrado” named Isabel, who herself had secretly provided support to the “revolutionarios.”

Some Palace insiders, following the release of the film, have been trying to solicit information if there were indeed historical basis on the issue on Ysidra and Luna, specifically on the supposed stashing of the Katipuneros’ wealth.
Apparently, their efforts proved futile as the matter remains what it is, an urban legend.

Their “concern” stems mainly on the possible effect on the “image” of the administration in the coming presidential elections, especially as most of those presently surrounding President Benigno Aquino belong to the so-called elite class. And it is one of the reasons why Pres. Aquino’s so-called anointed one, Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, could not establish any “connection” of sort with the masses, which comprise the majority of the voting populace.

As Roxas continues to struggle to get to the top of the surveys that seems the stronghold of neophyte Sen. Grace Poe, the growing popularity of ‘Heneral Luna’ might take its toll on him — as the public becomes more and more inquisitive about our country’s history and the characters in the film.

Shallow it may sound to some but one cannot underestimate the possibility of historical facts being dug up by some quarters, especially the desperate ones, just so they could discredit some administration candidates.

Thus, explains the “concern” of Palace insiders, that they may soon face the ghosts of the past.

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