Where is Luna in our midst?

ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO, on this very day, our country (in the midst of chaos, vested interest and wild pursuit of freedom) lost one of its fiercest general and staunchest believer and fighter of the freedom we are all currently taking for granted.

Luna was assassinated by men he had previously disarmed and discharged. However, the fact that the meeting called by Emilio Aguinaldo appeared to be a trap to lure the great general in the nest full of the latter’s soldiers poses a question on the involvement of the president in this tragic assassination.

June 5, 1899 saw the demise of General Antonio Luna de San Pedro y Novicio San Ignacio (aka Antonio Luna) or in the recent year, simply our Heneral Luna – the lead character of the film that made us rethink our history and its parallelism with our current reality for about 30 minutes to a day or two after seeing the film.

The film directed by Jerrold Tarog, while not exactly historically accurate, as most of historical movies are, managed to portray all the important events in Luna’s life not just in an artistic manner but in a mind-badgering manner that made us want to answer questions we did not know our minds can actually fathom.

General Luna of Today?

The timing of the release of the film in 2015 was in time with the upcoming National Elections. People clamored for change and wanted out of the current politicians who exude the business-like demeanor they saw in Aguinaldo, Buencamino and Paterno in the film.

Here enters an underdog candidate, a simple mayor of a city down south, who never even seem to have stepped into the glamor and fancy world of the political reality.

People wanted someone like Luna, straightforward, blunt, brave, a person who took things upon himself because he knew he could do something to change things.

Come Election Day, people voted and made a decision. A decision we have yet to see if made correctly; if the brawns and rough-talking of the president-elect is also founded on the fierce and undying devotion and passion of Luna for the country.

Luna was known as “The Fiery General” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under Aguinaldo’s presidency. Known for his temper, his skills in sharpshooting and war tactics, he was both admired and abhorred by the people of his time. His achievements were of great importance especially in defending our country against the influx of the Americans, yet his temper also caused misunderstandings and conflicts amongst his peers and superiors.

While Duterte appears to be similar to our beloved hero, we have yet to know his answer to the famed question of “Bayan o sarili, pumili ka!”

We cannot be sure, however much we hope for, not with the political friends and the debts and favors we seem to see him paying even before his step into the position.

When asked why he has yet to give a cabinet position for the Vice President, he gave us his friendship with Bongbong Marcos as the reason for doing so. A great leader, in the edge of change, would have taken the initiative to solidify the leadership of the country. A country which is quick to dismiss and judge people based on shallow misconceptions and preconceived bias and beliefs.

Don’t wait for change – Be the change!

“Change is coming” is being used quite frequently for the past few months. We appear to be very excited with its coming and we all look forward to it. However, it is about time to point out again that change is constant. It has always been there.

We might have overlooked the opportunity by posing the question to another instead of ourselves. We do not need a great president to change the country. We do not need to see Luna in our leaders, WE CAN BE LUNA, we can be the change, the devotion, the passion. We can be the brains and brawn, we can be the truth, the discipline, the camaraderie; we can be the honesty, the credibility, the respect. We do not need to put our fates in the hand of one man.

If we continue posting incriminating things to persons we disagree with, and disrespect the law and its due process, and continue to take money not ours, destroy others’ reputation and honor for spite, betray our friends and colleagues, disrespect women and children, commit crimes and take priority on our own vested interests instead of the country, then even with a great and capable president, at the end of the day the line, “para kayong mga birheng naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta!“ will be left resounding in a room full of regret. (Kathleen Vicho)

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