Balangiga, Alcazar and Mamasapano


LAST Sunday evening, 1987-92 Senators Sonny Alvarez, Erap Estrada, Tito Guingona, Boy Herrera, Joey Lina, Ernie Maceda, Orly Mercado, Nene Pimentel, Nina Rasul, Bobby Tanada, Vic Ziga and I, plus the better Angara (Glo), convened, with a quorum, for a party hosted by Lorna, widow of Kuya Teroy Laurel, who marked another birth anniversary. Last Tuesday, Manong Ernie wrote about our shindig in his Philippine Star column. He overlooked forgettable me among the attendees. And added Sonny Osmena who must have come after Erap and I left (Tiope me, for home; Kamandag Erap, I dunno and did not ask).

I asked Erap, if vilified-as-a-foundling Grace is disqualified, would he work for his own Restoration and run for Prez? He did not answer but smiled and his eyes moistened. Naluha. When I last saw Veep Jojobama early this year to help Panginoong Joker Arroyo rescue Mayor JunJun, I called him (Jojobama) “Mr. Prez.“


Last Monday we should have marked the day when on September 28, 1901, the Bells of Balangiga rang and the brave Warays killed 48 American colonizers that fine Sunday morning. PNoy grouses that no one among the young remembers Mabini. Balangiga ought to be remembered but the day passed. Nothing.

Last week also reminded me of the Siege of the Alcazar, which fell on September 27, 1936.

The play was staged in San Beda when I was in pre-law; then, the yo-soy-bososoy school crawled with Kastilaloys and Tisoy. I was an Indio.

Who’s to blame for our not having anything invented truly significant? From rocket science to music and dance? No Gangnam Style, of the Sokors.

No Nobody Nobody But You. And the Sokor telenovelas.

Can anyone blame PNoy for not yelling CHARGE! in the West Philippine Sea.

More than 44 will be killed and there won’t be any let-up from the critics.

Let us see how Obama would react to the Chinese’s In-Your-Face Bullying.

For centuries, we have been kicked around by Spain, England, the US, Japan, Macoy, etc. et al. Lahing busabos at alipin? Ilan po ang pumiyok?

The past week we were reminded of the 1936 Siege of the Alcazar, where Luis, 24, told his father by phone he was going to be executed in ten minutes if his pop would not yield the Fort. “Then, commend yourself to God, shout Viva Espana and Cristo Rey! – and die like a hero.”

“That I will do, Father.”

Executed, if not immediately.

At day’s end, father was asked how the day was, “Sin novedad.” Nothing new.

The spirit of courage and sacrifice we seem to lack, as a people. Luis was not even a soldier. Unlike the elite Mamasapano troopers, whose end has not excited the outside world at all but continues to be the subject of incomprehensible bickering here. And who cares about the Muslim girl, Sara, who was killed?

The duty to kill and be killed was not hers.

As it was not Luis.’ It was the duty of the attacking SAF 44-PLUS.

The Alcazar telephone has been preserved as a reminder of patriotism, sacrifice and honor. Well remembered.

But, who remembers that on September 28, 1901, the Bells of Balangiga rang, and 48 Kanos were killed while having breakfast, by intrepid Waray guerillas? How many will join the demand that the Bells in Fort Warren just outside Cheyenne be returned to the Catholic Church (a third is in South Korea with an army unit)? PNoy could very well have asked for the return, before Sec. Gazmin signed the EDCA.

But, who did they consult?

While campaigning for Grace, Jojobama, Mar, Digong, whoever, Remember the Alcazar! Remember Balangiga!

Whether Grace can run next year is the ultimate “political question.” Up to the people in their sovereign capacity to decide, beyond the reach of a majoritarian Senate Electoral Tribunal or Supreme Court. The theory that as an infant she must have been smuggled from abroad is hard to believe. She’s too mestizcilla (we have many here) to have come from Mars. Or even Manchuria, to become the Manchurian Candidate.

She looks Pinoy, talks like us and would not steal. I feel she has the decency of FPJ and Susan, and should continue reworking and repairing what James Fallows wrote in Atlantic Monthly in November 1987, our Damaged Culture, following 20 years of the Marcoses, who had destroyed our values, institutions and processes, stolen billions and committed gross human rights violations.



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  1. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    02 October 2015

    There is a lot of “food for thought” in this thoughtful Essay by former Senator Rene Saguisag.

    His crystal-clear mind, even now that he is a septuagenarian, is still able to roam far and wide and discuss with authority Balangiga, Alcazar, the despotic years Marcos and others such historical episodes which this present generation of Filipinos may not or may no longer know about.

    I salute him!


  2. Yeah, yeah! I heard that about Cory also. She doesn’t know how to steal, she was just there to preserve Hacienda Luisita, and DO NOTHING!. With all due respect Sen. Saguisag, you had your chances as the original Senators of the YELLOW era. So my question is, were you able to do something to restore our “DAMAGED” culture then? The answer I would say, is a BIG, BIG NO!

  3. that’s a good point. we should at least remember and be in our history books the bravery of the warays on Sep 28, 1901. I almost forgot this Important episode in our history until I read this column today.

  4. Leodegardo Pruna on

    “Looks pinoy, talks like us and would not steal.” How sure is Symbol about disgraced-Grace not stealing when she already stole and continues to steal her “nationality” oral or written? God bless the Philippines.