The soul-stirring movie about the assassinated revolutionary hero Gen. Antonio Luna has also roused calls for the naming of a major military camp after him.
We have Fort Bonifacio, Camp Crame, Camp Olivas, Camp Servillano Aquino, Camp Vicente Lim, and Camp Cabahug, all key military camps, but why is it that none is named after General Luna? It’s not to denigrate the contributions of the previously named military leaders but isn’t it about time to correct a decades- long snub and give General Luna the appropriate honor also?
Oh yes, we have Camp Aguinaldo, the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the central office of the Department of National Defense. In the light of the re-examination of the Philippine history evoked by the movie on General Luna, many find it ironic that the highest military camp is named after General Emilio Aguinaldo, the Katipunan leader who ordered Luna’s assassination.
My hometown, Lupao, Nueva Ecija, may be small but it has a barangay named after General Luna. The youths of Barangay Luna are well-known for not backing off from any fight – just like Luna. If a small town sees it fit to honor Luna, why can’t the country?
Changing the name of Camp Aguinaldo into Camp Antonio Luna will correct a historical error and restore Luna to his proper place of honor. There’s no reason why the mastermind in the assassination of a hero should enjoy a higher place than his victim. As regards Aguinaldo, a camp in Cavite, his home province, may be named after him. It’s not inconceivable that the name Emilio Aguinaldo still has a special place in the hearts of Caviteños. This is especially true among his descendants who proudly use the initials “E.A.” between their first names and family names – like Transportation Secretary Joseph E.A. Abaya, the acting president of the Liberal Party and former Cavite congressman.
There was a time when Abaya was being considered a candidate for senator. If his infamous comment that “traffic is not fatal” had sealed his coffin as a national candidate, his recent declaration that “Luna was not assassinated” will. Oh well, he can always go back to his old congressional district in Cavite where his family has been lording it over since 1992. Or, he can continue wrecking air and land transportation, as he unquestionably enjoys the full confidence of President BS Aquino The Last, the main architect (culprit?) of “Tuwid na Daan.”
Oh yes, another Aguinaldo descendant who carries the “E.A.” initial is Cesar E.A. Virata, the former Deputy Prime Minister of President Ferdinand Marcos, a former Finance Secretary, and former member of the Regular Batasang Pambansa representing, what else, Cavite. Rightly or wrongly, the Batasan opposition filed in 1985 an impeachment complaint not only against Marcos but also against Virata. I still remember the plaintive words of Virata while covering the impeachment hearing for the now-defunct Veritas Newsmagazine. “Many charges have been levelled against me but the most hurting was the accusation that I have betrayed my country,” Virata said.
Incidentally, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan which controlled the Committee on Justice immediately threw out the impeachment complaint after a short hearing.
Ah, but I digress. Going back to Luna’s assassination, my siblings and I had heard of it early in life from our parents. They told us that the assassination took place in Cabanatuan on orders of Aguinado. My late mother must have heard of the assassination from his father, Matias Limos, who was a Katipunero and fought against both Americans and Spaniards in Nueva Ecija.
Come to think of it, Cabanatuan has a major thoroughfare named “Paco Roman,” after Luna’s aide-de-camp who was killed with him but why is there no main road in the city named after Luna?