Aquino, Del Rosario and Gazmin should watch 'Heneral Luna'

By Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Sep 21 2015 01:15 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2015 09:15 AM

I watched “Heneral Luna” last Friday at Southmall in Las Pinas and I witnessed something that re-affirmed my faith in the Filipino: after the screening the students in the audience clapped.

I should not be worrying much about the future of our country.

Actress, writer and director Bibeth Orteza, who is a member of the board of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board posted a suggested in Facebook: “I'm saying this in my individual capacity, not as a member of the MTRCB. If I were the producer of "Heneral Luna," I'd bring the film back to the MTRCB, seek a lower audience rating classification, and then bring it around the country for a school tour.”

Heneral Luna is rated R-13, which means only those age 13 and above can watch the movie. It must be because of the violent scenes in the movie, which were essential to underscore the intensity of the power struggle at that time. I myself had to close my eyes in the murder scene.

Joji Villanueva Alonso commented on Bibeth’s post: “Sadly, the MTRCB rules do not allow another review of the film, after the lapse of 5 days from receipt of the first permit. The producers would have to submit a new cut altogether of the new film to get another rating. In any event, school screenings won't be a problem - this is really the next step”

That’s good to know.

But the ones who really need to watch “Heneral Luna” are our officials who still look up to America as savior led by no less than President Aquino.

Oh well, with Albert del Rosario as foreign secretary and Voltaire Gazmin as defense secretary, what do we expect.

“Heneral Luna” is film about Antonio Luna, the hot- tempered commander of the revolutionary army played brilliantly by John Arcilla.

Under the competent direction of Jerrold Tarog, the movie brings us back more than a century ago when the country, after 300 years of being a colony of Spain, was faced with another colonial master: United States of America.

Luna, one of the talented and highly-educated Luna brothers, wanted genuine independence for Filipinos but the members of economic elite preferred to be under the Americans.

Luna’s remarks to the pro-Americans in the Aguinaldo Cabinet, namely Felix Buencamino and Pedro Paterno, were sharp and biting.

When the two were enumerating the benefits the country would get from continued American rule, Luna slammed them: “Para kayong mga birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta.”

Luna also asked them pointblank: “Negosyo o kalayaan? Bayan o sarili? Pumili ka?

I would like to throw the same question today to Del Rosario and Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia.

The movie was set in 1898 but the problems Luna faced are the same problems that beset our country today. As Luna said (not an exact quote): “May malaking kalaban tayo kaysa mga Amerikano: ang ating sarili."

The movie is on its second week in commercial cinemas. Don’t miss it.

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I join the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in condemning the military’s harassment of journalist Inday Espina-Varona .

A Facebook meme tags Varona as a “propagandist” of communist rebels.

NUJP said “The meme accusing Varona of being a communist rebel “asset” is a cheap and desperate move to discredit a highly respected and multi-awarded journalist who has consistently fought for the rights of journalists and against unjust and oppressive acts on the marginalized.

“Varona is a former editor-in-chief of the Philippines Graphic magazine and the 2007 awardee of the Marshall Mcluhan Fellowship.

“This move comes following Varona's reports for ABS-CBN online news site and posts in social media decrying the September 1 killing of lumad (indigenous people) leaders in Surigao del Sur by suspected military-backed militias.

“She has also reported and has been vocal on the misrepresentation of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on the statement of United Nations Special Rapporteur for Internally Displaced Persons Chaloka Beyani regarding the evacuation of lumad from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon at the Haran sanctuary of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines in Davao City.

“The NUJP is also alarmed of the red-tagging against Varona, a tactic that has been used against activists and political dissenters, many of whom were subsequently targeted in summary killings, abduction and persecution through the filing of trumped-up criminal charges. It indicates that almost 30 years after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the martial law mentality continues to prevail, even under a supposedly ‘Daang Matuwid’ administration.”

NUJP demands that authorities investigate and apprehend those behind these attempts to intimidate Varona and other journalists exposing human rights violations and other injustices.

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.