Altering History, Through Movies

Movies for sure are made to entertain and at the same time educate people, most specially, if the film has a significant historical value to a certain person or events. But, most inaccuracies in a film, are sometimes, unfortunately, were done intentionally altered for dramatic and commercial purposes, which is a sad case, if the movie has some historical background.

Take for example the hit movie, 300, which depicts the battle of Thermopylae lead by the great Leonidas, which was played by actor Gerard Butler. Yes, the battle itself happened, and Leonidas only used 300 (thus the title) to battle an entire Persian army, but in reality, he had more than 300, since other warriors of Sparta have joined him against the Persian ruler.

Also, Xerxes was depicted in the movie as a giant bisexual (seemed like it), but in reality he is a great warrior and leader but nowhere nearer the movie version of himself, and Leonidas as a six packed mid aged warrior, but in fact according to records, at that time, he was already in his 60s, but still kicked tons of Persian butts, not bad after-all for a 60 year old guy.

We also had that in our movies, take into consideration the film El Presidente, a bio epic film based on the life of our first president Emilio Aguinaldo. The film was great, do not get me wrong, scoring, the quality of the film, the actors, and so on and so forth, but what’s disturbing was the Bonifacio part (played by another great actor Cesar Montano).

Based on the film, the Bonifacio brothers, were brought to Mt. Tala in Maragundon Cavite by an execution party headed by Lazaro Makapagal (sometimes Macapagal), played by Hero Bautista. In he film, upon arriving on the scene, or seems like it, Andres Bonifacio who had his arm in sling because of a bullet wound, asked Makapagal to read the letter, and upon hearing the judgement, Procopio (played by Joko Diaz) tried to escape but was gunned down by the party.

Andres on his part ran to his dying brother and cradled him on his arms while Makapagal asked Bonifacio to ran away and escape, but Bonifacio refused and instead “unslinged” his injured arm, took Makapagal’s saber and tried to kill the execution party, but was immediately under heavy fire that caused him his life.

It was a very sad and moving scene, but unfortunately, that never happened.

In reality, Bonifacio’s death was bounded by controversy, there were not just one account of his death, but 4. And the saddest part of them all, no one can verify what really happened.

One version was of the leader of the execution party Gen. Lazaro Makapagal, of which he had two versions. His first version was three decades after the execution of Supremo and his brother, through an interview. Makapagal said that, after reading the execution orders, Procopio hugged his brother and said “Kuya, Paano na tayo?”. Andres Bonifacio, according to Makapagal, did not replied and just cried, while he turned his back as they shot the Supremo and his brother.

But, after a while, through a letter to a historian, Makapagal took back some of his accounts and said that after reading the sentence, Procopio jumped and said “Naku Kuyang!” while Andres went to his knees and acted to embrace him (Makapagal) and said “Kapatid, patawarin mo ako”, crying. They first shot Procopio, and after the younger Bonifacio slumped lifeless on the dirt, again, the Supremo begged for his life, on his knees and repeated what he said awhile ago, at this point, Makapagal replied “Wala akong magagawa” after which Bonifacio bolted up and tried to ran for his life, only to be caught up in a stream where he met his creator.

If were to take Makapagal’s account, it seemed that Andres Bonifacio had minor injuries contradictory to what was noted after his arrest in Limbon, Cavite because he had only not made Andres Bonifacio knelt but ran as well, despite a gunshot wound in his shoulder, and a stab wound in his neck, which were left untreated for days.

There were two other accounts, that although it came from separate and unrelated eyewitnesses, they seemed to sing the same tune.

The first eyewitness was a farmer which happened to pass by, and saw 5 men hacking a defenseless man lying in a hammock.  Artemio Ricarte was the second person to have claimed that Andres Bonifacio was hacked to death in a hammock, and not through a bullet. Although Ricarte was not in the scene, during Bonifacio’s execution, he said that his information was valid and true, as it came from a member of the execution party, headed by Makapagal.

With these two accounts it did not only made Makapagal a lier, but fortified the claim that Andres Bonifacio was near death and in no way can kneel and beg for his life, and most likely to run and try to escape. That being said, you would come to the question, what drove Makapagal to “lie” about Bonifacio’s bravery, is it his true action, or where instructed by the then aspiring to be president again, Don Emilio Aguinaldo?

Look at it this way, how come a revolutionary leader who knew that half of his life is in the grave when he established The Katipunan, but did it anyway, begged for his life crying and making matters worst, ran for it, when he learned of his execution. Looks like a black propaganda to me, for a Supreme Leader, who claimed the highest seat in the Katipunan, Openly, in Aguinaldo’s turf, when he learned that Miong and his cohorts were actually planning something against him.

The scene was perfect and how the actors played their part will really take you back and feel how brave Bonifacio was, that is if you didn’t know what really happened. Sadly, I knew, and I was taken aback by it, no matter how brilliant Cesar Montano was in that scene.