On the Aquino-Cojuangco video…


Hi sir and good day, I would just like to ask what your thoughts were on this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gevTmyWtHVo) and videos like these, from the same uploader? They are going viral on facebook and I don’t know if they are reliable. That is, if you have the time. Thanks! :)

Hi Jayvee! I actually was exchanging thoughts with a former student of mine about this earlier. He posted the link on my Facebook wall and asked me for my thoughts. He was curious as to what I thought about it since I was his Philippine History teacher and I had worked in the media. And just as I was planning on writing about it, I saw your submission.

I must say, I admire whoever made the video for the skills in research of archived video, computer graphics and patience in video editing. Being someone with a background in producing video news reports and documentaries, I must say that whoever did this must have very sophisticated equipment and lots of hours and funding.

On the part where the “treasures of the Philippine Republic” went to General Luna’s sweetheart, Ysidra Cojuangco, that is a part of our history which has yet to be investigated and documented properly. If you notice in the video, the supposition is largely circumstantial and speculative.

Perhaps, if this video was about celebrities then we could quickly fall into assumptions and take them as gospel. But we are talking about history, and history necessitates documentary as well as material evidence of events, places and personalities before something is taken as factual.

On the part discussing Hacienda Luisita, I would say that most of the facts of the incidents are true. And yes, there have been a lot of peasant leaders, religious and agrarian reform advocates who have died in the efforts to have the Cojuangco lands distributed among the farmers.

Being an agrarian reform advocate, I am for the distribution of the Hacienda Luisita lands. And even if President Aquino and his sisters repeatedly say that they no longer have a part in the Hacienda’s management or claims on its lands, that does not absolve them from their moral duty to use their persuasive powers on their relatives who still own the hacienda.

If Aquino is bent on genuinely pursuing social change and leaving a legacy of social justice in the country’s history, then he should make a mark where his mother and father missed - agrarian reform. It’s difficult to talk about daang matuwid (righteous path), if wrong is being done to others by your own relatives. 

As a whole though, I would say that the younger generation of Filipinos must be careful in accepting the facts in the video as truth. To take it hook, line and sinker, is, instead of being enlightened, an act of ignorance and indolence. The video should be taken as a challenge to the truths we already know and it should move us to verify both the facts presented and those that we know.

One thing for sure though, the video sure got viral and I hope its virus should also be used as the source of its antidote.