Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't Stop Believing

If Terri Hatcher’s character on Desperate Housewives ever slips and falls on Wisteria Lane and breaks her spinal column, she would be fortunate to be sent to the Memorial Hermann Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) at the University of Texas Hospital in Houston for treatment. If she’s really lucky, she would be treated by Dr. Teodoro Castillo, the attending physician of the TIRR Spinal Cord Injury Program and a graduate of “…some med school in the Philippines”.

Last week, on the Sunday morning before Christmas, Dr. Castillo was interviewed on ABC about Buffalo Bills football player Kevin Everett who suffered a life-threatening dislocation and fracture of his cervical spine during a home game with the Denver Broncos on September 27. After surgeons operated and repaired a break between the third and fourth vertebrae of his spinal cord, they announced that chances were slim that Everett would ever walk again.

But to everyone's surprise, on December 23, Everett appeared at the locker room of the Buffalo Bills players to greet them and wish them luck just before they were to play the New York Giants. The players were absolutely stunned that Everett was even able to stand up. That he was walking without any assistance was a miracle, they said.

Everett gave credit to his spinal cord physician at TIRR, Dr. Teodoro Castillo, for his recovery from an injury that would have otherwise rendered him a quadriplegic.

ABC News' TV reporter Dan Harris asked Dr. Castillo whether he thought Everett would ever walk again. Dr Castillo responded: “When I first met him, I knew he had the movement in the legs, and he showed me he had good recovery just from the time he had the surgery to the time he got to our facility, so I knew he was going to walk again. But the type of walking, the quality of walking, that remained to be seen.”

When asked about Everett’s determination, Dr. Castillo said that Everett’s mother told him that “he's always followed a rigorous training schedule and with that attitude, with his determination, family support, which he really has, and the team of clinicians he has to guide him and optimize his recovery, I think he will be successful… The key to Kevin's success is the determination he's had, and the family support and a team of clinicians to guide him through - he has all the necessary ingredients to guide him to a good outcome.”

Dr. Castillo received his medical degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center in the Philippines. He completed his transitional year medicine internship at the Seton Hall Program in St. Michael's Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey. He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. He is concurrently a Clinical Assistant Professor at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and Adjunct Assistant Professor of PM&R, Baylor College of Medicine.

Kevin Everett never stopped believing in himself and Dr. Castillo never stopped believing in him.


"Don’t stop believing", the title of the hit song of 70s era rock band Journey, was played at the last scene of the final episode of the HBO hit, The Sopranos. The airplay revived interest in the band which had been performing without its frontman, Steve Perry, since the mid-90s when he quit. Journey’s journey back to the big time would be complete if they could only find a new lead singer.

It was difficult for the band to find a replacement for Steve Perry. “Those anthemic Journey power ballads, sung by Perry in his operatic tenor, have been known to shred vocal chords, and it takes an extraordinary talent to be able to sing them,” reported Paul Liberatore from Medianews.

After months of auditioning prospects without any luck, Journey’s Neal Schon tried the Internet. “I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody.” That is until he chanced upon a video of Filipino singer Arnel Pineda singing Journey’s hit “Faithfully” with a Filipino cover band called the Zoo.

“After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I’d heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true,” he said. “I thought, ‘He can’t be that good.’”

He was that good. Before Pineda knew it, Journey had obtained a work visa for him and had flown him in to San Francisco to audition with the band in Marin. After a few songs, the band members were unanimous that they had found their lead singer at long last. The official announcement was made on December 5 after Pineda returned to record 11 new songs of Journey that will be released in the spring of 2008.

In his blog, Journey record producer Kevin Shirley wrote "Just got back from Vegas last night, after mixing seven new Journey songs. They are outstanding... For the record, I think Arnel is 'the business!' - the guy can really sing! He handles the ballads with SO much heart, and belts the rockers as hard, and melodically, as anyone I have heard. The songs are sensational - wonderfully crafted and deep, and so focused, you may wonder where they all came from."

A news article about Pineda reported that since English is his second language, he was provided with an accent reduction coach to work on his phrasing and diction. This was no problem for Arnel but he also had to deal with racism. “When there were rumors about me joining Journey, there was a lot of that,” Pineda told Liberatore. “One of the worst things I read on a fan message board said that Journey is an all-American band and it should stay like that. But I don’t care. I just say, ‘Hey, grow up.’”

“We’ve become a world band,” Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain said in reply. “We’re international now. We’re not about one color. I kind of like the whole idea of having a singer like him. It’s exotic.”

Don't stop believing in yourself. Have a happy exotic new year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Grinch Who Stole the Vets' Christmas

When I went to Washington DC last February to join Filipino WW II veterans lobby congressional representatives to support the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill, I sensed a feeling of giddiness and excitement among the veterans and their supporters that this would be the year. At long last, after 17 years of persistent lobbying, Congress was finally poised to vote to rescind the infamous Rescission Act of 1946 that deprived Filipino veterans of the benefits they were promised when they were incorporated into the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) in 1941.

The two principal sponsors of the bill in the Senate and in the House, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Bob Filner (D-California), were now the respective chairs of their Veterans committees thanks to the Democratic sweep in the November 2006 elections.

By April of 2007, both Sen. Akaka and Rep. Filner had held hearings on their respective equity bills and had garnered their committees’ approval. It had never advanced to this stage before as previous veterans committees in both chambers had never brought the bill to a vote in their committees. But other congressional committees would also have to review the bill and approve it before it could be brought to a floor vote in the senate and House.

The sticking point was how much US Army-certified Filipino WW II veterans (“Filvets”) would receive in monthly benefits. Previous proposals had distinguished between the 5,000 Filvets in the US and the 15,000 Filvets in the Philippines.

Because of the difference in the costs of living, it was believed that Filvets in the US should receive $800 a month while Filvets in the Philippines would get $100 a month pension. But many Filvets supporters opposed the proposal on the basic principle that there should be no difference in pension based on geography.

A significant compromise was reached when the veterans and their supporters agreed that all Filvets should receive the same amount – a minimum of $200 a month. Filvets in the US receive about $800 a month in SSI benefits which would not be affected by the additional $200 pension while Filvets in the Philippines would receive the average monthly salary there.

Under Akaka’s guidance, the Filvets bill (S.57) was tacked on to an omnibus veterans bill (S.1315) that would cover other veterans issues. Akaka stressed that “as a matter of fundamental fairness and justice, Filipino veterans' benefits should be similar to those of other veterans.”

"S-1315 would fix a historical wrong,” Akaka said, “Filipino veterans served under the command of the US military during World War II. They were considered by the Veterans' Administration, the predecessor of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, to be veterans of the US military, naval and air service until that status was revoked by the Rescission Acts of 1946.”

When the Senate hearing took place last April, the principal Senate opponent of the bill was Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), the former chair of the Senate Veterans Committee. He calculated the price tag of the Filvets bill to be almost $1 billion over ten years which he believes the government cannot afford to pay when “there are other pressing bills pending before the Committee especially benefits for veterans of the War on Terror.”

The US Department Of Veterans Affairs under then Secretary Jim Nicholson also opposed the bill based on an assessment that additional benefit costs including medical and memorial benefits of $510 million in the first year would total more than $4 billion over ten years.

Craig was the front man for the opposition to the equity bill. If he dropped his objections or if he resigned, then perhaps the bill could pass. But what are the chances of that happening?

On June 11 of this year, while passing through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Sen. Craig went to the men’s room and did something there that led to his arrest by an undercover officer for lewd and lascivious conduct . On August 1, Craig pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge hoping no one would notice. When news of the scandal broke and his conduct described as “unforgivable” by Senate Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, Craig announced his resignation from the US Senate effective September 30.

Unfortunately, Craig reneged on his promise to resign and announced that he would stay on until his term expires next year. On December 12, when a critical vote on S.1315 was needed to pass it before the Senate adjourned for the year, Sen. Craig rose in opposition to the Filvets provision in the bill, killing any chance that the bill would pass this year.

Incorporating the anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner sentiment of many in his party, Craig spoke against providing benefits to Filvets in the Philippines. "First of all, they do not live in this country, they are not US citizens. They are taking money away from our veterans. That is the 'Robin Hood in reverse' effect. At least Robin Hood, when he took money, left it in Nottingham. He spread it out amongst his own. Here we are taking money from our own and sending it all the way to the Philippines," Craig said.

Six of the grandsons of these “Robin Hoods” have died in Iraq and Afghanistan in the service of the United States just in the last six months: Army Pfc. Victor M. Fontanilla, 23, Stockton, CA (5/17/07), Army Spc. Mark R. C. Caguioa, 21, Stockton, CA ( 5/24/07), Army Sgt. Richard V. Correa, 25, Honolulu, HI (5/29/07), Army Staff Sgt. Greg P. Gagarin, 38, Los Angeles, CA (6/3/07), Marine Sgt. Michael E. Tayaotao, 27,Sunnyvale, CA (8/9/07), Army Pfc. Paulomarko U. Pacificador, 24,Shirley, NY (8/13/07), and Army Specialist Lester Roque, 23, Carson, CA (11/10/07).

Sen. Craig should be reminded of what George Washington said in 1789: "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."

Sen. Craig was the grinch who stole the Filvets’ Christmas.

Filipino veterans who turned 21 at the outbreak of the war in 1941 would now be about 87 years old. How many more Bataan Death Marches do they have left in them? How many more of these “Robin Hoods” will be around next year?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa's Home Is Melting

Santa Claus will have more problems delivering gifts to kids all over the world this Christmas because his home in the North Pole is melting away and his worker elves are all virtually homeless. According to a new scientific study, the frozen sea ice within the Arctic Circle could disappear entirely by 2040.

It is getting hotter in the arctic regions and colder in the tropical zones. This is the phenomenon known as climate change.

Despite the Bush administration’s repeated insistence that climate change is "unproven conjecture" (the position of the oil industry which produced George W. Bush and Dick Cheney), more than 10,000 delegates from some 190 countries around the world gathered in Bali, Indonesia for two weeks in early December of 2007 to discuss the reality of climate change.

Even before the Bali Conference began, scientists from all over the world, including the US, were already unified in their view that climate change is indeed taking place and that the world needs to act now before its too late and that technologies are available and affordable to tackle the problem.

The conference venue was significant because, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman noted, “Indonesia is now losing tropical forests the size of Maryland every year, and the carbon released by the cutting and clearing — much of it from illegal logging — has made Indonesia the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, after the United States and China. Deforestation actually accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars and trucks in the world, an issue the Bali conference finally addressed.”

Friedman interviewed Barnabas Suebu, the governor of Papua, home to some of Indonesia’s richest forests, who explained that his villagers cannot earn anything close to what they get from chopping down a tree and selling it to smugglers, who will ship it to Malaysia or China to be made into furniture for Americans or Europeans.

This is the same problem in the Philippines where virgin forests are being continuously raped by illegal loggers with connections to Philippine military and government officials. In last week’s column, I wrote about Ensign Philip Pestano who, according to a 1997 Philippine Senate report, was murdered in 1995 because he objected to his Philippine Navy vessel being used to load illegal timber from Tawi-Tawi and to off-load them in Cavite. That timber probably wound its way to China for products that were then exported to Wal-Mart stores all over the US.

International agreements that would seek to limit greenhouse emissions which cause holes in the earth's ozone layer (which create climatic changes) have long been opposed by the Bush administration which believes the limits would hamper American competitiveness with countries like China. Using China as an excuse is ironic because China’s rapid economic development has been largely fueled by American consumers’ insatiable demand for its goods. Net exports from China to the US accounted for 23 percent of Chinese greenhouse gas emissions.

The Philipppines was a major source of discussion at the Bali Conference after the environmental group, Germanwatch, released a report citing the Philippines as the world's top climate change victim in 2006 for the strong typhoons which caused the Legazpi Mudslide and the Southern Leyte Landslide. They were the world's 2nd and 3rd deadliest disasters of 2006 claiming the lives of 2,511 people and rendering almost 800,000 families homeless.

The natural disasters inflicted on the Philippines were always exacerbated by man-made disasters like the illegal logging which deprive the country of valuable forest trees that could stop the rain waters from flooding the lowland areas.

The Bali Conference delegates called on the Philippines to pass the Renewable Energy Bill, sponsored by Sen. Dick Gordon, which has in various forms languished in the Philippine Congress for almost 10 years. The bill will actively promote the development of renewable energy sources abundant in the country like solar, wind, tidal and geothermal and setting time-bound renewable energy targets. It will ensure that the Philippines will wean away from overdependence on power generated through fossil fuels like oil and coal which have been identified as major contributors to climate change.

Passage of the Renewable Energy bill is especially critical because of the rising price of oil which now costs more than a US$100 a barrel. “With the RE Bill,” Jasper Inventor of Greenpeace said, “the country will utilize its massive renewable energy potential. The Philippines' wind energy potential alone reaches up to more than 70,000 MW. Solar power is abundant in the country and is capable of producing 1500 hours of power annually at 5 kilowatt hours per square meter per day."

There is very little time left. Pass the Renewable Energy Bill now!


On a personal note, I would like to express my condolences to the family of Charles Mosser, a philanthropist and environmentalist who died in the Philippines on October 17, 2007 at the age of 82. Charles and his wife, Annabelle Indemne Mosser, amassed a fortune in San Francisco real estate, a part of which they used to invest in Annabelle’s home province of Negros. They bought or leased more than 20,000 denuded hectares of mountain land and funded the planting there of their goal of 18-M trees of which 2-M have already been planted.

In 2005, the Philippine Congress granted Charles Mosser the Philippine citizenship he had long sought.

On that note, I wish you all the happiest of holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Justice for a Philippine Hero

Before Lt. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV allowed the 11 million votes he received in the last senatorial elections to infect him with delusions of grandeur, he and his band of Magdalo mutineers raised legitimate issues about corruption in the military. Unfortunately, the messenger’s megalomania obscured the message. Fortunately, a day after the Manila Pen farce, Fr. James Reuter wrote an article that refocused the people’s attention on the message, more effectively than Trillanes ever could.

Entitled “Justice at 3 A.M.”, Fr. Reuter wrote about Phillip Andrew Pestaño, a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila High School in 1989, who entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), and graduated as an Ensign in the Philippine Navy in 1993, when he was then assigned as cargo master on a Navy ship.

Sometime in 1995, Pestaño discovered (according to Fr. Reuter) that “the cargo being loaded onto his vessel included logs that were cut down illegally, were carried to the ship illegally, and were destined to be sold, illegally… Then there were 50 sacks of flour, which were not flour, but shabu (methamphetamine) - worth billions. Literally, billions ... And there were military weapons which were destined for sale to the Abu Sayyaf.”

As cargo master of the ship, Pestaño refused to approve the illegal cargo despite orders from his superior officers that he do so.

According to Fr. Reuter, “Pestaño’s parents received two phone calls, saying: "Get your son off that ship! He is going to be killed!" When Phillip was given leave at home, his family begged him not to go back. Their efforts at persuasion continued until his last night at home, when Phillip was already in bed.”

”His father came to him and said: "Please, son, resign your commission. Give up your military career. Don't go back. We want you alive. If you go back to that ship, it will be the end of you!" But Phillip said to his father: "Kawawa ang bayan! (Pity the country)" And he went back to the ship.”

”The scheduled trip was very brief - from Cavite to Roxas Boulevard - it usually took only 45 minutes. But on September 27, 1995, it took one hour and a half. When the ship arrived at Roxas Boulevard , Ensign Pestaño was dead.”

Within a day, the Navy ruled that Pestaño had committed suicide because a “suicide note” was found in his cabin. But the note was not in his handwriting and he was an honor student at Ateneo, and engaged to be married in a few months, his family protested.

A Philippine Senate investigation on the Pestaño death was conducted in 1997 on a resolution sponsored by then Sen. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In the course of the investigation, witnesses testified that before he died, Pestaño refused to authorize the loading of 14,000 board feet of illegal hardwood logs in Tawi-Tawi even though its governor, Gerry Matba, had a gift for his good friend, Admiral Pio Carranza.

Despite Pestaño’s objections, the logs were off-loaded in Cavite before the ship sailed for Manila in what would normally be a 45 minute trip. The trip lasted more than 1 ½ hours.

After hearing from numerous witnesses, the Senate Report (#800) concluded: “Pestaño did not kill himself aboard the BRP Bacolod City… He was bludgeoned unconscious and then shot to death somewhere else in the vessel. His body was moved and laid on the bed where it was found.”

“The clear absence of blood spatters, bone fragments or other human tissues is physical evidence more eloquent than a hundred witnesses,” the Senate report observed. “It is impossible for a person who has just sustained a fatal head injury to walk from some other place in his room, lie on his bed and drop dead…”

“He was killed by an assailant, necessarily aboard the BRP Bacolod City”, before it docked at the Navy HQ on Roxas Boulevard. The attempt to make it appear Pestano killed himself inside his stateroom was so deliberate and elaborate that one person could not have accomplished it by himself.”

But who killed Pestaño?

In a privilege speech several years later, Sen. Fred Lim, now mayor of Manila, named Lt. Carlito Amoroso (PMA class 1994), a close-in security for Admiral Carranza who was not a crew member of the ship, as the possible gunman.

Sen. Lim also linked Ensign Joselito Colico to the crime as he admitted before the Senate that he removed the magazine from the .45 caliber pistol and wiped off fingerprints. Calico was never charged even with tampering with the evidence.

Lim also spoke of Petty 0fficer (PO2) Zosimo Villanueva who was the officer who tipped Pestaño on the presence of illegal cargo pn the ship, specifically about “the concealed bulk of illegal drugs (hidden) in the more than 20 sacks of rice cargoes aboard the ship,” Lim revealed. A week after Pestaño’s murder, Villanueva was sent on mission where he mysteriously “washed away in a sea mishap”.

There was also Ensign Alvin Parone who was apparently the officer who called Pestaño’s parents to warn them of plans to kill their son. He was also killed, Sen. Lim said, “a victim of another unsolved murder.”

Also missing and presumed dead is Petty Officer (PO3) Fidel Tagaytay who was the duty officer on board Pestaño’s ship. When he was summoned to testify before the senate, he disappeared. His wife, Leonila, has been desperately searching for him, begging the authorities to investigate his disappearance. He is “absent without leave” is all the Navy brass will tell her.

No one has yet been charged with the murders of Pestaño and the other officers who could abide the corruption they witnessed. The whitewash has continued.

Fr. Reuter wrote: “Some military men are killed in battle. They are given a hero's burial. But Phillip died for a much deeper cause - he was trying to preserve the integrity of our Armed Forces. He died out of loyalty to the Philippines, in an effort to keep the oath that he made when he graduated from the Philippine Military Academy.”

”Graft and corruption are the curse of this nation. But when they take root in the heart of our Armed Forces, they threaten our existence as an independent, democratic country.”

Let us all demand JUSTICE for Phillip Pestaño, a genuine Philippine hero.

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Monday, December 3, 2007

The Caricature Coup

The 1986 People Power revolution that brought down the Marcos Dictatorship was instigated by the foiled coup attempt of a group of soldiers called the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) led by an ambitious young colonel named Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan. Although the RAM coup attempt failed, the government’s subsequent move to crush it resulted in the People Power overthrow of the Marcos Dictatorship.

Because the Philippines is a nation of copycats, young “idealistic” military officers have since sought to copy the RAM example. Including the last one on November 29, 2007, there have been at least thirteen abortive coups since 1986: nine against President Cory Aquino from 1986 to 1989 and four (so far) against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo since 2001.

The most serious coup attempt was the one that nearly toppled Aquino in December of 1989 and it involved the military occupation of several hotels in Makati’s financial district. Led by Col. Honasan, who has been involved in virtually every coup attempt against the government, it included then Major (now General) Danilo Lim.

In 2003, a group of young junior officers and soldiers led by Lt. Antonio V. Trillanes IV mounted what has been called the “Oakwood Mutiny” after the plush hotel they occupied with high-powered weapons and explosives. The 60 “Magdalo” rebels, as they called themselves, surrendered after their 4-day siege failed to garner support from the Philippine military. The mutineers were charged with rebellion and are still going through legal proceedings.

What all these coup plotters forgot is that the 1986 RAM coup attempt against Marcos was effectively crushed before it could get started. In that ironic sense, though, all the 13 military coup attempts that sought to emulate the RAM example succeeded because they all failed.

In that ironic sense then, the latest coup attempt of Lt. Trillanes and Gen. Lim, staged at the Manila Peninsula Hotel last week, was a roaring success.

It was not intended to be a spontaneous coup, however, as it was seriously pre-planned. Both Trillanes and Lim had criminal hearings scheduled for November 29 at a courtroom in Makati when they left the courtroom, along with most of their guards, and marched on to the Manila Peninsula Hotel a few blocks away. While they were still en route to the hotel, their Magdalo group’s website, SUNDALO, was already announcing news of their “constitutional rescue” of the country and of their call on the people to rally behind them. Gen. Lim informed the press that other officers and soldiers from military camps all over the Philippines would soon join them as planned.

But they knew they could not succeed militarily, that much they learned from Trillanes’ disastrous 2003 Oakwood Mutiny and from Lim’s 1989 putschist adventure. They could only succeed politically but only if they were able to replicate and recreate the 1986 People Power revolution. In place of the charismatic Cardinal Jaime Sin, they had Bishop Antonio Tobias from Novaliches and Bishop Julio Labayen from Quezon. Instead of Cory Aquino, they had former Vice President Teofisto Guingona. To represent civil society, they had former UP President Francisco Nemenzo. And they had the entire Philippine media covering their grievances against the “corrupt”, “vicious” and “illegitimate” government of President Arroyo.

If they could just hold on for another day, then the massive rallies already scheduled for Bonifacio Day, November 30, would surely converge at the Manila Peninsula Hotel to support them and People Power 3 would be on its way, with military commanders from all over the Philippines announcing their withdrawal of allegiance to the Arroyo government and political leaders pledging their support for the new government.

While Trillanes and Lim learned something from history, so did the government. Marcos and Estrada were ousted by People Power because they waited too long to crush the rebellion. This time, there would be no such hesitation and there would be no negotiations as were held during the Oakwood Mutiny. A Marine battalion was quickly dispatched to the Manila Peninsula Hotel with orders to quash the Magdalo rebellion immediately, which they accomplished with no loss of life.

In staging their rebellion, Trillanes and Lim presented themselves as the new Bonifacios of the Philippines while strangely invoking the name of a group with a dubious historical legacy. In his senatorial campaign literature, Trillanes explained that "the name 'Magdalo' is homage to Emilio Aguinaldo’s faction of the Katipunan Chapter in Cavite that supported and pushed for a revolutionary government as a replacement for the Katipunan.”

The Katipunan was the revolutionary organization founded by Supremo Andres Bonifacio which launched the revolution against Spain in 1896. In the course of that revolution, two Katipunan factions emerged in Cavite province, the Magdiwang, which was loyal to Bonifacio, and the Magdalo of Gen. Aguinaldo, which believed that the Katipunan was obsolete and needed to be replaced by a revolutionary government.

To unite the warring factions, a reconciliation meeting was held in Tejeros, Cavite but the meeting soon turned into a presidential convention with snap elections. While the Katipunan had chapters in at least eight provinces, the voters at the Tejeros convention were mostly Cavitenos, like Aguinaldo.

Gen. Aguinaldo was predictably elected president of the new revolutionary government that replaced the Katipunan and Bonifacio was elected Secretary of the Interior, perhaps as a gesture of unity. But one of Aguinaldo’s men, Daniel Tirona, questioned Bonifacio’s credentials because he was not a lawyer. This brazen insult to Bonifacio caused him to walk out of the convention and to declare the elections null and void because they were "fraudulent".

Before Bonifacio and his men could leave Cavite, however, “President” Aguinaldo ordered their arrest for treason. After a mock trial, Bonifacio and his brother were found guilty and sentenced to death. They were executed in Mt. Buntis by Gen. Lazaro Makapagal (another irony).

After Bonifacio’s execution, the tide of the revolution turned against Aguinaldo, who then negotiated his surrender to the Spaniards in the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. In exchange for P200,000 pesos, Aguinaldo and his men agreed to go into exile in Hongkong in December of 1897.

While George Santayana is famous for his line that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, he also wrote that “the world is a perpetual caricature of itself; at every moment it is the mockery and the contradiction of what it is pretending to be.”

Pretending to be the new Bonifacio of the Philippines, Trillanes emulates the name of the very group that executed his hero and that sold out the Philippine revolution, a mockery and contradiction all in one.