We Take a Stand

Andres Bonifacio…Atapang Atao

4 min read

By Boboy Yonzon | Published: November 30, 2020


Once in a while, I have surreal dreams.

Andres Bonifacio is fuming at how the authorities suddenly sent Jose Rizal on exile to Dapitan, forbidden to use his laptop and any cellphone.

Ka Pepe is too learned and too incendiary for comfort. He was a millennial before that word was invented.

People in power intend to block him from writing anything or messaging anyone. His works become viral.

Bonifacio and Rizal are young men. Full of fire and ideals.


Patent Paranoia

The government is getting paranoid and intensifying its offense and insults.

It rabidly sees a revolutionary in every citizen who even dare to notice its ineptness.

It threatens to defund the premiere university whose students unceasingly express disillusionment.

Even if it is Rizal’s school, Ateneo, that is the pasimuno in calling for a strike.

Government minions start red-tagging and identifying the state university as the breeding ground of subversives. Irresponsibly putting the vocal ones on cross-hair ends.

Why, the lackeys even claim that the high ranking of the university is manufactured, while gullibly sticking to the lie that their leader got 91 percent approval.


Campaign Of Trolling

In my dream, the administration forms a new office called the Department of Information and Campaign of Trolling or DICT to counteract the ground swell of protests.

Its first significant act is to squirrel away Intelligence Funds.

Bonifacio and a score of brave men from the proletarian ranks meet in a decrepit house in Binondo and forge a pact in blood to fight the regime.

It calls its organization KKKK: Kapatiran Kontra sa Kabuktutan ni Kanor.

It has no pretensions about its origins. It is not borne out of intellectual exercises in Madrid or in afternoon tertulia enjoyed by the Indios illustrados.

It has no scions of cigarette smugglers, cockfighting afficionados, drug lords, tradpols, or thespians from Cavite.

It has no links whatsoever to the Dancing Ilokano in Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The Outlier

Andoy the bodegero does not belong to any of these classes. He is an outlier.

Historians disagree on the educational attainment of Andoy, whether he reached only Grade IV or Third Year high school.

The K-12 imposed by the Americans to make assembly autobots out of Pinoys only befuddles tracking back.

His parents died when Andoy was barely a teenager and he had to work to support his brothers Procopio, Ciriaco and Teodosio, and his two sisters Maxima and Esperidiona.

Bonifacio becomes an ambulant vendor selling canes and fans. He becomes a stage actor like Dolphy, appearing in zarzuelas. He has the looks and the charisma.


Learning, A Threat

He settles to become a warehouseman where, in one dim corner of the bodega, Andoy positions a tejeras and consumes books after books.

These include his more favored Rizal book, the angrier El Filibusterismo.

That in itself is dangerous. For despots that is. Learning awakens people to the reality of the land.

It enables them to compare wretchedness, its perpetuators, and the possible solutions. Sometimes violent.

Learning becomes more threatening when more people speak and passionately act from their hearts over those who work from templates and whose loyalty is only to blood money.

Andoy gets fascinated by the French Revolution. I wonder if he sees and laments with Jean Valjean and identifies with his persecution by government.

And why that station in life should spark pagkamuhi as the image of a young boy swimming in his own blood, killed by men in uniform but out of their human dignity.

And how, pray mercy, will Bonifacio wage its battle?


Of Faggot & Maggots

Though venues for conflict engagement have migrated to social media, protests on the streets remain a strong option. It is visual. It is noisy. It is dramatic.

And then there are the guerilla tactics and the overt confrontation by arms preferred by the KKKK.

But Bonifacio and his men lose battle after battle.

And as certain as the alalay would have his selfies, the dopey ruler who detests Manileños will surely describe Andoy as mahina sa diskarte, and probably even duwag for his defeats.

That is understandable. Men who claim to have huge balls as Goliath tend to mock other people, especially if they appear meek.

Like faggots and maggots, they even mock and try to pick a fight with working widows who remain unperturbed.


Plundering Cabal

Manong Adrian Cristobal, thinker and author of The Tragedy of A Revolution, comes into my dream.

He says: Andoy and his band are responsible for the momentum of the revolution.

They strike in Manila, the very center of the lethal beehive.

And this inspires other provinces to finally rise up against their corrupt officials.

More volunteers sacrifice their lives for the country. In the end, the Filipinos win – even if momentarily.

Yan ang ambag nila sa bayan.

Of course, Bonifacio and his brothers never see that; they die in the hands of the enemy within.

They lose to the dastardly schemes of the elite and the power-hungry — the same plundering cabal that surrounds the leadership.

That is the tragedy in our history. Where Filipinos who genuinely love their country are decimated by traitors terrified by people speaking freely.


There Is Hope

But let us end the dream on an amber glow.

Bonifacio has more monuments than his tormentors. Splendid ones at that, where he appears defiant. There will be lights and celebratory marching music today, his birthdate.

We extol those who give us hope. Those who instill in us courage to rectify errors and end days of terror.  Those whose ideals and vision transcend mortal bodies and narrow bands of time.

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