Who is Macario Sakay?

Thoughts for thought

I am currently cleaning my PC before reformatting it and I found this reaction paper of mine regarding the local film called “Sakay”. Here is the content:

Sakay: The Vilified Hero

            Macario Sakay was a very brave and tenacious man of his time. Even if he was imprisoned he still dared oppose the colonial rule of America over the Philippines. This is what the movie “Sakay” was about. The story revolves around Macario Sakay, a man from Tondo that joined the Philippine Revolution and fought against the Spaniards. But after the Spaniards were driven off, another colonial rule was yet to come. And under the U.S. colonial rule, he was imprisoned, but was later on pardoned. In the movie, when he is a free man already. He is having second thoughts whether to continue the fight for freedom or to live a peaceful life. It might have been a very difficult decision to make considering the experience he went through when he was in jail. He neither wants to go back to prison nor to die. But the ideals of his deceased father in a form of a ghostly image guided him to continue the fight. The movement Sakay was forming was being funded by the principalias, they too want to drive the Americans away. But in the end, they too would betray Sakay and his men, the way the Americans tricked Sakay by lies and deception just to capture him.

The Americans were just as cruel as the Spaniards; they would execute those rebelling against them and get a hold of properties owned by suspected collaborators with those, whom they call “bandits”. Bandit is what Sakay is to their eyes; doing no good, opposing the government and everything they can throw at them. For them, he is a nuisance to their ruling and later on will become their biggest headache. But the Spaniards were not as clever as the Americans; divide et conquera, a strategy that would make the Philippines fall into their hands swiftly. This was carried on by establishing the Philippine Constabulary, a military force consisting of native Filipinos. Filipinos who have betrayed their country itself, fighting fellow Filipinos, underlings of Uncle Sam. They have forgotten what they were fighting for before, blinded by all things luxurious brought by America. They have accepted what was presented at their front, losing the ideals of a free state and going on the American way.

Sakay founded his own government, the Tagalog Republic. His government had a flag, a system of taxation, a disciplined army. His government operated in total defiance of the US authorities. This made the US take on Sakay seriously. But in the crossfire, the innocent were being slaughtered, burned houses, and lives taken as if they were being a shield for Sakay. Another thing was, by establishing his own government, he had ignored other Filipinos outside of his government. But I understand that without a firm leadership, such rebellion would not be possible, thus, his idea of continuing the fight for freedom would just be a dream and nothing else.

Sakay was defined by the Americans as a bandit. They see him that way. First and foremost, real bandits, guerillas and robbers that were stealing crops and domestic animals, raiding houses, killing people,  when caught, identify themselves as Sakay’s men, which is not true. Of course this would give Sakay a bad image not only to the Filipinos but to the Americans as well. Another thing, Sakay’s men do raid and kill Americans in order to get arms and ammunitions, a very vital component if you are going to war of course. But that is what the Americans think of him and I look in the opposite direction. He did what he had to do; to protect this country’s freedom. It is not a crime to either defend your country against foreign invaders or conform to their ruling.

Alas, betrayal works its wonders; a fellow Filipino traded another man’s freedom for his own personal gains. Dr. Dominador Gomez, one of the supposedly benefactor of Sakay, betrayed him and his men. He was about to go to prison because of his collaboration with the Spaniards; charging him with sedition because he served as a surgeon in the Spanish Army in Cuba. Sakay’s surrender was his bargain for freedom. So after Sakay and de Vega was hanged. His case was opened and then dismissed for “insufficient evidence”. He said that the governor-general promises to create a national assembly of Filipinos elected by the people where the leaders can be trained to eventual self-government. But there was a catch, Sakay and his men must surrender peacefully and they will be given amnesty. Amnesty was not given but instead death was already lurking when they trekked down to Cavite.

We will learn a lot from this film. There are many social issues in the film that as of now still exist in our society; an illness that has its history that goes way-way back. Even though we are not under the American rule anymore, manifestations of their colonial rule still prevail and thrive within our society. A new form of colonialism is taking place. But I realized something very important. Colonialism gave birth to nationalism. We did not long for our country’s right when we’re not yet ruled by other countries. Indeed colonialism gave way to fighting for a common goal, freedom.