El Presidente : A movie which depicts history, educates people and distorts facts/truth (?) 1

The recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festival had produced eight Filipino-made films that guaranteed themes for families, friends and sweet hearts as well as for the whole Filipino people. Those films were shown beginning on the Christmas day that will end on the 8th of January, 2013.

One of those films was El Presidente: The General Emilio Aguinaldo story and the First Philippine Republic. This film showed (the) historical remarks behind Emilio Aguinaldo’s life – in battlefield, in crises, in triumphs and victories and in the family. While the film was only for (or by family of) Aguinaldo, there were also stories depicting significant heroes in our history. These heroes were shown because they became an important part in Aguinaldo’s life – as a Republic leader and as a General in the war.

However, there was a benefit of the doubt as the film set to show to people Aguinaldo as the kindest, the strongest, the most powerful, a good person or a good leader. The film did not set to show what were the negatives behind Aguinaldo as he flourished in Philippine history. The film was very conservative in doing, making and showing the fact or the most dramatic, (the) truth behind Aguinaldo’s life. The title of the film is problematic. The use of “THE” means absolute.

Anyway, let us just set aside for awhile the fact. Let us talk about the reality and the distortions that the film had given to us.

General Emilio Aguinaldo was only 28 when he became the president of the Philippines. Given this fact, the physical attribute of Jeorge Estregan standing as Emilio Aguinaldo did not satisfy the 28 years of age. Some people in the cinema did not know about this. What their goal was just to watch and talked with their friends (betting they would not do this). Anyway, the role was not for Estregan. The considerations would be that Estregan really wanted to personified key people in Philippine history; that he was craving for awards just like what Asiong Salonga, the movie had earned before; that he and the whole production team wanted to generate an income without thinking the awards; or the most serious was that he wanted to inform, show and educate somehow the people who really was Emilio Aguinaldo.

Although given these things, the way Jeorge Estregan delivered his role, the way Jeorge Estregan’s hair was cut on that way and the way he stood in the scenes, you would really imagine and say that Emilio Aguinaldo was Jeorge Estregan or Jeorge Estregan was Emilio Aguinaldo.

Leaving Estregan’s role, big actors acting other important people in history were as good as Estregan. Christopher de Leon as Antonio Luna was perfectly delivered the true hero’s attitude. The researcher of the film really researched on this time. Antonio Luna was very serious, subversive and wanted to have what he wanted but he was incredibly the best military leader the Philippines ever had during the revolution. Christopher de Leon delivered this very well. But another distortion came in during the death of Luna. There were no articles written that Felipe Buencamino (played by Joonee Gamboa) was the person whom Luna asked if where was Aguinaldo. The role of Buencamino in Luna’s death was he was only the person who got the telegram from Luna’s pocket.

Adding to Luna’s death, there were some accounts that after the murder, Aguinaldo’s mother gone out of the window and asked the soldiers who killed Luna if he was still alive. It never been shown in the film because it can be a blast to Aguinaldo’s family where some accounts were telling that Aquinaldo was the best follower of his mother. There were also scenes that would have a bad impact to Luna’s descendants. The scene that Aguinaldo was writing about Luna’s death that he was wrong about not investigating the former would be a good reason to hide for truth and washing his hands.

Another actor that deserved to be sited as a good one was Cesar Montano playing the KKK Supremo, Andres Bonifacio. Cesar Montano was a very versatile actor playing Jose Rizal and this time, Bonifacio. When I was watching the part of the Tejeros Convention and Bonifacio’s trial, I was very nervous. Did the research team also felt the nervousness behind their courage to show those scenes? Did they watch the I-Witness documentaries about Aguinaldo and Bonifacio? Did they know that the descendants of both parties have conflict up until now? Like Aguinaldo on Antonio Luna, the general was again washing his hands in his wrongness of signing the letter convicting and giving a sentence to the Bonifacio brothers of death. And one thing was that Procopio did not run from death which the film showed in either way. Who run from death was Andres Bonifacio but never been too far because of thick bushes.

Watch out for the finished version of this post. Thank you. 


Agoncillo, Teodoro (1969). History of the Filipino People. Quezon City: Malaya Books.

Ocampo, Ambeth. 15 May 2009. The execution of Bonifacio. Inquirer Opinion. Retrieved on January 06, 2013 from http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20090515-205102/The-execution-of-Bonifacio

Ocampo, Ambeth. 10 November 2009. Luna’s murder remains unsolved. Inquirer Opinion. Retrieved on January 06, 2013 from http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20091110-235455/Lunas-murder-remains-unsolved

These sources aren’t complete yet. 

2 Responses to “El Presidente : A movie which depicts history, educates people and distorts facts/truth (?) 1”
  1. Kem Masayon says:

    EL PRESEDENTE, The Life of Gen. Emelio Aguinaldo the first Presedent of the Philippine Republic…

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] El Presidente: a movie which depicts history, educates people and {[distorts fact (/truth) (?)]} […]

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