Gay members in Katipunan, Apolinario Mabini's Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and Jose Rizal not a legit national hero – how true?
We call every man with great courage, dignity, morals and unrequited love for the country – a hero. But how well do we really know them? Here are some lesser-known but intriguing controversies haunting our “heroes.”
1. Gay members in Emilio Aguilnaldo’s Katipunan
One of the many members of Aguinaldo’s secret group K.K.K or the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan, Teodoro Patiño, was accused of being gay. It was also believed that the one who invited him to join was his secret love interest who also happened to be a katipunero.
According to one historian, there was once an instance that provoked gender suspicions against Teodoro Patiño. That was when he disclosed to her sister, who was a nun, the existence of Katipunan. Her sister then relayed to a priest what she found. Teodoro Patiño’s betrayal led to the captivity of hundreds of Katipunan members. His cowardice became the chief reason why he was labeled gay. However, experts say there was no clear evidence to proclaim him a real gay.
Studies suggest that the term “bakla” (gay) that was used to call Teodoro has a different meaning by then compared to what we know now. Before, the word was used to describe someone who was a fickle-minded and inconsistent.
Aside from Teodoro – genders of other members of the Katipunan were also questioned. The reason was – they dressed like women. But they only did that as a strategy to deceive Spanish soldiers. In that way, they were able to attend secret meetings and started a revolt without the prior knowledge of the Spaniards.
2. Apolinario Mabini died because of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD).
Apolinario Mabini,often referred to as “Dakilang Lumpo” (The Sublime Paralytic), had an active social life during his younger years according to one historian. He liked attending parties very much and loved socializing with a lot of people.
But would that be sufficed to say that Mabini got his alleged STD from meeting different women?
Contrary to what another historian has to say, Mabini was the serious type and was not into social gatherings. Out of poverty, he prioritized earning a living and supporting his financial needs as a student.
Records from experts in 1980 revealed findings on Mabini’s bones. The result showed that he got paralyzed and died because Cholera and not because of STD. He got infected of the acute disease after drinking Carabao milk. Pasteurization was not yet a practice that time and there was a big possibility that the milk he has taken was contaminated.
So, where did the issue on Mabini having an STD come from? Analysts claim it was from his political rivals who wanted to tarnish our hero’s image.
3. Jose Rizal is not our national hero.
Yes, Dr. Jose Rizal is not our official “Pambansang Bayani” (national hero). He must have been renowned as the greatest among bygone Filipinos of heroic achievement; nevertheless, he was not declared explicitly as a national hero. The title Rizal holds in Philippine history is only a tribute of Filipinos in respect of his greatness as a purveyor of change towards the nation’s significant social transformations.
Who is our national hero then?
According to National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), there was no law, executive order or proclamation that has been passed to proclaim any Filipino historical figure as a national hero. But there were proclamations issued and laws enacted recognizing and honoring these brave men for the relevant roles they made in the process of nation building. And even more, for their unequalled contributions to history.
Regardless of the lack of any official proclamation explicitly declaring him as a national hero, a man like Rizal, including all the other historical men who sacrificed lives for the country remains respected and admired for their contributions in Philippine history.
As what historians would say, legislation for heroes should not be mandatory. Recognizing them is more than enough to show our deep appreciation for their great contributions.
More trivia about Dr. Jose Rizal:
-Rizal was shot to death via firing squad, not by the Spaniards but, by Filipino soldiers.
-Not all of Rizal’s body was buried at the foot of his monument at Luneta Park, a part of his vertebra or spinal column was placed at the Rizal Shrine. It was the exact portion of his body where he was shot.
-Rizal had a child with Josephine Bracken. They named their son after Josephine’s father – Francisco. But because the baby came out prematurely their son died soon after.
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