‘Pilipino tago, Pilipino turo’ | Inquirer Opinion

‘Pilipino tago, Pilipino turo’

05:04 AM November 07, 2017

That title has become a derogatory cliché about a negative Filipino trait. It simply means that Filipinos hiding from authorities end up getting caught because a fellow Filipino sold them out.

This psychological wretchedness has subverted the Filipino’s respectability in the eyes of the world. In the United States, for example, immigration authorities catch up with undocumented Filipinos (the “TNT” or tago nang tago—always hiding) because fellow Filipinos rat on them for financial reward — and damn friendship or “nationalistic nonsense.” This treachery is also true in other countries where Filipinos work to be able to send money home to their loved ones.


A most detestable image of treachery was that of a Filipino wartime collaborator known as “Makapili” (for Makabayang Katipunan ng mga Pilipino, a civilian militia group organized by the Japanese military), who, a bayong covering his head, with two small holes for his vision, pointed at suspected guerrillas. The suspects were then arrested and beheaded by Japanese troops, and the traitor rewarded.

Our history as a people is replete with incidents that can confound, disappoint and disillusion one who believes in Filipino nationalism and loyalty. Rajah Humabon made the conquistador Ferdinand Magellan believe in his loyalty and encouraged the Spaniard to engage Lapu-Lapu and his men in mortal combat; Miguel Vicos and Pedro Becbec killed Diego Silang; Teodoro Patiño exposed the Katipunan’s battle plan to Fr. Mariano Gil; Januario Galut guided the American invaders to a secret path leading to Gen. Gregorio del Pilar’s hideout; Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by the Americans in Palanan, Isabela, due to a double-cross by Hilario Tal Placido together with the “Macabebe Scouts” of Pampanga, who guided the enemy to where Aguinaldo was.


Who killed Antonio Luna? His own comrades-in-arms Felipe Buencamino and Capt. Pedro Jalandoni. Andres Bonifacio and his brother were, on orders, killed by Col. Lazaro Macapagal. Perhaps not many know that Benigno Aquino Sr. was the vice president of Japanese Occupation President Jose Laurel Sr. and leader of the Kalibapi (Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipino). Trinidad Pardo de Tavera founded the Federalism Party which backed the US occupation of the Philippines. A Dominador Gomez betrayed the Filipino patriot Macario Sakay, which led to his capture by the American colonizers.

The list seems endless. Pantaleon Villegas, an officer of Aguinaldo’s army, was killed in Carcar, Cebu, by his own aide-de-camp, Apolinario Alcuitas, upon the instigation of another Filipino, Florencio Noel, a pro-Spanish religious leader. Antonio Surabao told Spanish authorities of the rebellion plot of Magat Salamat and Martin Pangan in 1578, which led to the capture and death of many Filipinos.

In fact, the history of humankind is full of stories about betrayal; even the scriptures of the great religions tell of disloyalty and treachery among peers and within families. Envy, jealousy and anger overwhelm morality, and materialism is the main path to evil. Jesus had 12 disciples yet one Judas who sold Him out. The US Army officer Benedict Arnold provided the British with “data about American military plans and strength for which [he] received payment.” Today a traitor is called a Benedict Arnold.

Then there was the Norwegian politician Vidkun Quisling who was “a strong admirer of Hitler’s New Order” and betrayed his country to the Nazis. “Quisling” is now a word “synonymous with perfidy and treason.”

We’re not alone as betrayers of our own, just leading in number.

“Pilipino” as a people must be in its evolutionary clock, and will hopefully evolve into nobility and respectability when it finds the path to renascence.

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Eddie Ilarde (PO Box 107, Makati City) is a former senator. He is heard in his radio program “Kahapon Lamang” Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. over dzBB. He is the founding president of the Maharlika Foundation for National Transformation and the president-chair of the Golden Eagles Society for Senior Citizens.

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TAGS: Eddie Ilarde, Inquirer Commentary, Macabebe Scouts, Makapili, negative Filipino traits
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