Thursday, June 28, 2012


To the Seeker of the Right
Dr. Norberto L. Mercado, MNSA, Sigma Rho '73
President, Philippine-American Writers Society


        (This article is a continuation of my previous article titled "THE TRUTH ABOUT JUNE 12,1898" which was published in this e-column . Dr. Norberto L. Mercado, MNSA,RC 21, Youngest Graduate in the History of  NDCP - the War College of the Philippines) .

       I had a very pleasant evening  conversation with my Sigma Rho brod JP Quimpo recently, and among our topics was the coming of the American navy to the Philippines on May 1,1898.

       We had dinner at KFC in UP-Ayala Techno Hub, and then a cup of brewed coffee in a nearby Starbucks. And after we  discussed myriads of issues about the constructive and  positive effects of the Sigma Rho Alumni  countrywide unification, JP and I found ourselves discussing Philippine history when I thanked him for re-posting my article "THE TRUTH ABOUT JUNE 12,1898" to the FACEBOOK Account of the Sigma Rho ( non-Diliman/Manila account ) .

       JP asked this question : "What if the Americans didn't come ?"

       It's an intriguing question. What if the American navy under Admiral George Dewey didn't come to the Philippines and fought the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1,1898 ? Or if Dewey's battleships lost to the Spanish navy ?

       From the coming of the  Spanish Conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to the coming of American Navy Admiral George Dewey was a span of three centuries and more than three decades. The Philippines, described by Dr. Jose "Rizal" Mercado ,who was a nephew of my great grandfather,  as the "Pearl of the Orient Seas", was a prized Spanish possession.

       Spain would not give  up the Philippines  to the Filipino revolutionaries led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. The Spanish crown would give it up only to a superior conqueror, and that is the United States.

       To prove my point, I will cite to you two clear historical incidents : 


        Again, the "nationalist whatevers" will bamboozle me for this statement . But this is the truth . Between Spain and the Philippines, I will choose the Philippines anytime because it is my homeland . But between falsehood and the truth, I will choose the truth anytime. 

        What really happened? Simple. Through Pedro Paterno, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo agreed to surrender his forces, including their firearms, for a relatively huge amount of  eight hundred thousand (800,000) Mexican pesetas in the "Treaty of Biak-na-Bato" . The amount would be paid in three installments by the Spanish government in Manila.

         In short, and sad to say it , the Filipino rebel leaders under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo  sold their revolution !  This is a hard statement, but it is the truth, and the truth hurts . 

        It is also stipulated in the said treaty that Gen. Aguinaldo and the Filipino  rebel leadership would agree to be exiled  to a foreign land of their choice. Aguinaldo and his circle chose Hong Kong. His group would later be called the "Hong Kong Junta" .  They were all under surveillance by the Spanish Consulate in Hong Kong on the first  day they arrived in that British colony. ( I  did business in Hong Kong for almost 10 years ). 

       What the "nationalist whatevers" were saying that the "Hong Kong Junta" would use the money for purchasing firearms was purely speculative. Granting for the sake of argument that such purchase of firearms  was Aguinaldo's intention . The Spanish Consulate in Hong Kong would have known such purchase thru its numerous agents that included "bellas hermosas" . 

      And the Spanish Crown could have asked its fellow European colonizer Great Britain to arrest and imprison the Hong Kong Junta for conspiring to overthrow Spain inside a British territory. That would have been treason by the "Hong Kong Junta" against their host - the English crown . Let us not forget that the Spanish royals and the English royals are blood relatives!


       The Spanish royals, the German royals, and the French royals are also related by blood through inter-marriages ! 

       This is the reason why Germany and France sent their battleships to Manila Bay - to block any enemy ship which would carry firearms to the Filipino revolutionaries . The German ships and French ships were all docked in Manila Bay when  Admiral Dewey's fleet destroyed all warships of the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Manila Bay ! 

      Why didn't the Germans and the French join the fray? Well, they knew the firepower  of the US battleships, and they didn't have the go signal from their respective governments to fight the United States. 

        And so, I  answered  my Sigma Rho brod JP Quimpo's question : "What if the Americans didn't come?" 

        I told him : " The Philippines would have remained a Spanish colony until the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War 2".

        And even if  Dewey's fleet came, but it lost to the Spanish Armada in Manila Bay, Spain would have continued its centuries-old  colonial rule - until the Japanese Imperial Army came in December 1941.

        By the way, there was no "Philippine Republic" during the ruthless Japanese rule. There was  the "JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES" . The PRESIDENT of the JAPANESE GOVERNMENT  IN THE PHILIPPINES is  Jose P. Laurel .He was a Japanese collaborator . There were other Japanese collaborators with Jose P. Laurel. He nearly died in an assassination attempt by the Filipino guerillas.

        My father, Aurelio Mercado Sr., was a guerilla officer during World War 2. My uncle, Gadong Lacierna , brother of my mother Francisca Lacierna of San Clemente, Tarlac, was a Bataan veteran and Death March survivor. Sick and emaciated, he decided to escape  in Pampanga  because the Japanese forces were bayonetting Filipino and American "death marchers" who were too sick to  walk.  Another brother of my mother, Quirino Lacierna, was a member of the Philippine Scouts . When Bataan fell, he joined the guerillas. Uncle Gadong later joined him.

        From them, my family members,  I learned love for my poor  country. This is the main  reason why I have remained in the Philippines until now.  That doesn't mean though that Filipinos who have migrated to the US don't love their country. I believe they do. 

        I love living with my family - my wife June, our children John Mark, Jerusalem Angela, and Joanne - in our homeland - the Philippines . 

       When my Heavenly Father  says that  my time and work on earth  is up, I want to die in my homeland, and not as an "economic exile"  in another country. 

                                                             Dr. Norberto L. Mercado 
                                                             Quezon City, Philippines
                                                             Posted on  June 26,2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

To the Seeker of the Right
by Dr. Norberto L. Mercado


                                 "You can not cheat history." - Anonymous

History is my favorite subject. I topped all my history exams in  my elementary, high school, and  college years - Philippine history, Asian history, and world history.

I would have taken history as my first course in college if Ninoy Aquino Jr. was not my idol way back my high school years in Moncada,Tarlac. Ninoy was a journalist, and I wanted to be like him. And so, I took up Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in UP Diliman as my first course.


In college, I heard the so-called "nationalist whatevers" claim that the Americans denied the Filipino revolutionaries, headed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo , victory over the Spanish army.
To their version of Philippine history, the United States is the imperialist enemy which prevented what could have been the first successful Philippine revolution against Spain.

Were  those "nationalist whatevers" saying  the truth? Or were they spinning falsehood?

I love my country, the Philippines. My grandfather Francisco Lacierna was an officer in the army of  Gen. Makabulos in Tarlac during the 1896 revolution against Spain. My father, Aurelio Mercado Sr., was a guerilla officer  during  the Japanese period. (There was no Philippine government in the Philippines during that dark period; only a Japanese government manned by Filipino collaborators). My uncle Gadong Lacierna was a USAFFE. He fought in Bataan. He joined the Death March, but was able to escape in Mabalacat, Pampanga. He joined the guerillas with his younger brother, Uncle Quirino, who was a member of the Philippine Scouts. From their examples of sacrifice, I learned by heart love of country from my youth.

I should have left the Philippines for the United States  with my wife, Architect June Morales-Mercado, and our children 30 years ago.  But we opted to stay in our beloved land, and contributed the little I could to protect its freedom and enhance its security. I have no regrets. And if we were to start all over again, we would do the same thing.


Between the Philippines and the US, I will choose the Philippines anytime. But between falsehood and the truth, I will choose truth anytime.

What are the truths which I want to share with you in this article which I'm writing this day, June 2,2012, or 10 days before our June 12 Philippine Independence Day celebrations?

The lesson from our history : no bloody revolution will ever succeed in our 7,100 islands.  CPP-NPA-NDF chief and communist dictator Jose Ma. Sison  should have seriously pondered on this truth before he started his Mao-Pol Pot-type of  revolution which has claimed more than 60,000 lives of Filipino men, women, and children, most of whom belong to the poorest of the poor. There were 25,000 NPAs in 1988, and Joma was saying that his communist revolution had already reached the "strategic stalemate" stage. Today, there are less than 4,000 NPAs, and Joma is back to the strategic defensive stage after 45 years of fighting ! He will not succeed in his desire to be a Kim Il Sung, Mao, or Fidel Castro even if he has to fight for 100 years . History is not on Joma's side, which is good for the country.  All Filipino revolutions against Spain failed, mainly because of the archipelagic nature of the Philippines . This  makes it hard for the leaders of a bloody revolution to unite the people who speak different dialects and have prejudices against one another ( Cebuanos and Tagalogs, Ilokanos and Kapampangans,Ilonggos and Muslims, etc.). The Sumuroy rebellion, the Tamblot rebellion, the Dagohoy rebellion, the Diego and Gabriela Silang rebellion, the Palaris rebellion, and scores of rebellions against Spain all failed, including the 1896 Philippine revolution. Filipino historians, like Teodoro Agoncillo, have been shy in explaining  to  Filipino students  that our 1896 revolutionaries sold their revolution at Biak Na Bato  for a relatively huge amount  when they signed the "Pact of Biak Na Bato" and allowed themselves to be exiled by the Spanish government in the Philippines  to Hong Kong! Those revolutionary leaders were later lumped as the "Hong Kong Junta". They were under the constant surveillance of the Spanish consulate in Hong Kong, with its agents who included "bella mujeres" who befriended the Hong Kong Junta members. The  "nationalists' claim that the "Hong Kong Junta" would use the money they received from the Spanish government to purchase firearms  to continue their revolution was  just a claim to justify their failure. And greed?

At any rate, even if , for the sake of argument, the " Hong Kong Junta " members led by Gen Aguinaldo wanted to use the  money they received from the Spanish government in the Philippines for the purchase of firearms, the Spanish government  (thru their agents in Hong Kong) would have known with speed  such purchase. Telegraph was already well-used during that time.  Spain would have asked the British government in Hong Kong to arrest the junta members and put all of them to jail !  Let us not forget that Spain and England were both European colonizers in Asia, and they were helping  each other maintain their colonies. Even if, for the sake of argument again, the junta was able to buy firearms and load these in a ship to the Philippines, that ship of firearms could have been blocked by the combined armada of Spain, Germany, and France. Yes!  Spain sought the help of Germany and France to maintain their prized Philippine colony. The German and French ships were docked at Manila Bay in 1898, ready to help their fellow European colonizer against the Filipino revolutionaries if the latter would continue with their revolution.


     The "nationalist whatevers" will quarrel with me over this statement. But this is the truth!

     Let's look back to the year 1898, briefly mention  what happened, and analyze the implications of the events from May 1 to June 12, 1898.


     1. On May 1, 1898, the US Navy, led by the battleship Olympia, under the command of Admiral George Dewey, routed the Spanish armada in Manila Bay. All the Spanish ships were destroyed, and many Spanish navy officers and men were killed. The "BATTLE OF MANILA BAY" on May 1,1898 was not a "mock battle", as "nationalist whatevers" wish us to believe. The naval battle is a real, bloody battle between the American and Spanish warships. It was the bombardment of the Spanish ground troops in Manila by the American warships in Manila Bay which appeared to be the "mock battle", and this happened weeks after May 1,1898. After the defeat of the Spanish navy in Manila Bay, the Spanish government in the Philippines realized that the end was near. The Spanish Governor General  in the Philippines  was  negotiating with Dewey for an honorable transfer of power. And he didn't want more Spanish troops killed .  And so, the American bombardiers intentionally missed the Spanish troops holed in Intramuros and in Baclaran. That is the "mock battle".

        After the total destruction of the Spanish ships, Admiral Dewey knew that it was difficult to occupy Manila without ground troops. He wired Washington for reinforcements. At the same time, he sent the battleship McCullough,  which participated in routing the Spanish ships, to fetch Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and his junta in Hong Kong. Admiral Dewey needed the help of Aguinaldo in the  fight against the Spanish  ground troops in Manila and its environs.

         2. On May 19,1898, Gen. Aguinaldo arrived at Sangley Point, Cavite aboard the US battleship McCullough. The American naval officers who fetched him in Hong Kong brought him to the battleship Olympia, where Admiral George Dewey was. Aguinaldo was accorded full military honors and reception  due his rank . It was in that meeting with Admiral Dewey in the battleship Olympia where Dewey allegedly told Aguinaldo (according to Aguinaldo) that the US would help the Filipino revolutionaries expel the Spanish government in the Philippines, and the US would not occupy the Philippines. Dewey, however, claimed that whatever he told Aguinaldo about the US not occupying   the Philippines was a personal opinion, and not the official position of Washington D.C. Who was telling the truth? We may never know .

        3. On June 12,1898, or three weeks and three days after the Aguinaldo-Dewey meeting in the US battleship Olympia, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine independence in Kawit, Cavite. The rest is history.

        QUESTIONS  :

        1. If the American navy was defeated by the Spanish navy in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1,1898, was it possible for Admiral Dewey to send the battleship McCullough to Hong Kong and fetch Gen. Aguinaldo? The answer is NO.

        2. If Admiral Dewey did not send the battleship McCullogh to Hong Kong to fetch Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, was it possible for the Filipino revolutionary leader to come back to Sangley Point in Cavite on May 19,1898? The answer is NO.

        3. If Aguinaldo was not in the Philippines beginning May 19,1898 ( and was still in Hong Kong ) , was it possible for him to be physically present in Kawit, Cavite on June 12,1898 to proclaim the independence of the Philippines? The answer is NO.

         4. And if he was not in the Philippines in 1898 (and was still in Hong Kong), was it possible for him to lead his troops against the Spaniards who were trapped in Intramuros? The answer is NO.

        HISTORY TEACHES US, therefore, that without the American navy battleship McCullogh, which participated in destroying the Spanish ships in the "Battle of Manila Bay", fetching Aguinaldo in Hong Kong, there would have been no June 12,1898 proclamation of Philippine independence in Kawit, Cavite by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

        Did the US government want to colonize the Philippines beginning the year 1898, and so it sent Admiral Dewey and his battleships to Manila Bay on May 1,1898? The answer is YES. American agents posing as traders were already in Manila and Cebu City in the 1850s.  The Philippines is strategically located in Southeast Asia. The US needs it to its expand its military, political, economic, and cultural power in Asia and the Middle East. Without its  influence and power in the Asia-Pacific, the United States will just be a regional power like China, and not the only superpower it is today. Any claim that China has attained "superpower" status does not know what he is talking about. It will take decades, if ever, before China can equal or surpass the military technology, capability, and influence of the US in the four continents of the world. That's the truth.

        Someone said : " You  can not  cheat history". Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos used to say, "No one can cheat history".  That's the truth which history teaches us.

DR. NORBERTO L. MERCADO, UP SIGMA RHO '73, is a National Security analyst, and the youngest graduate in the history of the National Defense College of the Philippines, the only war college of this country. He is also the 
Founder-President, DR. NORBERTO MERCADO GLOBAL iTV  NETWORK, now with 36 global channels and growing, and the largest iTV Network in the Asia-Pacific Region !
He has authored 25 books, and one of the few ASEAN citizens who has visited all ASEAN countries.

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