A ‘blasphemy’ in our history books

GOYO, which stands for Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, the young Katipunan  officer  in the Philippine revolution, with a reputation for being a playboy, is, as of this writing, a movie that’s showing in the local  theatres.

GOYO, which stands for Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, the young Katipunan  officer  in the Philippine revolution, with a reputation for being a playboy, is, as of this writing, a movie that’s showing in the local  theaters.

Goyo, like our National Hero Jose Rizal  has a special  place in our mind and yes, heart, not because of his bohemian ways.

The hero, a rabid follower of General Emilio Aguinaldo, supposedly our first president before Manuel L. Quezon, should not be compared with Rizal,  because one was an intellectual of international caliber (Mahatma Gandhi was his admirer); the bother was not. He was all sentiment and lover (of women). Ah, yes, Rizal, too, was a bohemio with links to several women not only in La Patria but worldwide.But character-wise, sorry, no comparison.

There something in the two heroes, however, caught  our interest, their fondness for a Pangasinense beauty.

You, dear readers, knew about Leonor Rivera, who lived in Rivera Street, Dagupan City.The tragedy of that love story was Leonor’s marriage to Engr. Charles Kipping  at the Dagupan Catholic Church in 1892.

They say, and we sometimes agree, great love stories end up in tragedy.

In the case of Goyo, the love of his life was a young girl, a certain Remedios, sister of Dolores , who lived in what  is now Barangay Pantal, in the sitio of Nable, Dagupan City.

In the movie,”Goyo, Ang Batang Heneral,” which we saw with former Tour of Luzon champ Jesus Garcia Jr.,– at the Robinson Theatre (yes, we purposely saw it to spice up this column),  one  would be moved to tears when the two lovers— Goyo,24, and the 19-year-old  beauty exchanged their avowals of love.

A side bar to the Goyo story was how he was slain.

By dint of circumstance, we met  the son of  American sharp shooter named corporal Philip Lindmark, who shot and killed Goyo.

Lindmark, a member of the American militia specifically tasked to  finish off  Del Pilar and  General Aguinaldo, turned out to be a   member of a family with whom this writer is related.

The sharp shooter married an Ilocana from San Juan, La Union, Feliza Villalon, who is related to the Gaerlans of La Union and Pangasinan.

Philip Lindmark had a son, Frank who married the sister of former former Mayor Laureano Perez, now deceased, of San Manuel, Pangasinan.

The Perezes are up to now an influential family in Pangasinan politics led by Vice Mayor (formerly mayor) Salvador Perez, Sr.; his son Jerrico, mayor of San Manuel,  Salvador Jr., a regular member of the provincial boartd, and daughter Shiela, president of the provincial councilors league.  One day in the late 80’s, Frank Lindmark went to the Manila Bulletin office in Manila “armed with only one purpose,” he  later told us, “to correct a grave injustice” done to the American  troops and  the natives who portrayed as blood-thirsty beings  for allegedly stripping the hero after he  fell  in the Tirad Pass encounter.

It was then Bulletin editor Ben Rodriguez who had us “summoned” from Dagupan to meet and interview Frank Lindmark. Mr.  Rodriguez even contacted then Agrarian Minister Estrella to have us “kidnapped” on the strength of a request of Lindmark.

Frank told Mr. Rodriguez that “it was his father’s ‘stern’ instruction that the “blasphemous story printed in Philippine, U.S. and other books on Gregorio del Pilar as a victim of indignities on  Tirad Pass should be rectified.

Our meeting with Frank Lindmark was a celebration of sorts, because it turned out that  his father,  Corporal Philip Lindmark was the husband of a Villalon, a cousin of the Gaerlans of La Union and Pangasinan.

The happy reunion took a twist when we met the legendary writer, Frank Sionil, Jose at his Solidaridad Book Store in Malate.

Sionil is a fellow Pangasinense, he being a native of Rosales town.

We would usually drop by his store to collect the proceeds of our book of poems (Entrances) or simply to  browse.We told  Mr. Sionil about  Frank Lindmark’s story on the Del Pilar saga. We did the same thing to the late Adrian Cristobal at a breakfast meeting with then Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. at his Makati residence.

We later told Frank Lindmark “it’s a tough and almost impossible job to rectify history.” He said, “never mind, Jun, at least I have done justice to my father’s wish to do something about this false account in our his story books.”