Saturday, May 18, 2013

Autodidact Polymath 2: Bonifacio, Erap and Gov. Vilma Santos

   Throughout Philippine history there has been a continuous dispute over Andres Bonifacio’s rightful place.  Accounts of events have been presented in different versions proving nothing.  Was he executed for treason or murdered by his opposition for political gain?  And yet his shadow hovers over the nation.  Emilio Aguinaldo ran for President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935.  His opponent Manuel L. Quezón invoked the memory of Bonifacio’s murder against him and won the Presidency.  Manuel Quezon’s victory was practically a referendum on the controversy between Aguinaldo and Bonifacio.  Thus the nation has spoken.  This election alone should have decided the issue.   

   However, politics make or break heroes.  In the overwhelming historical details the one important criterion that should decide what makes a hero has been ignored – loyalty.  Any so called hero who has a report of collaboration, capitulation or simple friendship with an enemy nation should be disqualified to be called a hero.  This, only Bonifacio can claim and keep a straight face. 

   Bonifacio’s biggest crime was being a school dropout, something so repulsive to Rizal that he preferred to die than be associated with him.

   In 1998 another school dropout, Joseph Estrada, fondly called Erap was elected President with a wide margin of votes never before seen in the Philippines.  Allegations of corruption spawned an impeachment. He was sentenced and was pardoned by the same President who replaced him in office.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  The difference could be that Bonifacio was easier to kill not being in showbiz. 

One school dropout that made a name in leadership is Vilma Santos.  In 2005, the University of the Philippines conferred to Vilma the Gawad Plaridel Award for her achievements and contributions both as an actress and a public servant. In the same year she was conferred an honorary doctorate degree in humanities by the Lipa City College. She was again honored in 2006 by the University of the Philippines in UP's First Diwata Awards.  The first female governor of the province of Batangas and she was reelected twice.  Could the hands on governor of Batangas be the next hands on President of the Philippines?  Maybe, if history serves the country right and her being a school dropout is seen in a different light.


   Vilma Santos is a perfect example of an Autodidactic Polymath, a self-taught person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.  “An autodidact may or may not have formal education,” (Wikipedia)  She was a movie actress who excelled in public service.  She was mayor of Lipa City for 3 consecutive terms and the first female governor of Batangas also for three consecutive terms. She is now a Congresswoman. 

See also:
Dropout and Proud, The Autodidactic Polymath 
On Presidential Qualification 
Eat Bulaga Scholarship

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