CEBU

Bzzzzz: Lapu-Lapu statue may not yet qualify as 'important cultural property'

Lapu-Lapu and movie actor George Hamilton (Photos from Wikimedia Commons)

PEOPLE talk about...

[1] 'S.U.V. 13 NINJA COPS' OF 2019 REMIND OF 'OMEGA 12 GENERALS' OF 1973. The 13 police officers identified by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong are being called by some people as 'S.U.V. 13 Ninja cops," the same naming style that Pinoys used on the 12 generals who were handpicked by Ferdinand Marcos Sr. to implement martial law.

The police officers, all members of the Pampanga Police Provincial Office anti-illegal drugs task force, allegedly recycled a huge cache (38 kilograms) of shabu seized during a 2013 police raid and earned millions from it, which they used to buy, among others, a sports utility vehicle each.

The 12 generals who enforced martial law from 1972 to 1981 were led by then defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile, constabulary chief Fidel Ramos, and national intelligence chief Fabian Ver. They were gifted by Marcos with an Omega each, not Rolex, at a private ceremony in Malacañang, the watches all inscribed with a personal note from the president. A confidential report of then US ambassador to the Philippines William Sullivan, which he sent to the State Department, was among the documents that Wikileaks leaked to the world.

Rule under Heritage Law

The statue of Lapu-Lapu that a growing number of people want to remain where it now stands in Lapu-Lapu City may not be considered "important cultural property," which under the law the government shall preserve and protect.

Republic Act #10066, or National Cultural Heritage Law of 2009, lists the requirements for an "important cultural property," including, among others, age and "aesthetics." If the statue was erected in 1981, it is only about 38 years old. Under the law, the structure must date at least 50 years old unless declared by the National Archives.

The existing Lapu-Lapu statue was said to have replaced the original statue that was put up two years earlier (1979). CDN Digital columnist Jobers Bersales last September 30 wrote about the rumor ("whispers," "grapevine") that Imelda Marcos, the martial law president's wife, visited Mactan, saw the statue and didn't like its face.

She had it replaced, the same rumor said, with one that looked like movie actor George Hamilton who was at the time allegedly romantically linked to the First Lady. The romantic liaison could have some truth but the similarity in looks has never been confirmed. Check out a close-up of the face of the statue and you'd see why it doesn't come close to Hamilton's looks. (A similar rumor was spread about the statue of Lapu-Lapu at the Cebu Capitol grounds looking like Representative Eddie Gullas of Cebu's first district. Does it resemble Eddiegul?)

Jobers also doubts if the statue has much value "in terms of aesthetics and other levels of significance." The sculptor is unidentified and no national artist is linked to the making of the statue, he said.

Where statue will go

Cebuanos interested in the fate of the statue are not clearly told what would happen to it. At a press-con in Makati, Dr. Rene Escalante of the Quincentennial Commission of the Philippines said Lapu-Lapu's statue would be set up at the courtyard of the museum to be built in the same area. In its place at the Mactan Shrine would be erected a monument that would depict the Battle of Mactan in which Magellan was killed, not in a solo victory but "as a collective effort." And the new name would be Liberty Shrine.

Would Lapu-Lapu still have a place on the monument when the reportedly prevailing theory among National Historical Commission of the Philippines people is that the Mactan chieftain was not even present at the battle because he was already old ("viejo")?

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