CEBU CITY—After President Duterte’s insistent stand that Lapulapu was of Tausug lineage from Mindanao, a Cebuano historian has challenged him to prove his belief.
Mr. Duterte in a speech during his visit in Camp Siongco in Maguindanao province, said: “I said then that when I become President, I will create our national hero. And I raised Lapulapu to the level and dignity of a true warrior, and he was Tausug…”
Lapulapu is considered the country’s first hero after his warriors defeated Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his men at the Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521.
“Lapulapu killed the first invader of our country. I am very proud of him. Talagang napagyayabang ko, kaya may medal (I can brag about his feat, that’s why there’s a medal). The medals that I give to my soldiers now are all Lapulapu awards for bravery,” the President said.
But a Cebuano historian challenged the President to prove his claim. “The burden of proof is on the President. Why not present a proof that Lapulapu was Tausug? If we agree on talk alone, (that won’t matter),” archaeologist Jose Eleazar Bersales, director of the University of San Carlos Museum said.
The only existing primary source mentioning Lapulapu by name was the account of Antonio Pigafetta, the chronicler of the Spanish expedition led by Magellan 500 years ago, Bersales said.
“We, historians, have nothing to prove. Historical records showed that Lapulapu was the chief of Mactan (Island). I think it’s time for him (Mr. Duterte) to prove that the precolonial hero was a Tausug. This is a better opportunity to have a full research about the past,” Bersales said.
He said most of what is known about Lapulapu in recent times had been based on folk myths and legends. The NHCP, through its chair, Rene Escalante, had clarified that the only account mentioning Lapulapu was from Pigafetta, who described him as Mactan’s chieftain. Pigafetta, Escalante said, did not provide any information on his birthplace or other details of his life.