Hold your temper

/ 12:10 AM August 02, 2016

I LEARNED about retired Maj. Gen. Rodolfo Canieso, former Philippine Army commanding general, suffering a stroke from fellow Inquirer columnist Ramon Farolan, his classmate at the Philippine Military Academy.

I don’t know Canieso personally, but from what I’ve heard, he was a legend in his prime.


I am a fan because of the stories told and retold by his former subordinates.

At the height of the war in Mindanao when he was a brigade commander, one anecdote about him goes, Canieso ordered his men to attack a hill being held by Moro rebels.


To ensure that his men would not dillydally, Canieso ordered artillery fire to land a few feet behind them as they went up the hill.

This forced the soldiers to keep on moving forward even under heavy fire from the rebels.

Had they retreated, they would have been hit by friendly artillery fire.

Canieso’s soldiers eventually overran the rebel position.

Retired Army Maj. Philip Manlapaz, one of Canieso’s platoon leaders in Sulu, said that when he first reported for duty, he was told not to bring rifles supposedly confiscated from dead rebels.

“The rifles might have been left behind in their retreat. Bring me the ears of the enemies you have killed and I will believe you. The more ears you bring to me, the happier I will be,” were Canieso’s instructions to him, according to Manlapaz.

Another anecdote says that when Canieso was told that his brigade had suffered heavy casualties in an encounter with Moro rebels, he supposedly remarked: “Huwag tayong mag-alala dahil marami pang darating na Ilocano galing ng Luzon (Not to worry, more Ilocanos will be coming from Luzon)!


That remark reached President Marcos, an Ilocano, who promptly relieved Canieso who is a Visayan Ilonggo.

* * *

To gun owners: Never ever use your gun unless your life is in imminent danger.

Think of the consequences of shooting an unarmed person.

Had Vhon Martin Tanto held his temper in check, he would not be in the mess he is now in.

This unsolicited piece of advice comes from someone who kept his temper when he and his attackers came face-to-face again at the Pasay City police station—yours truly.

Hours after several people ganged up on me at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport  Terminal 3, we encountered each other again at the police station.

Earlier that day at the Airport Police Department headquarters where we were brought, the woman who was the cause of the melee called me names in front of investigators who didn’t stop her.

I held my peace and even managed to smile.

But at the Pasay City police station that evening, I nearly lost my equanimity because my attackers continued to taunt me.

One looked at me with a smirk. Another took photos of me with his cell phone.

Parang nakakalalaki na sila. I felt so humiliated.

My hurt ego kept saying, “Shoot them, shoot the sons of b*****! C’mon, satisfy yourself.”

But my other self said, “Shoot them and suffer the consequences: You wreck your profession; you make your detractors happy; you get a life sentence and your children suffer the humiliation of having a father for a convict.”

Had I given in to my hurt ego, you would not be reading this column today because I would be detained at the New Bilibid Prison.

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TAGS: guns, Maj. Gen. Rodolfo Canieso, Nation, news, Vhon Martin Tanto
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