Bong Go apologizes for wrongly claiming Lapulapu was from Mindanao

Senator Bong Go apologized on Tuesday evening, April 27, for wrongly claiming that Lapulapu was from Sulu. 

Ako po ay taospusong humihingi ng paumanhin kung iba ang dating ng aking naikwento (I sincerely apologize for how my story came off),” Go said on his Facebook post.

Go explained that the story of Lapulapu as a Tausug from Mindanao came from Abraham Ibarani-Idjirani, who is a spokesperson of the Sultanate of Sulu.

Nabanggit din nang ilang beses ni Pangulong Duterte ito sa kanyang mga talumpati noon (This was also mentioned by President Duterte in other speeches),” the presidential-aide-turned senator said.

Go, who apologized for how his speech might have come off wrong, said he was ready to “listen and learn based on what the experts of history know.”

Nais kong klaruhin na buo ang aking respeto sa ating kasaysayan at wala akong intensyong baguhin ang paghanga at paniniwala natin sa buhay ng ating mga bayani,” the Davao-born lawmaker said.

(I want to clarify that I have full respect for history and have no intention to change the honor and beliefs we have in our heroes.)

He said it was his staff who included the wrong information in his address in Mactan, Cebu, during the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Mactan on Tuesday.

According to historical accounts, Lapulapu led the native forces who killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in battle.

The only primary source acknowledging the existence of Lapulapu is the chronicle of Italian scholar and explorer Antonio Pigafetta, who documented Magellan’s journey.

While some communities believe Lapulapu was originally from Borneo and Sulu, there is currently no historical evidence to support these theories. 

Cebu-based anthropologist Jobers Bersales of the University of San Carlos said there was no other evidence to support that Lapulapu was from anywhere else but Mactan.

"Why don't you folks believe Lapulapu is from Mactan? Why does he have to be Tausug or Bornean? Do you view people from Mactan as cowards?" Bersales said in a Facebook post. –

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story inadvertently described the Sultanate of Sulu as "defunct." We have corrected this error by deleting this adjective.

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.