Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon reiterated his proposal seeking to restore Luneta's original name—Bagumbayan—to correct what he believes may be a historical sleight of Spanish colonizers in the Philippines.
As a student of history and government, Gordon pointed out that some accounts say that the park was named "Luneta", which means "little moon", because it was said to be shaped like a half moon in Spanish times.
However, the senator contends that to get at the real meaning of the names given to places, one must take into account what the place was used for and what historical events were situated there.
"The place the Spanish called Luneta served as the execution site of our people and its soil was red with their blood. This is where the Spanish colonizers sought to quell our early struggles for freedom, which they described as lunacy," Gordon said.
"It is just as likely that the Spanish named Luneta for being the place where they executed those whom they called lunatics for leading a revolution against Spain – hence, Luneta," he added.
The senator said that unknowingly, all Presidents who have been sworn to an oath of office were swearing on the grounds pejoratively named by former colonial masters.
"In swearing an oath here, our Presidents may be swearing themselves to lunacy. We should correct this and return the name of Luneta to its original Filipino given name of Bagumbayan," Gordon said.
He explained that written in the pages of the country's history are significant events of heroism and unwavering love for the nation that transpired in Luneta. The most prominent is the execution of Jose Rizal on December 30, 1986.
It also the place where Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora (Gomburza) were executed on February 17, 1872 by Spanish colonial authorities on trumped-up charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny.
Official ceremonies proclaiming a fully-independent Republic of the Philippines were held on this site on July 4, 1946. The highlights of the event were the simultaneous lowering of the American Flag and raising of the Philippine flag to the tune of both nations' national anthems. (30)