Even though he is famed for being the first “liberal” governor general of Cebu, Is General Inocencio Junquera a victim of his own “hagiography”?
By: Ringo Bones
Given that his name is now synonymous with the Red Light District of a street named after him, General Inocencio Junquera who served as a civil and political governor of Cebu, Philippines from 1893 to 1895 was used to be famed for establishing the first cultural live theatre house in Cebu during his tenure. As a patron of the arts, General Junquera single-handedly uplifted the cultural landscape of Cebu by establishing a venue for the local talented dramaturges to perform their craft. Sadly, in the recent post Colonial environment of Cebu near the end of the 19th Century, the still pro Spanish Inquisition Catholic Priests of the time (and even now) are still miserly of praise and even vehemently critical of the achievements of General Inocencio Junquera during his tenure as post Colonial governor general of Cebu.
Largely because General Junquera was staunchly for the separation of Church and state – especially at the time where there was a large “Protestant Swedish Diaspora” in Cebu at the time. Unfortunately, the protests by the pro Spanish friars at the time outlasted Junquera’s “cultural legacy” and accusations of General Junquera turning a blind eye on the growing prostitution in Cebu got him compared to U.S. Civil War era General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker because, like General Hooker, General Junquera’s post theatrical performance parties are usually frequented by Cebu’s high-end prostitutes at the time. Maybe it was just a coincidence that the plays staged by Gen. Junquera before the time of movie theatres are often frequented by affluent, heterosexual gentlemen?
Was General Inocencio Junquera just a victim of his own hagiography given that the street named after him is now synonymous with Cebu City’s Red Light District? Maybe, but I do find it a bit disconcerting that it is only in Wikipedia that his “cultural legacy” can be found and Cebu’s “oral history” got him compared to the “pimp U.S. Civil War General” General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker. Maybe the powers-that-be in the Cebu City Hall should consider rebuilding his “Teatro Junquera” as a venue for Cebu’s live theatre dramaturges.