START OF THE REVOLUTION
Bang! Bang!. The first shots of the Philippine Revolution
were fired the next day between several Katipuneros and a
patrol of Spanish civil guards. That happened in the
sitio of Pasong Tamo in Kalookan. However, the first real
battle of the revolution took place on August 30, 1896.
Bonifacio, with about 800 Katipuneros, attacked the Spanish
arsenal in San Juan del Monte, which is now the municipality
of San Juan in Metro Manila. The Spaniards were outnumbered
and weak. But reinforcements turned the tide in their favor.
The Katipuneros were forced to retreat. They left more
than 150 Katipuneros dead and many more captured.
revolution spread to several Luzon provinces nearby.
This prompted Governor-General Ramon Blanco to place the first
eight provinces to revolt against Spanish sovereignty under
martial law. They were Manila, Laguna, Bulacan, Batangas,
Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.
Blanco also included in the decree the condition that anyone
who would surrender within 48 hours after its publication
would not be tried in military courts. Some Katipuneros
were duped into surrendering, only to be subjected to torture.
Due to torture, some Katipuneros revealed the names of some
of the other Katipuneros.
of suspects were arrested and imprisoned. Those from
the provinces were brought to Manila. Fort Santiago
became so crowded that many Filipinos who were thrown there
for suspicion of involvement in the revolution were suffocated
to death. Hundreds of heads of families were transported
to the Carolines or to the Spanish penal colony in faraway
great number of Filipinos were executed at the Luneta, most
notable of whom was Jose
Rizal. He was shot at the old Bagumbayan Field
on December 30, 1896. This was ironic as Rizal was innocent
of the charge of rebellion. He was recognized by the
Katipuneros for his intellectual accomplishments. However,
he rejected their invitations for him to join the Katipunan.
To his death, Rizal had remained a reformist. All the
tortures and executions, however, embittered the Filipinos
more and fanned the fires of revolution in their hearts.
The revolution continued to spread throughout the archipelago.
Revolution in Cavite. There, the rebels stormed
the municipal building of San Francisco de Malabon on August
31, 1896. The Magdiwang group also attacked the Spaniards
in Noveleta. In Cavite el Viejo, the Magdalo group,
under Candido Tirona (a bosom friend of Emilio Aguinaldo),
captured the Spanish garrison while Emilio Aguinaldo and his
men tried but failed to intercept Spanish reinforcements from
retreated to Imus, Cavite Province. There on September
5, 1896, he defeated the Spanish command of General Aguirre.
Thus, Aguinaldo returned to Imus the hero of the hour, no
longer Kapitan (Captain) Miong but Heneral (General) Miong.
Aguinaldo. An ilustrado, Emilio Aguinaldo studied
at San Juan de Letran College. However, he quit his
studies when his father died so that he could take care of
the family farm and could engage in business. When the
revolution broke out, he was the mayor of Cavite el Viejo
(now Kawit), where he was born on March 22, 1869. A
cousin of Baldomero Aguinaldo, leader of the Magdalo faction,
Emilio joined the Katipunan when he was 25.
There were early signs that the rebels in Cavite were
leaning towards the establishment of a new leadership and
government. On October 31, 1896, General Aguinaldo issued
two decrees. They both stated that the aim of the Revolution
was the independence of the Philippines. Therefore,
he urged Filipinos to fight for freedom, following the example
of civilized European and American nations. He also
proclaimed “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” as watchwords
of the revolution.
the Magdalo was only one of the two factions of the Katipunan
in Cavite, Aguinaldo, who belonged to this faction, made no
mention of the parent organization. The letter K appeared
on the seal of both documents, though. One manifesto
announced that they (implying the Magdalo faction) had formed
a provisional government in the towns that had been “pacified.”
It was the government’s task to pursue the war until all of
the archipelago was free.
to author Renato Constantino, one was forced to conclude that
Aguinaldo and the other leaders of the Magdalo had decided
at this early stage to withdraw recognition of the Katipunan
and install themselves as leaders of the revolution.
The Spaniards decided to concentrate on Cavite, after they
had been defeated in other places. Governor-General
Blanco ordered attacks on rebel troops in early November.
But they suffered heavy losses in Binakayan and Noveleta,
Cavite. (Aguinaldo led the Filipinos. Many died, including
a result of the defeats of the Spaniards, Governor-General
Blanco was relieved upon the instigation of the friars.
He was replaced by General Camilo de Polavieja on December
13, 1896. Little by little, de Polavieja was able to
recapture about a third of Cavite.
They Fall. The disunity between the rival Magdalo
and Magdiwang factions of the Katipunan in Cavite fought independently
of each other. This was a major factor for the success
of General Polavieja in his victories in Cavite. Realizing
this, the Magdiwang faction asked Bonifacio, who had refused
because he was needed in Morong (now Rizal Province), to mediate.
Later, he finally accepted the invitation.
the latter part of December 1896, Bonifacio went to Cavite
with his wife and brothers Procopio and Ciriaco. They
were personally met in Zapote by Aguinaldo and other leaders.
Bonifacio was received enthusiastically by the Caviteños.
in his memoirs, General Artemio Ricarte recounted that a few
days after Bonifacio’s arrival, black propaganda against Bonifacio
in the form of anonymous letters circulated all over Cavite.
The letters described him as unworthy of being idolized.
The letter writers called him a mason, an atheist, an uneducated
man, and a mere employee of a German firm.
December 31, the Imus assembly was convened to determine the
leadership in the province. The purpose was to end the
rivalry between the two factions. The Magdalo group
wanted a revolutionary government to supplant the Katipunan.
Such an idea was objected to by the Magdiwang faction that
maintained that the Katipunan already had a constitution and
by-laws recognized by all. The meeting ended without
a resolution of the conflict.
Meeting at Tejeros: The End of the Katipunan. With
the continuing successes of Spanish campaigns against them,
the Katipuneros decided to have another meeting on March 22,
1897, to discuss how Cavite should be defended. This
was not even touched on. Instead, it was decided that an election
of officers of the revolutionary government be held.
That meant that the Supreme Council of the Katipunan was being
discarded, and that would be the end of the Katipunan.
reluctantly agreed to chair the assembly. Before the
voting was started, he admonished everyone that whoever was
elected to any position should be respected. Ironically,
after the elections, Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan and
initiator of the revolutionary struggle in the country, lost
the leadership to Emilio Aguinaldo, who was voted president.
Bonifacio was merely elected to the minor post of director
of the interior. None of the other leaders of the Katipunan,
not even Emilio Jacinto, were considered for positions at
Bonifacio was being proclaimed, Daniel Tirona, a Magdalo,
had even questioned this on the grounds that the position
should not be held by someone without a lawyer’s diploma.
The angry Bonifacio demanded a retraction from Tirona, who,
instead, turned to leave. Bonifacio was about to shoot Tirona
when Artemio Ricarte intervened.
the people began to leave the hall, Bonifacio shouted that
he, in his capacity as chairman of the assembly and president
of the Supreme Council of the Katipunan, declared the assembly
dissolved and annulled all that had been approved and resolved. Then
he left with his men.
Meeting at Tejeros: A Confrontation. Aguinaldo,
engaged in a battle in Pasong Santol, a barrio in Cavite,
was not present during the elections. He was notified
of his election to presidency in Pasong Santol the following
day. He was later convinced by his elder brother, Crispulo,
to leave his men and take his oath of office. Thus,
he and the others who had been elected the day before, except
Bonifacio, took their oath of office in Santa Cruz de Malabon
(now Tanza), Cavite.
those who were installed in office were Emilio Aguinaldo,
president; Mariano Trias, vice president; Artemio Ricarte,
captain-general; Emiliano Riego de Dios, director of war;
Pascual Alvarez, director of the interior; and Severino de
las Alas, director of justice.
the meantime, Bonifacio and his remaining men of about 45
met at the estate house in Tejeros on March 23, 1897.
They drew up a document, now called the Acta de Tejeros, where
they cited their reasons for not accepting the results of
the first Tejeros convention. From there, they went
to Naic to get away from the Magdalo faction, which they held
responsible for the anomalies during the election. Aguinaldo
sent a delegation to Bonifacio to try to convince him to cooperate
with the new revolutionary government, which the latter rebuffed.
Government. In Naic, Bonifacio and his men
prepared another document. The agreement specified the
establishment of a government independent from Aguinaldo’s
revolutionary government. Called the Naic Military Agreement,
it also rejected the first Tejeros convention and reasserted
Bonifacio as leader of the revolution. To be organized
was an army whose members were to be recruited by persuasive
or coercive means.
the 41 signatories were Bonifacio, Artemio Ricarte, Pio del
Pilar as commander-in-chief and Emilio Jacinto as general
of the North Military Area (provinces of Morong, Bulacan,
Nueva Ecija, and Manila).
Jacinto. The so-called “Brains of the Katipunan,”
Emilio Jacinto, was born in Tondo, Manila on December 15,
1875. His parents were Mariano Jacinto and Josefa Dizon.
At a young age, he learned how to speak a kind of Spanish,
sort of pidgin Spanish, on the streets. Although the
family was poor, his parents managed to send him to school.
He first studied at San Juan de Letran College and later at
the University of Santo Tomas. However, as a member
of the Katipunan, he was forced to speak Tagalog, the language
of the Katipuneros.
painstakingly mastered Tagalog and wrote most of his articles
in this language. Because of his honesty and intelligence,
he became the trusted friend and adviser of Bonifacio. The
two were almost inseparable until late December 1896, when
Bonifacio went to Cavite to sort out the differences between
two rival factions of the Katipunan and Jacinto went to Laguna
as commander-in-chief. However, they kept in constant
communication. Jacinto died of a fever on April 16,
1899 in Mahayhay, Laguna.
the Kartilla, which became the primer for the Katipuneros,
he wrote Pahayag or Manifesto (which had appeared in the only
issue of Kalayaan), Liwanag at Dilim (Light and Darkness),
Sa mga Kababayan Ko (To My Countrymen), Ang Kasalanan ni Cain
(Cain’s Sin), Pagkatatag ng Pamahalaan sa Hukuman ng Silangan
(Establishment of the Provincial Government of Laguna), and
Samahan ng Bayan sa Pangangalakal (Commercial Association
of the People).
of Bonifacio. Bonifacio moved from Naic to the barrio
of Limbon in Indang, Cavite. He was accompanied by his
wife, two brothers, and a few loyal soldiers. By then,
Aguinaldo had learned of the Naic Military Agreement.
He immediately ordered Colonel Agapito Bonzon and a group
of soldiers to arrest the Bonifacio brothers. “Dakpin sila!”
(“Arrest them!”) he might have said.
the ensuing confrontation, Bonifacio was stabbed in the larynx
but taken alive. His brother Ciriaco was killed, while
his brother Procopio was wounded. Bonifacio was transported
in a hammock to Naic, the capital of the revolutionary government.
April 29 to May 4, Bonifacio was placed on trial, together
with Procopio, by the Council of War. General Tomas
Mascardo was one of the members of the Council of War that
tried the Bonifacio brothers.
the lack of evidence, the Bonifacio brothers were found guilty
of treason and sedition and recommended to be executed.
Aguinaldo commuted the sentence to deportation on May 8, 1897,
but Generals Mariano Noriel and Pio del Pilar, both former
supporters of Bonifacio, upon learning of this, immediately
asked General Aguinaldo to withdraw his order. Their
reason was that there would be no unity among the revolutionaries
as long as Bonifacio was alive. They were supported
by other leaders.
withdrew his order for reversal of the death sentence. As
for Severino de las Alas, it was he who had made the false
accusations against Bonifacio.
May 10, General Noriel ordered Major Lazaro Makapagal to bring
the Bonifacio brothers to Mount Tala near Maragondon.
He was also given a sealed letter to be opened and read upon
reaching their destination. The letter contained orders
to execute Andres and Procopio Bonifacio. He was warned
that severe punishment would follow if he failed to comply
with the order. Hence, Makapagal made no hesitation to carry
out the execution. Bonifacio and his brother were buried
in shallow graves marked only by a few twigs.
Bonifacio. The founder and organizer of the
Katipunan, Andres Bonifacio was born on November 30, 1863,
in Tondo (then a province of Manila), a son of Santiago Bonifacio
and Catalina de Castro. He learned the alphabet in a
school. When his parents died, he was forced to quit
school as he had to become the breadwinner for his three brothers
and two sisters.
a livelihood, Bonifacio made canes and paper fans to sell.
He loved books and was able to do some self-studying.
In his late teens, he landed a job as clerk-messenger at Fleming
and Company, where he was promoted to agent. He sold rattan,
tar and other products of the firm. Later, he moved to Fressel
and Company, also as an agent.
read Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, The Ruins of Palmyra,
Les Miserables, The Wandering Jew, and read about the presidents
of the United States, international law, the penal and civil
codes, a book on the French Revolution and some novels.
a young age, he married a certain Monica. The marriage
did not last long as she died of leprosy. In 1892, he
met Gregoria de Jesus of Kalookan, who became his second wife.
Gregoria later joined the women’s chapter of the Katipunan.
adopted Emilio Jacinto’s Kartilla as the official teachings
of the society. Although its founder, he didn’t intend
to become president of the Katipunan. However, he became
president when the first two presidents did not come up to
THE BIAK-NA-BATO REPUBLIC
Maragondon, Cavite, became the new rebel capital after the
Spanish forces had captured Naic. However, many of the
Spanish soldiers had just arrived from Spain and they suffered
greatly from the tropical climate.
Camilo de Polavieja requested that he be relieved as governor-general.
On April 23, 1897, he was replaced by former governor-general
of the Philippines, Fernando Primo de Rivera.
Against Primo de Rivera, Aguinaldo and his men were forced
to retreat to Batangas Province by Spanish forces.
Spaniards gained control of practically the whole of Cavite.
Thus, Primo de Rivera extended a decree granting pardon for
those Filipinos surrendering beyond the initial deadline of
May 17. There were some Filipinos who took advantage,
but the others continued their fight.
who had established his headquarters in Talisay, Batangas
Province, managed to escape the Spaniards who had surrounded
the place. Then he proceeded with his men to the hilly
province of Morong (now Metro Manila). From there, he
and about 500 handpicked men went to Biyak-na-Bato, San Miguel
de Mayumo, in Bulacan. There, Aguinaldo established
a new government, which is now known as the Biak-na-Bato Republic.
also issued a proclamation in July entitled “To the Brave
Sons of the Philippines.” The proclamation enumerated
the revolutionary demands as:
Expulsion of the friars and the return to the Filipinos
of the lands they appropriated for themselves.
Representation in the Spanish Cortes, freedom of press,
and tolerance of all religious sects.
Equal treatment and pay for peninsular and insular civil
servants and abolition of the power of the government to
Legal equality for all persons.
proclamation showed that Aguinaldo was still willing to return
to the Spanish fold if these demands were met. That
was in spite of the fact that he and his men had already established
the Biak-na-Bato Republic.
constitution of the new republic was prepared by Felix Ferrer
and Isabelo Artacho. They copied it almost verbatim
from the Cuban Constitution of Jimaguayu. It was signed
on November 1, 1897. In accordance with Article I, a
Supreme Council was created on November. Aguinaldo was
Peace! Peace! Peace! Governor-General Primo
de Rivera realized that he might not be able to quell the
rebellion. Hence, he tried to end it by peaceful negotiations.
chance came when Pedro A. Paterno, a mestizo who had spent
some years in Spain, offered to act as a peace negotiator.
On August 9, 1897, Paterno brought Primo de Tavera’s offer
of peace to Aguinaldo’s headquarters. It took four months
before Paterno was able to come up with a peace agreement,
now called the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, signed by Paterno as
representative of the revolutionists and Primo de Rivera for
the Spanish government.
up of three separate documents, the peace pact was signed
on December 14 and 15, 1897. The pact provided for an
end to the revolution by the laying down of arms by the revolutionary
forces of Aguinaldo. They would then be granted amnesty
and allowed to return to their homes. Aguinaldo and
the other leaders would go on voluntary exile to Hong Kong.
They would be given P800,000 by the Spanish government in
P400,000 upon leaving the Philippines.
P200,000 when at least 700 arms have been surrendered.
balance upon declaration of a general amnesty.
also promised to pay P900,000 to Filipino civilians who suffered
losses because of the revolution.
To be sure that the Spaniards were to make good their promises,
Aguinaldo’s camp demanded that two Spanish generals remain
at Biyak-na-Bato as hostages. Also, Colonel Miguel Primo
de Rivera, the governor’s nephew, was also required by the
Aguinaldo camp to accompany the exiles to Hong Kong.
December 27, 1897, Aguinaldo, with a check for P400,000, left
for Hong Kong with 25 revolutionary leaders. Those left
behind asked Primo de Rivera to give them the balance of P400,000,
supposedly to be given to the needy ones among them.
Instead, they were given P200,000, which they then divided
of Hostilities. There was celebration in Manila
the following month. However, although some of the Filipino
generals left behind did all they could to surrender the arms
from the rebels, some of them were suspicious of the Spaniards. Thus,
they declined to give up their arms. One of them, General
Francisco Makabulos of Tarlac Province, established the Central
Executive Committee, which would exist until a general government
of the republic would again be established. For their
part, the lower-ranking Spanish authorities continued to arrest
and imprison many Filipinos suspected of having been involved
in the rebellion.
the rebellion spread further to the different provinces of
the archipelago. including Zambales, Pampanga, Laguna, Pangasinan,
Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Cebu, Bulacan,
Caloocan, and Camarines Norte. Far from mere banditry, as
the Spaniards termed these acts of resistance, they were,
on the contrary, attempts to achieve the objectives of the
old Katipunan. The Pact of Biak-na-Bato was thus a cessation
of hostilities only for the compromisers, Aguinaldo and his
group. For the people, the struggle continued.
In 1817, the United States established a consulate in Manila.
After the Philippines was opened to world trade in 1834, several
American companies established businesses in Manila.
before 1898, American ships already had been sailing to Manila
to trade with the Philippines. The first American ship
to reach Manila was the Astrea in the later part of the 18th
the meantime, in February 1895, Cuba, which Christopher Columbus
had discovered for Spain in 1492 to become a colony, revolted
against the Spaniards. In answer, Spanish General Valeriano
Weyler, commander of all Spanish forces in Cuba, established
concentration camps for the rebels and sympathizers.
Being close to the United States, many American businessmen
had large investments in Cuba, especially in the sugar industry.
Thus, it was not difficult to obtain American support for
the Cuban cause.
January 1898, President William McKinley sent the U.S. Navy
battleship Maine to Cuba in case American citizens needed
to be evacuated. However, on February 15, 1898, an explosion
sank the ship in the Havana harbor. This resulted in
the loss of 260 of the crewmen and in a huge outcry from the
on February 9, 1898, a private letter from Enrique Dupuy de
Lome, the Spanish minister to the United States, which had
been stolen from a post office in Havana was published in
the New York Journal. It described President McKinley
as a “would-be politician” and a weak president.
sinking of the USS Maine added fuel to an American public
already enraged against the Spaniards because of the letter,
although an investigation had failed to establish who was
responsible for the explosion.
February 25, 1898, Commodore George Dewey in Hong Kong received
a directive from the United States. He was ordered to
take his Asiatic squadron to Manila and attack Spanish forces
in the Philippines should war break out between Spain and
the United States.
President McKinley wished to avoid war with Spain, which also
wanted to avoid a war with the United States, he ultimately
had to give in to pressure from his own Republican Party.
On April 11, 1898, he recommended direct American intervention
in Cuba to the United States Congress, which voted for war
Spanish Governor-General Primo de Rivera was relieved of his
position after the Conservative Party in Spain, to which he
belonged, was replaced by the Liberal Party. His replacement,
Governor-General Basilio Augustin, knew nothing about conditions
in the Philippines. Primo de Rivera had wanted to stay
there for a while in the event that Spanish-American relations
might turn into a shooting war, in which case it would not
have been practical to have a new governor-general in the
General Augustin arrived on April 9, 1898. He announced
he would continue his predecessor’s work of pacification and
then assumed a wait-and-see position.
Battle of Manila Bay. On April 25, 1898, Commodore
George Dewey, upon orders, proceeded at once to the Philippines
with a squadron of four armored cruisers, two gunboats, and
a revenue cutter. It was led by the flagship Olympia.
They entered Manila Bay in the early morning of May
1, 1898, and engaged the Spanish fleet of 12 ships, headed
by Admiral Patricio Montojo, in a battle that lasted for only
a few hours.
more-modern American warships, although fewer in number, proved
to be superior to the old and weaker Spanish vessels.
The not-so-hard-fought Battle of Manila Bay was one of the
most significant battles in American history because it established
the United States as a world power.
the Philippines, it signalled the end of more than 300 years
of Spanish colonial rule. It also signalled the start
of a new colonial rule, this time under the Americans. Dewey
requested for army reinforcements because he had no troops
to capture Manila. All he could do while waiting was
blockade Manila Bay.
THE EXILES IN HONG KONG
Hong Kong, the Filipino exiles followed closely the developments
in the Philippines and the conflict between Spain and the
United States. They thought of seeking American assistance
in their revolutionary cause against the Spaniards.
In the meantime, there was a problem regarding disposal of
the P400,000 from Governor-General Primo de Rivera, under
the terms of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato.
Isabelo Artacho wanted the money to be divided among themselves.
When Aguinaldo refused, Artacho sued him in the Hong
Kong Supreme Court. To escape the inconvenience
of having to go to court, Aguinaldo, with Gregorio del Pilar
and J. Leyba, secretly went to Singapore and arrived there
on April 23, 1898. In the afternoon, Howard Bray, an
Englishman who had been living in Singapore, gave Aguinaldo
the message that E. Spencer Pratt, the American consul, wanted
to talk with him.
turned out that the Americans were thinking of winning the
Filipinos over to their side should hostilities between the
U.S. and Spain take a turn for the worst.
gave the impression to Aguinaldo that the Americans would
not colonize the Philippines. He said that if they were
going to leave Cuba (“which is just at our door”) alone after
driving the Spaniards away, why would they want the Philippines,
which was 10,000 miles away. Aguinaldo then consented
to return with Commodore Dewey to the Philippines to once
more lead the revolution against Spain, fighting alongside
had already sailed for Manila when Aguinaldo returned to Hong
Kong. But Rounseville Wildman, American consul in Hong
Kong, told him that Dewey had left instructions that Aguinaldo’s
return to the Philippines be arranged. He and Wildman
met several times after this. He later suggested that
Aguinaldo establish a dictatorial government, which was needed
in the prosecution of the war against Spain, but it had to
be replaced with a government similar to that of the United
States once the war was over and peace was restored.
Wildman and Pratt assured Aguinaldo that their government
sympathized with the Filipinos’ aspirations for independence,
but they did not make any formal commitment.
“What Shall We Do?” On May 4, Filipinos comprising
what was called the Hong Kong Junta met to discuss what to
do in the light of the new developments.
present were Felipe Agoncillo, temporary president; Doroteo
Lopez, temporary secretary; and Teodoro Sandico, Anastacio
Francisco, Mariano Llanera, Miguel Malvar, Andres Garchitorena,
Severo Buenaventura, Maximo Kabigting, Faustino Lichauco,
Antonio Montenegro, and Galicano Apacible. Aguinaldo
apprised them of what transpired in his meetings with Pratt
and Wildman, and asked for their advice on what to do.
After discussions, the Junta unanimously decided that Aguinaldo
should return to the Philippines to lead the struggle against
Have Guns, Will Fight. In preparation for his
return to the Philippines, Aguinaldo gave Wildman P117,000
to be used in buying guns and ammunition. The first
shipment for P50,000 arrived promptly, but Aguinaldo never
learned from the consul where the rest of the money went.
Return to the Philippines. Consul Wildman arranged
Aguinaldo’s return on the revenue cutter McCulloch, which
he and his companions boarded at night to avoid rousing the
suspicion of the Spanish consul in Hong Kong.
On May 17, 1898, the ship left and arrived in Cavite two days
later. Aguinaldo was then taken to the Olympia, where
he was accorded honors due a general. Aguinaldo reportedly
said that in their conference Dewey had given him assurance
that the United States would recognize Philippine independence,
which Dewey, however, denied. It is suggested that,
there being no sufficient evidence to prove Aguinaldo’s statement,
he had mistakenly thought that Dewey was speaking for the
Constantino (The Philippines: A Past Revisited) points out
that historians have treated the time when Aguinaldo was in
Hong Kong as a period when the revolution was put on hold.
That was during a time when he and others in Hong Kong were
planning its resumption and, with this view, the acts of resistance
in the country while Aguinaldo was away were “dismissed as
if they were not part of the revolutionary stream.... Actually,
the different manifestations of resistance which Aguinaldo
so cavalierly branded as banditry just because he had chosen
to surrender were the continuing expression of the people’s
determination to fight for the goals of the Katipunan.”
Aguinaldo was again in the Philippines, ready to lead the
very ones he had branded bandits.
Aguinaldo’s return to the Philippines, Constantino saw “four
major forces on the historical stage”:
Spanish colonialism, which was trying to ward off its impending
American imperialism, which was waiting for such time when
it had gathered sufficient military strength in the Philippines
before showing its real motives.
The Filipino ilustrados, whose main concern was to place
themselves in a jockeying position whatever political setup
was to emerge. (However, their ultimate objective was supposedly
independence, but they were ready to accept becoming an
American protectorate or even annexation, just as they readily
accepted continuing Spanish rule after the Pact of Biak-na-Bato).
And the masses, who still believed in and fought for the
revolutionary objectives of the Katipunan.
people showed that they could continue the struggle without
the leadership of those who entered into the Pact of Biak-na-Bato.
However, they were unaware of the “dangers that its (leadership)
inherently compromising nature posed for the goal of independence.”
May 21, 1898, two days after he arrived, Aguinaldo in a letter
advised the people to “respect foreigners and their properties,
also enemies who surrender...if we do not conduct ourselves
thus the Americans will decide to sell us or else divide up
our territory as they will hold us incapable of governing
our land, we shall not secure our liberty; rather the contrary;
our own soil will be delivered over to other hands.”
news of Aguinaldo’s arrival spread, a number of Filipino volunteers
in the Spanish army defected to the Filipino side. They
were assigned to occupy Dalahikan, the Cavite shipyard, to
prevent it from falling into the hands of the Spaniards.
Munitions were obtained from the captain of the American warship
the end of May, with the growing number of revolutionary supporters,
5,000 Spaniards had been captured. Within a week, Imus and
Bacood, in Cavite, and Parañaque and Las Piñas in Morong,
were seized from Spanish control, so with San Fernando and
Macabebe in Pampanga. Joining the fight for freedom
were the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija,
Bataan, Tayabas (Quezon), and Camarines.
Last-Ditch Attempts. Governor-General Augustin was
demoralized by the defection of the Filipinos from the Spanish
army to Aguinaldo’s side and Dewey’s victory over the Spanish
fleet on Manila Bay. Nevertheless, he desperately tried
to save the situation.
May, he issued two decrees creating a Filipino Volunteer Militia
and a Consultative Assembly. His purpose was to win
over the ilustrados, whom he appointed to both bodies.
However, this backfired because all of those appointed in
the militia instead joined Aguinaldo. On the other hand,
the Consultative Assembly, which was headed by Pedro Paterno,
the negotiator of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and who appealed
to the Filipinos to stand by Spain, accomplished nothing.
Falls. The renewed revolution after Aguinaldo’s
arrival from Hongkong immediately became a success. By June
2, 1898, General Artemio Ricarte accepted the surrender of
the Spanish commanding general in Cavite.
Filipinos gained victory after victory. Within the month
of June 1898, almost the whole of Luzon (except for the port
of Cavite and Manila) had fallen into rebel hands. It
was these victories by the people that “gave substance to
the legal institutions the ilustrados were establishing.
Duplicity. All the while, the Americans waited for
reinforcements. Aguinaldo was treated with the courtesies
befitting a head of state. Playing safe, the Americans took
care not to make any commitments at the same time, continuing
to let the Filipinos think they meant well. Their motive
was to use the Filipinos to fight the Spaniards until reinforcements
Siege of Manila. The Walled
City (Intramuros) was then known as the City of Manila.
(The outlying districts were the arrabales or suburbs.) When
the Spanish navy was destroyed, many Spaniards had taken refuge
there. When Dewey did not bombard the city after winning
the Battle of Manila Bay, the Spanish became optimistic.
They didn’t know that he was just waiting for reinforcements.
However, Aguinaldo seized the opportunity to besiege the city
and cut off its food and water supply to force the Spaniards
out. Aguinaldo offered the option of surrender three
times, with generous terms, to Governor-General Augustin but
these were rebuffed.
Aguinaldo had arrived from Hong Kong, he had with him a draft
of a plan drawn up by Mariano Ponce. The plan was for
the establishment of a revolutionary government. However,
he was prevailed upon by his adviser, Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista,
to form a dictatorial government instead. On May 24,
1898, Aguinaldo issued a decree formally establishing such
form of government, albeit temporary in nature. The
decree also nullified the orders issued under the Biak-na-Bato
a government in operation, Aguinaldo then deemed it necessary
to declare the independence of the Philippines against the
objections of Apolinario Mabini, who had become his unofficial
considered it more important before declaring independence
to first reorganize the government into one that could prove
to the foreign powers its competence and stability.
It was Aguinaldo who won.
Mabini: The Brains of the Katipunan. Born in
Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas Province, Apolinario Mabini played
an important role in the Aguinaldo government. Born of poor
parents, his poverty did not deter him from pursuing high
studies. His mother wanted him to become a priest.
However, he opted to study law, and he received his degree
in 1894 from the University of Santo Tomas.
1896, he contracted an illness that left him paralyzed in
the lower limbs. He had been arrested on suspicion of
involvement in the revolution, but he was released when the
Spaniards saw he was paralyzed. However, in truth, he
did have some involvement, having been a member of Rizal’s
reformist La Liga Filipina.
While taking his vacation in Los Baños, Laguna, in 1898, he
was fetched by Aguinaldo’s men. The men alternated in
carrying him in his hammock. Afterwards, he was made Aguinaldo’s
adviser. Those envious of his position regarded him
the “Dark Chamber of the President,” but he is better known
in history as the “Brains of the Revolution” and the “Sublime
PROCLAMATION OF PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE
June 12, 1898, Philippine independence was proclaimed in Kawit,
Cavite. The Philippine flag, which had been hand-sewn
by Marcela Agoncillo in Hong Kong, was first officially raised.
Also, the Marcha Nacional Filipina, the Philippine national
anthem composed by Julian Felipe, was first played in public.
The declaration of independence was patterned after the American
Declaration of Independence. It was signed by 98
Government. For his part, Apolinario Mabini considered
the declaration of independence premature and inadequate,
due to the lack of participation of the people. Thus,
he urged Aguinaldo to change the form of government from dictatorial
to revolutionary. That was done on June 23, 1898.
The decree also provided for the creation of Congress.
BACK TO THE WALLED CITY
the Walled City was under naval blockade from the Manila Bay,
in June and July, 1898, Aguinaldo had already accomplished
a complete tight land siege around the city. For the
fourth time, on July 7 (since August 1896) Aguinaldo made
another demand from the Spanish general to surrender.
Spanish official, however, refused to do so upon instruction
from Madrid. He was ordered that if it was inevitable
to surrender, he should surrender to the Americans, not to
another development, on July 15, 1898, the first cabinet appointments
were made. Aguinaldo’s cabinet was composed of ilustrados,
most of whom had been on the Spanish side. It is also
noteworthy that Cayetano Arellano, who was held in high regard
even by the Spaniards, was offered the post of secretary of
foreign affairs. However, he declined, pretending to
be ill because his loyalties lay with the Americans. Mabini
later accepted the position.)
Provinces Recovered, One by One. By the time
the Battle of Manila was to be held, other parts of the country
were already in complete control of Aguinaldo’s forces.
In July, the provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, and Mindoro
were taken. Generals Manuel and Casimiro Tinio went to Ilocos
from Nueva Ecija to Ilocus Sur. Other forces were sent
to Antique and Capiz.
Surrender Negotiations. After fresh American
troops arrived on June 30, July 17, and July 31, 1898, Dewey
started negotiating with Governor-General Augustin and with
Belgian Consul, Andre, acting as go-between for the surrender
of the Spaniards. Word about this reached the Peninsular
Government, which immediately replaced Augustin with General
Fermin Jaudenes. The two powers then very secretly agreed
to stage a mock battle between them on one condition—that
no Filipino troops would be allowed to enter Manila, clearly
an act of betrayal of the Filipinos on the part of the Americans.
Mock Battle of Manila. All along, Aguinaldo and
his forces guarded the city, and waited for the Spaniards
to give in to hunger and thirst and surrender. After
the secret deal between the Americans and the Spaniards, General
Merritt, who had overall command of the American forces, decided
to conduct the “offensive” against Manila from the side of
Francis Greene, who headed the second reinforcements, was
instructed to tell Aguinaldo and his troops to show their
cooperation with the Americans by leaving the area free for
the foreigners to occupy. Although Aguinaldo showed
caution by demanding that this request be made in writing,
he gullibly withdrew his troops when Greene promised to grant
that request after the evacuation. But Greene reneged
on his promise.
started to get suspicious about the continuous arrival of
American reinforcements. He considered them unnecessary because
the Filipinos had the situation well in hand. His sentiments
were shared by his generals. They did not, however,
do anything about this. Therefore, the American troops
were able to be installed in place.
the eve of the mock battle, General Anderson, commander of
the first reinforcements, even telegraphed Aguinaldo not to
let his troops enter Manila without permission from the American
commander or else they would be fired upon.
the Filipinos were not to be left out of the assault.
On the dark and rainy morning of August 13, 1898, they amassed
on the right side of General Arthur MacArthur, who had led
the third American reinforcements, ready for battle.
Americans started their mock attack, with the Filipinos unsuspectingly
fighting with all their might. There was token resistance
from the Spaniards.
At about 11:20 a.m., the Spaniards raised a flag of surrender,
but it was only noticed at noon. By 5:00 p.m., the surrender
negotiations were completed. The Spanish authorities
agreed to surrender the Spaniards and the Filipino volunteers
in the city on the condition that the Americans would safeguard
the city and its inhabitants, churches, and religious worship.
next day, August 14, the document stating the terms of surrender
was formally signed by representatives of both parties.
General Merritt then announced the establishment of the Military
Government. It turned out that the mock battle need
not have been staged, as the two powers had already been negotiating
to end hostilities.
on August 12, Washington, D.C. time, American President McKinley
issued a proclamation directing the suspension of all military
operations against the Spaniards. However, this did
not reach Dewey as he had cut the cable between Manila and
the outside world after winning the Battle of Manila Bay. By
the time he received it, on August 16, the surrender agreement
had been signed.
President Aguinaldo convoked the Revolutionary Congress in
Barasoain, Malolos, Bulacan Province. Those officers
elected on September 15, 1898, were Pedro A. Paterno (the
very same man who had brokered the betrayal of the revolution
at Biak-na-Bato) as its president; Benito Legarda, vice president;
Gregorio Araneta, first secretary; and Pablo Ocampo, second
leadership of the revolution had been seized by the Cavite
elite when Aguinaldo came into power in Tejeros, Cavite.
He then reasserted his (and thus ilustrado) leadership after
surrendering in the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and returning from
exile in Hong Kong, both with the help of the Americans.
The Congress, which Mabini had envisioned to be a mere
advisory, not legislative, body of the president, proposed
that a constitution be drafted, overruling Mabini’s objections.
He had meritoriously argued that the constitution had to be
framed under peaceful conditions, but he was outvoted by the
majority under Paterno. He proposed a constitution, which
was rejected. Instead, one planned by Filipino lawyer
Felipe Calderon was considered.
Provinces Recovered. In September, 1898, the provinces
of Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya were recovered. General Vicente
Lukban also rushed to Samar and Leyte where he met little
opposition. On September 15, 1898, in Malolos,
Bulacan, President Aguinaldo formally declared the conclusion
of the liberation of the Philippines. By October, General
Lukban was in control of the situation Camarines.
November 29, 1898, the Malolos Congress approved the constitution.
However, Aguinaldo refused to sign it due to Mabini’s objections.
there were still Spanish garrisons in Cebu and Iloilo under
General Montero and General de los Rios respectively.
(Montero and his forces later surrendered on December 24,
1898. General de los Rios was to evacuate to Iloilo
on December 26 and leave for Zamboanga on the way home to
Mabini’s objections were satisfied the Malolos Constitution
was promulgated on January 21, 1899. On January 23,
1899, the Philippine Republic was inaugurated in Malolos,
with Aguinaldo as its first president.
Despite the proclamation of the Philippine independence and
the establishment of the First Philippine Republic, the Philippines
did not become a member of the family of nations. Among others,
the United States and Spain did not recognize it. The
U.S. had by then decided to annex the Philippines as its territory
in the Pacific.
of excerpt from The Filipino Americans (1763-Present):
Their History, Culture, and Traditions by Veltisezar Bautista.)