Reaction Paper of Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo

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Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio were friends. This is a fact glossed over in our history books like Historia:Pag-usbong, Pakikipag-tagpo at Pagbubuo by Prof. Raul Roland Sebastian and Dr. Amalia C. Rosales. Aguinaldo, a bachelor and the capitan municipal of Cavite El Viejo (now Kawit), was induced into the Katipunan, a secret revolutionary society founded by Bonifacio, the Katipunan Supremo. This was in March 1895, before Aguinaldo’s twenty-sixth birthday (based on my report), in a house on Clavel Street, in Tondo, Manila.

It was Santiago Alvarez, his bosom friend and son of Mariano Alvarez, capitan municipal of Noveleta, Cavite, who persuaded Aguinaldo, a mason, to join the Katipunan. Aguinaldo in turn persuaded Alvarez to join the Free masonry. According to the book that I have read, entitled “Katipunan: si Kuya Andres at Kuya Miong”, Alvarez was the cousin of Gregoria de Jesus, wife of Bonifacio. He later became a general of the revolution. In the Katipunan, Aguinaldo, a deeply religious man, adopted the nom de guerre “Magdalo”, after Mary Magdalene, the patroness of Kawit.

Similarly, Aguinaldo’s pseudonym in the Freemasonry was “Colon” after Christopher Columbus, who discovered America in 1492, (if I’m not mistaken). Aguinaldo’s affiliation with Bonifacio’s Katipunan was a godsend. A popular and charismatic capitan municipal, the highest elective post to which a native could aspire during the Spanish regime, Aguinaldo recruited many new members for the revolutionary society, including his close friend, Candido Tria Tirona, and his first cousin, Baldomero Aguinaldo, both of whom later became revolutionary generals and well-known Kawit residents like Santiago Dano, Canuto Encarnacion, and Tomas Aguinaldo.

All were masons like Emilio Aguinaldo, who belonged to the principalia (According to my High School teacher), then the ruling class of each municipality in the country. But those people- peasants and workers- who could not be admitted into Freemasonry for lack of qualifications were nevertheless recruited by Aguinaldo in Katipunan. Bonifacio was naturally much delighted and gratified to learn about the recruitment of many members of the Katipunan in Cavite.

Bonifacio himself congratulated Aguinaldo, saying the latter was able to sign up many Katipuneros because he was “such a good capitan municipal”. Aguinaldo made periodic trips to Manila to personally report to Bonifacio on the rapid increase in membership of the Katipunan in Kawit and nearby towns. To express his appreciation for Aguinaldo’s efforts, Bonifacio one day joined the energetic capitan municipal on his trip to Kawit and organized a Katipunan branch or chapter which the supremo called “Magdalo”, at the same time designating Aguinaldo as president of the new chapter.

I have read, “The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes” by Alfredo Saulo, I have learned that one day in June 1895, Bonifacio, accompanied by Dr. Pio Valenzuela and Katipunan secretary Teodoro Gonzales, went to Kawit a second time to set up the Magdalo Council which comprised several towns of Cavite. Because of its unusually large membership, the Magdalo Council was organized ahead of the Magdiwang Council in the neighboring town of Noveleta which was originally headed by Mariano Alvarez.

The little-known but important historical fact is also glossed over by our historians, like what I’ve said a while ago. However, the Magdiwang Council of Alvarez had a much larger territory than Aguinaldo’s Magdalo Council. In this connection, it is important to remember that the revolution in Cavite should not be confused with the Katipunan revolt led by Bonifacio. Following the discovery of the Katipunan on August 19, 1896, Bonifacio and his followers were forced to take to the field and, despite their lack of preparation, raised the standard of rebellion in Pugad Lawin on August 23.

Based on my observation in many Filipino historians, one historian refers to this event as the “Cry of Pugad Lawin”, but at least two more senior historians describe the incident as the “Cry of Balintawak” and say that it happened on August 26, not three days earlier as claimed by historian Agoncillo. Still other historians, Conrado Benitez and Teodoro M. Kalaw, call the incident the “Cry of Kangkong”, for the water plant kangkong grew in the area.

In contrast, there was only one “Cry of Cavite”, and this took place in the towns of San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias), Noveleta, and Kawit on the same day, August 31, 1896, the day after the Katipunan revolt had fizzled out in the Battle of San Juan del Monte, in Morong (now Rizal) province. The error is that most historians regard the two armed uprisings against the Spanish regime as part of the Philippine Revolution. The truth is that these two incidents occurred in widely separated areas and were entirely independent of each other.

The Katipunan uprising was purely a revolt- and an abortive one- by a few hundred men under the leadership of Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto, while that of Cavite involved thousands of people on the first and many more thousands on the succeeding days, weeks, and months. By sheer magnitude and intensity, the Cavite uprising was a full-blown revolution. Except for a narrow strip of land where the Spanish arsenal was located, the entire province of Cavite was liberated by the revolutionists in less than a week.

The rebels in the Battle of San Juan were all Katipuneros. In the revolution at Cavite, however, the preponderant majority were non-Katipuneros- people who had probably never heard of the Katipunan before the uprising because it was secretly revolutionary society. They joined the armed struggle against the Spaniards purely out of patriotism. According to General Baldomero Aguinaldo, president of the Magdalo Council- or government-based in Imus, there were only about 300 Katipuneros in the province of Cavite. Read also what is the importance of the light-independent reactions in terms of carbon flow in the biosphere?

General Emilio Aguinaldo, however, estimated that there were about 500 Katipunan members in Cavite at the outbreak of the revolution. There is a lot of truth to the statement of historian Schumacher that the “Revolution in Cavite had outgrown the Katipunan and would cast it aside” (Based on the book of Teodoro M. Kalaw, that I have read during my report). In fact, the Cavite revolutionists forthwith rejected the Katipunan and set up the revolutionary government to carry on the struggle for national liberation and independence.

Although its membership was well spread in many provinces, especially in Luzon, the Katipunan, because of poor military leadership, was able to put up only a one-week revolt, August 23 to 30, ending in a complete debacle: 153 Katipuneros killed and about 200 taken prisoner. The Katipunan uprising paled into insignificance when compared with earlier revolts. I talk to myself, like “Kagaya rin pala ito ng pag-aalsa nina Tamblot sa Bohol, Sumuroy sa Palapag,Samar, Andres Malong sa Pangasinan, Francisco Dagohoy sa Bohol, Diego Silang sa Ilocos, Juan dela Cruz Palaris sa Pangasinan, at Apolinario dela Cruz sa Tayabas, Ano ba naman yan! Bonifacio fled to the hills of San Mateo and Montalban with absolutely no further chance of a successful comeback because the Katipunan in Manila and its environs had melted away.

Bonifacio himself admitted that he had no followers left in the city. After the San Juan fiasco, the Katipunan went into oblivion, and Bonifacio himself was soon forgotten. The Spanish forces under Bernardo Echaluche did not bother to pursue him in the jungles of Morong, dismissing the remaining rebel force as of little military significance.

It would take the passage of several years, long after the death of Bonifacio, before poet Fernando Ma, Guerrero, editor of El Renacimiento, started building the Bonifacio cult, extolling and magnifying his revolutionary achievements out of proportion to his actual deeds. I have also read the poem, in his long poem entitled “Andres Bonifacio: Founder of the Katipunan”, included in his book of poems called Crisalidas, Guerrero lauds the Tondo hero. How could an abortive one-week Katipunan revolt bring about such “feats” resulting in a “glorious enunciation of a new dawn”?

Only a poet whose feet are well above the ground can conjure such a fantasy. Had Bonifacio fled to Cavite after the Battle of San Juan and had General Echaluche pursued him there, the Katipunan revolt and the Cavite Revolution would have been joined. The Echaluche military action, under the modern theory of “hot pursuit”, would have erased any distinction between the Katipunan and the Cavite struggles for freedom, merging them into one giant upheaval-the Philippine Revolution. But instead Bonifacio took the easiest but near-sighted step- he fled to the security of the jungles of Morong. He had lost all hope.

His fighting days were over. He was therefore the most surprised man in the mountain redoubt when one day in December he received an invitation from the Magdiwang to go and visit his brother Katipuneros in the liberated province of Cavite. The invitation was written by Artemio Ricarte on the insistence of Mariano Alvarez. The Magdiwang invitation has been described as a “sheer act of malice” for the simple reason that no good purpose could be served by Bonifacio’s presence in Cavite at that time.

Having failed as a military leader, what advice could he give to the Caviteno revolutionists who had won their attles against Spaniards, driving them away in full of retreat and inactivity for the next several months while the Spaniards waited for reinforcements from Spain? On the other hand, Bonifacio’s presence in Cavite might affect enemy attacks, keeping the Cavitenos out of balance and unable to concentrate their efforts on the primordial task of strengthening their “Little Republic of Cavite”. Bonifacio, having learned from bitter experience, declined the first two invitations from the Magdiwang. He said it would not be advisable for leaders of the revolution to be cooped up in a small place like Cavite.

Should the leaders be trapped, captured, or killed by the enemy, he added, that would mean the end of the revolution. A sensible answer from a man who had tasted defeat. But the Magdiwang would not take no for an answer. A third invitation was sent to Bonifacio, and this time the latter accepted it. When I was read this book, I whisper that “Why? and Why is the answer of Bonifacio, this question deserves an in-depth study by historians. What made Bonifacio finally accept the invitation to visit Cavite? In the absence of any historical documents, one can make an educated guess. “

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