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Bonifacio Goes to Cavite

Meanwhile, in Cavite, Emilio Aguinaldo, the young mayor of the town of Kawit, led the rebels
against the Spaniards. He won victory after victory and the people, admiring his qualities as a military
leader, called him Heneral Miong. His famous victory was in Imus when he defeated the Spanish army
contingent, under the command of General Ernesto de Aguirre, on September 5, 1896. The latter, in his
haste to avoid being captured, left his sword behind. Aguinaldo took his sword and kept it as a memento
of his victory.

At that time, the Katipunan in Cavite was divided into two factions: the Magdiwang and
Magdalo. The rivalry between the two factions led to several defeats of the revolutionists. Bonifacio was
requested to go to Cavite to mediate between the factions. Accompanied by his wife and two brothers,
Bonifacio arrive in Cavite toward the end of December 1896. An assembly was held in Imus on
December 31, 1896, to determine whether the Katipunan should be transformed into another body with
governmental powers. The Magdiwang favored the retention of the Katipunan, while the Magdalo
favored a change in the Katipunan structure. Nothing resulted from this meeting.

The Tejeros Convention

The Spanish army was trying its best to subjugate Cavite, which was now a major battle ground
of the revolution. Town after town fell into the hands of the Spaniards. Faced with this bitter fact, the
rebeld decided to meet at Tejeros, San Francisci de Malabon, (now General of Trias). On March 22,
1897, a convention was held at the estate house second part of the convention, which was presided
over by Bonifacio with Artemio Ricarte as secretary, the members who were present agreed to form a
new government. Officials of this government were to be elected by those present in the convention. It
was also agreed unanimously that whoever would be elected would be respected by everyone,
regardless of economic status and education. The result of the election placed the following Katipuneros
into office.

President…………………………Emilio Aguinaldo
Vice President………………... Mariano Trias
Captain General……………...Artemio Ricarte
Director of War……………….Emiliano Riego de Dios
Director of the Interior…….Andres Bonifacio

When Bonifacio was being proclaimed, Daniel Tirona, a member of the faction Magdalo, stood
up and said that Jose del Rosario, an attorney from Cavite was more qualified for the position and
should be elected in the place of Bonifacio. Bonifacio was hurt by this protest because it had been
agreed upon that everybody would respect the outcome of the election. Bonifacio took out his pistol
and aimed at Tirona when Ricarte quick held his hand. The angry Bonifacio, being the incumbent
Supremo of the Katipunan, declared the results of the election as null and avoid. Then he and his men
hurriedly left the place.
Another Meeting at Tejeros

The following day March 23, Bonifacio, Ricarte, and many others met at the same place. They
agreed to issue a document which would put on record what happened in the election that was held the
previous day. This document was called Acta de Tejeros (Minutes of Tejeros) Howevver the report on
the proceeding of the convention contained a resolution . Hence it should rightly be called the Tejeros
Resolution. In this document, Bonifacio and those present, numbering about forty-five in all, gave their
reasons for rejecting the results of the previous day’s election and established of a government. The
main reason they cited was the fraud commited by the Magdalo people. After signing the resolution, the
men followed Bonifacio to Nail.

The Naik Military Agreement

Still angry with Daniel Tirona, who insulted him, Bonifacio, now in the town of Naik, Cavite,
persuaded his men to draw up another document. It was a military agreement in which another
government would be established. General Pio Del Pilar was to become the commander of his army.
Obviously, the head of the government to be established was Bonifacio himself. Among those who
signed the document, aside from Bonifacio and his brother were Artemio Ricarte, Pio Del Pilar, and
Severino del las Alas.

The Execution Of Bonifacio

After signing the Naik military agreement, Bonifacio, his wfe, his two brothers, and some
followers, left for the town of Indang and settled in the barrio of Limbon. Meanwhile, Aguinaldo, who
claimed he was sick at that time, heard about the Naik agreement, for which he sent sent an emissary
with some soldiers to persuade Bonifacio in recognize the Tejeros election results, and thus present a
unified stand against the enemy. Colonel Agapito Bonzon, who headed the party to contact Bonifacio,
used force on Bonifacio and his brother, Ciriaco, was killed in the skirmish, and Bonifacio himself was
wounded on the neck and on the nleft arm. He was captured and brought to the municipal building of
Indang. Later he was ntransfered to Maragondon, were he was tried for treason.

The military court that tried Bonifacio was composed of men who were hostile to him. Without
strong evidence, the military n court pronounce Bonifacio band his brother Procopio, guilty of treason.
They were sentence to be shot to death penalty to banishment. But when General Pio Del Noriel
received Aguinaldo’s commutation order, they reasoned that they could not afford to be divided at the
time when the enemy was capturing one town after another. Because of this argument, Aguinaldo
recalled, he withdrew his commutation order. In other words, the original deah sentence was carried
out. On may 10, 1897, Major Lazaro Macapagal, who received the sealed order of General Noriel, took
the prisoners from their prison cells and brought them to mount tala, where the Bonifacio brothers
were executed.
The Government of Central Luzon

During this period, the Filipino rebels suffered one defeat after another. The Spanish forces, on
the other hand, suffered from tropical diseases and lack of experience. At this stage, the Spanish army
was composed of many Spanish recruits to replace the Filipino soldiers who had defected to the
revolutionary force. Governor-General Camilio de Polavienja, who succeeded General Ramon Blanco in
December 1896, grew tired of fighting the Filipinos who refused to surrender. His health failed him so he
asked to relieve. His successor was Governor General Fernando Primo de Rivera, who had served the
previously as governor of the country. Primo de Rivera took personal charge of the military campaign
against the rebels. By May, almost the whole province of Cavite was in the hands of the Spaniards.
Aguinaldo, in order to escape captivity, retreated to Batangas. The Spanish army followed him and tried
to trap him. Aguinaldo, however, succeeded in eluding the enemy and, with some faithful followers,
headed for the hilly parts of Morong (now Rizal Province). With 500 faithful armed men, Aguinado
walked the distance to San Juan del Monte and Montalban, and on to Mont Puray. From here, he and
his men walked all the way to Biak-na-bato, in San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan, where he established
his headquarters.

Meanwhile, news of Aguinaldi’s arrival in Biak-na-bato reached the people of Central Luzon.
Immediately, the people of the provinces of Zambales, Pangasinan, the Ilocos, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija
renewed their offensive against the enemy. Such was the situation when the rebels met at Mount Puray
and established the Departmental Governmenr of Central Luzon. This comprised the provinces of
Manila, Morong, Bulacan, Laguna, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, and Pangasinan those present in the
meeting elected the following officals:

President…………………………Emilio Aguinaldo
Vice President………………... Mariano Trias
Secretary of Forein Affairs…Antonio Montenegro
Secretary of the Interior…..Isabela Artacho
Secretary of War……………..Emiliano Riego de Dios
Secretary of the treasury….Baldomero Aguinaldo

The Truce of Biak-na-Bato

Because of the difficulties that confronted both the Filipino rebels and Spanish army, some srt of
understanding between the combatants was made. Pedro A. Paterno, a Filipino ancestry, approached
Governor Primo de Rivera and offered himself as mediator. The governor agreed, and soon Paterno was
negotiating with the two camps on how to end this bloody struggle on November 18, 1897, the first
document was signed by Paterno on behalf of the Filipino rebels, matters were clarified and a second
document was signed by Paterno and Primo de Rivera on December 14, 1897. On December 15, a third
documnent was signed. These three documents together constitute what may be called the Truce of
Biak-na-Bato. Among other things, the agreement provided the following:
1. That Aguinaldo and his men would go into voluntary exile;
2. That Primo de Rivera would pay Aguinaldo the sum of P800,000 in three installmenrs:
(a)P400,000 upon his departure from the Philippines, (b)P200,000 when general amnesty had
been proclaimed and Te Deum had been sung; and
3. That Primo de Rivera would pay an additiona; P900,000 to the families of non-combatant
Filipino who suffered during the revolution.

On December 27, Auinaldo, together with some men of his choice, boarded a ship for Hongkong. He
had with him a check for P400,000.

The Failure of the Truce

Te month of January 1898 was a happy one for the Spaniards. Peace reigned once more and
Spanish community enjoyed their usual activities like attending horse and boat races, fireworks, and
going to theaters. The Te Deum was sung at the Manila Cathedral on January 23 to celebrate the
publication of a peace treaty. Meanwhile, the Filipino military officers, who were left at Biak-na-Bato to
attend to the surrender of firearms, kept themselves busy. Other, however, were suspicious of Spanish
motives and held on to their weapons. Likewise, the Spanish authorities did not trust the Filipinos. This
mutual suspicion resulted to armed clashes that started in February.

One of the Filipino military leader, General Francisco Makabulos of Tarlac, who wwas suspicious
of Spanish motives, organized the Central Executive Committee which acted as an independent
government. It intended to operate temporaitly as a government, pending the establishement of a
central government run by Filipinos. It had a constitution, popularly called the Makabulos Constitution.
In the months that followed, armed clashes made the Filipinos and Spaniards more suspicious of each
other. Bad faith on both sides ultimately caused the truce to fail.

STUDY GUIDE

1. Describe the conditions in the Philippines before the outbreak of the revolution. In your
opinion, which of the causes of the struggle oppressed the Filipinos the most? Why?
2. Why and how was the Katipunan discovered?
3. What was the “Cry of Pugadlawin?” What did it signify?
4. Why did Governor Ramon Blanco declare martial law in in the eight provinces of Luzon?
What are these procinces?
5. What is meant by “policy of attraction?” Why was it initiated?
6. What was the colonial government’s reaction to the outbreak of the revolution? Was it
justified? Why?
7. What was the effect of Rizal’s execution on the Filipino revolutionaries?
8. Explain why Bonifacio went to Cavite. Was he right in going to Cavite? Why? What kind of
character did he show in going to Cavite?
9. Why was the Tejeros convention called? Did it succeed in unifying the Katipunan? Explain
your answer.
10. Why did Bonifacio and his companions refuse to recognize the results of the election of
Tejeros? Were they justified in doing so? Explain your answer.
11. Why was Bonifacio tried and executed? Was his execution just? Why?
12. Describe how Aguinaldo eluded the Spanish army sent to destroy him. How would you
describe Aguinaldo regarding his successes in the fight against the Spaniards?
13. Why did Aguinaldo retreat to Biak-na-Bato? Why did he choose Biak-na-Bato?
14. Discuss the Truce of Biak-na-Bato and its important provisions.
15. Why was the truce a failure?