Sunday, December 30, 2012

Demystifying Emilio Aguinaldo

As I write this and as I sit, I ponder over the consequences of my words. Some people are asking that we look at Emilio Aguinaldo's contributions to Philippine history with fresh eyes. As a historiographer, I would really like to, except that stories about this man, who claims to be the first President of this Republic were unflattering. There were many accounts that really showed Aguinaldo's true role in the 1896 revolution, and worst, his true motivations on joining the Katipunan in the first place. Is Aguinaldo a true patriot? Was he really the military "genius" who led the Revolution and finally got the independence which we so enjoyed today from the Spaniards?

I will be publishing an anthology of great stories in Philippine history. This project which I started way in 2009, would show the true events that Aguinaldo took part of, and nowhere do I see a redeeming value. Aguinaldo died of old age, which some say, was just a fitting "punishment" for a man who murdered the Supremo. Thoughout the years, some people protest this fact and even gave Aguinaldo an alibi out.

Aguinaldo did, indeed, took part in the glorious historical event this country ever experienced in its short life. However, what really motivated him? Was it love for country or was it his pure naked thirst for power?

First off, did anyone question how, in just a span of a year, two great leaders of the Revolution died, in a space of a few months in between, Rizal and Bonifacio? Rizal and Bonifacio were murdered---one by the colonialists and the other, through the treachery of Aguinaldo's men.

At the time of his execution, Rizal was the undisputed leader of the revolution. He was indeed, the head of the country's Masonic lodges which comprise most of the members of the Katipunan. Rizal was the spiritual head, while Bonifacio held operational command. Obviously, at their deaths, opened the chance for Aguinaldo to assume leadership.

During those times, the Supremo Andres Bonifacio thought of Aguinaldo as a Spanish spy and what were his reasons for thinking such?

First off, when Bonifacio visited the newly inducted Aguinaldo unto the Katipunan ranks in his house in Cavite, a fire suspiciously happened which gutted the Supremo's house in Manila. THe house, which served as a temporary Katipunan headquarters, was utterly destroyed. It happened exactly when Bonifacio was with Aguinaldo.

Second, in a meeting sometime in Taguig where the Katipuneros were discussing about launching the revolt, Aguinaldo was there and he opposed it. Some say, his opposition was about arms and the military preparedness of the troops. Was this really the reason or there is some other reason?

When Valenzuela visited RIzal in Dapitan, he came with Aguinaldo's "spy". The alleged "rejection" of Rizal of the Revolution quickly spread because of Aguinaldo's man who came and visited Rizal in his house in Dapitan. It was he who spread this news, a violation of an agreement among Katipunan leaders not to spread such information among the ranks for fears of misinterpretation and could cause demoralization.

When the revolt already broke out in Mandaluyong and San Juan, Aguinaldo did not come to help the Supremo's forces and instead, dilly-dallied. It was only when Aguinaldo was given the information that the revolution had begun and was far from being abetted did he ordered his troops to move against Spanish forces in Cavite. Aguinaldo moved a day or two after the Supremo and the Katipuneros already begun their attacks against Spanish forces.

Aguinaldo's initial victories in Cavite came at a price. When the Katipuneros attacked Manila, it divided the ranks of the Spanish. Some forces who guarded Cavite were asked to go and reinforce the Manila troops. This allowed Aguinaldo to maneuver and without so much use of force, occupied several towns in Cavite.

When he did so, Aguinaldo quickly declared Cavite as a "liberated" territory and used the occasion to claim leadership of the revolution. Curiously, Aguinaldo's victories quickly dissipated shortly after Spanish forces reclaimed most of Cavite's towns. It was only upon the assumption of Bonifacio's leadership in the Cavite Katipuneros that the Spanish forces encountered stiff opposition from the rebels.

Aguinaldo was not the military genius that many depicted him to be. Fact is, his brother Crispulo, died because of a defeat in one of the towns being defended by the Katipuneros. Aguinaldo suffered many defeats in the field than Bonifacio.

Shortly after the treacherous death of Bonifacio, Aguinaldo's troops abandoned Cavite and went to Talisay. From Talisay, Aguinaldo reportedly went to Morong. Why Morong? Because Aguinaldo wanted nothing more than to consolidate the remaining strong forces of the Katipunan under his command and control. And why?

The answer lies at Biak-na-Bato, a strongly fortified and heavily controlled Katipunan area. Was it Aguinaldo's idea to surrender the entire revolutionary movement at Biak-na-Bato, that's why he went there instead of staying in Cavite?

We know what happened in Biak-na-Bato, a truce was entered into by Aguinaldo with Primo de Rivera. That was just a year after the 1896 revolution. Meaning, the true plan really was to subdue the revolutionary forces and enter a truce, which was never a plan by the Supremo nor the rest of the Katipuneros.

This explains, why many believe that Aguinaldo really tried to "murder" the revolutionary fervor of the Filipinos and acted as a leader to subdue the Katipunan and surrender the movement to the Spaniards.

Read my book, " Bagong Istorya: Great Anthology of Philippine History" out soon.

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Blogger Philippine Breast Cancer Network said...

Thank you for this blog of yours and your coming soon book as well. Is so pathetic and sad that this "revered" traitor and murderer was even glorified in a recent film portrayed by no other than a politician with similar ambitions for power.

As I have always maintained, the evil that all our country's presidents will forever continue for as long as the legacy of evil done by Aguinaldo is allowed to go unpunished. We have become a people without any sense of historical accountability and this has resulted in the destruction of our cultural and moral fibers as a nation.

There was a time before 1996 when we were strongly pushing for that year to be the nation's centennial and not 1998. In fact, together with the UP History Dept., The National Historical Institute, Kamalaysayan and respectable historians, a forum was held towards achieving historical closure. Three questions were put forward: 1. Who is the 1st President of our country; 2. When was our country's independence declared?; and 3. Who was liable for the murder of Bonifacio?

By just having these 3 questions answered and published would there be substantial changes in Philippine society. A people without a noble historical past can never expect to work together for a common future.

Danny Meneses
Great-grandson of Dr. Pio A. Valenzuela
Grand-nephew of Renato Constantino

December 31, 2012 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Cesar Umali said...

Greed for power or love of money, the Bible says, is the root of all evil. Lucifer aka Satan was the highest ranking angel before the creation of man and his greed for power tempted him to usurp the throne of God but in vain, and many similar personalities/entities appear to have followed the same attitude/character after the father of all evil, Satan, around the world and even in the Philippine setting from Aguinaldo to the many Filipino politicians greedy for position and power. There is no end to corruption and the greed for money and power, and as the Bible says, sin and rebellion lead to unrighteousness. James 3:16 says"for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work"..then in 4:1ff from whence come wars and fightings among you? . come they not hence even of your lusts that war in your members? ye lust and have not, ye kill and desire to have and cannot obtain, ye fight and war yet ye have not. " So it is no surprise that the Philippines has fallen behind the leadership among nations in all aspects. The only hope for the Philippines to rise again is to turn towards righteousness of God through His Son Jesus Christ, the Word of God by following and obeying His Word the Bible. Cesar S. Umali God save the world, Inc.

December 31, 2012 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger PatricioMangubat said...

thanks Danny. Yep, I have researched the answers to these questions and will be publishing the book very soon. These questions have haunted Philippine historiography for years and I think that our historians know the answer but some of them do not want to rock the boat so to speak. It is time for us to stand up and rectify the errors former Historians have created in our minds.

January 2, 2013 at 11:07 AM  

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