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Saturday, June 1, 2013

August 26 as Independence Day, not June 12

June 12 may be our official declaration of Independence and many academicians debated this and even fought for it in the halls of Congress, because before, we celebrate July 4 as our Independence date. Now, I am convinced that even June 12 is not the official date when we declared our independence. It is August 26 when the forces of the Katipunan led by Andres Bonifacio declared freedom and independence and eventually created a de facto government shortly after that.

June 12 is debatable because at that time, the succession was illegitimate. Emilio Aguinaldo's election as President was questionable. Indeed, that Tejeros Convention event where an election was called, was rigged and Bonifacio formally declared it as such and did not recognize it. Bonifacio had at that time, the authority and the power to declare such electoral exercise as illegitimate because he was the Supremo, elected in an earlier electoral exercise by members of the Katipunan. The Katipunan at that time, was acting as government in several liberated areas, not just in Cavite. The fact was, the base of the Republic was in the mountains of Caloocan. Caloocan was the hotbed of the revolutionary government, and this government was largely recognized by the people as their own legitimate government.

Those who recognize Aguinaldo as the legitimate president of the Republic were members of the Cavite branch of the Katipunan revolutionary government. When these elements seized and eventually executed Bonifacio, it was an act of defiance against the existing legitimate Katipunan government. Fact was, it was a criminal act, an act of treason. Aguinaldo and his cohorts deserve the death penalty.

Who, then, replaced Bonifacio shortly after his death? Documents point to General Emilio Jacinto, the confidente and loyal member of the Katipunan. Jacinto never recognized Aguinaldo's authority. The bulk of the Katipunan, led by Macario Sakay, a Tondo resident, also did not recognize Aguinaldo's power. Most Katipuneros saw the ruse, that explains why Aguinaldo's forces suffered numerous defeats shortly after he assumed power and killed Bonifacio because Aguinaldo did not get most of the support he expected from the Katipuneros.