With the four declarations of the Philippine Independence, which date would be most fitting?
Buried in the countless pages in the history of the Philippine revolution is the bloody and unceremonial end of the KKK Founder Andres Bonifacio from the hands of Emilio Aguinaldo who took over the ruling revolutionary group with so much visceral impunity, with so much rivalry between the poor and the illustrado; between the absolute patriotism and absolute power-grabbing.
And also within the walls of our colourful historical archives, there is always an eerie reverberation so loud that Gat Andres Bonifacio should have been the 1st president of the Philippines when proclaimed the Philippine Independence on April 12, 1895, inside the Pamitinan Cave, Montalban (now Rodriguez Town) Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto together with other members when they shouted “Viva La Independencia Filipina.”
Added to this forgotten historical event to free from the clutch and the umbilical cord of the Spanish rule when Bonifacio, together with his KKK members, tore the “cedula” and marked the “Cry of Pugadlawin” on August 1896.
The KKK (Katastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan Ng Mga Anak Ng Bayan) was founded on July 7, 1893, at the house of Deodato Arellano at 734 Calle el Cano corner Azcarraga (now Recto) and the foundation of this revolutionary group led by Supremo Andres Bonifacio was inspired when Bonifacio attended the meeting of the “La Liga Filipina” founded by Rizal.
But these two proclamations were clouded by some historical notes that during this time when Andres Bonifacio and his KKK, there was a deep rivalry between members of the Katipunan, leading to the split of leadership between the Magdiwang (Bonifacio) and Magdalo (Aguinaldo) and the divided devotion of many members.
Bonifacio’s inspiration to wage an armed revolution was abruptly hampered when he sent Dr Pio Valenzuela on May 3, 1896, to ask Dr Jose Rizal, who was in exile since “La Liga Filipina” died of natural death, to lead the Revolution. Rizal advised: “Armed revolution will be futile against Spain with so much strength in the military warfare. But Rizal further advised, that to wage a violent revolution, Bonifacio needs the support of the people like Antonio Luna who had military expertise and very close and had strong influences on the well-known and rich Filipinos.
The rivalry between the two councils within the KKK had become the burning issue. On March 22, 1897, Tejeros Convention was held to settle the dispute between the Magdiwang and the Magdalo factions. Bonifacio presided the meeting and laid down the foundation of the revolutionary group. Bonifacio was elected as the Secretary of Interiors but Daniel Tirona put forward that a lawyer must handle the position because Supremo Bonifacio was not fully educated. Bonifacio got insulted and declared the Tejeros Convention as null and void.
Bonifacio wanted to establish another government which is independent of Aguinaldo who was already planning to establish a revolutionary government to replace the Katipunan. The rivalry had become fierce and the two factions collided with principles and supremacy.
On August 26, 1896, Katipunan led by Supremo Bonifacio waged a war against Spain to take over the Spanish governing power of Mandaluyong, Pandacan and Pasig but Bonifacio and his men ended to be a failure. As a result, Gov. Blanco declared war in the eight provinces where the Katipunan had a stronghold.
Fighting for survivals, the Magdiwang and the Magdalo factions had a blood bath for supremacy and an assembly was held to settle the differences and the formation of a revolutionary government to replace the Katipunan. And on April 27, a fierce battle between the two factions led to the arrest of Supremo Andress Bonifacio and his brother Procopio. Court tribunal was conducted and the court, considered as a “kangaroo court” found the Bonifacio brothers guilty and were given a death penalty. And on May 10, 1897, Bonifacio and his brother were shot to death at Mt. Nagpatong, near Mt. Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite.
That Bonifacio was annihilated, Aguinaldo and his men faced the former allies, the American, to start the Philippine-American war, and this height of American colonialism, Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898, when the First Filipino Flag was raised and when the 1st national anthem was played amid the continuous American insurgency.
And on August 1, 1898, Aguinaldo ratified the proclamation of the Philippines Independence with 190 town heads from 16 provinces to legitimize the freedom, albeit the lack of sovereignty and territory and still under the eerie shadow of the American power.
And on July 4th, 1946, by the virtue of the founding of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, under the Presidency of Manuel Luis Quezon, full Philippine Independence was granted to the Republic of the Philippines by the USA!
And by the virtue of historical twisting, on May 12, 1962, 2 years before the death of Aguinaldo, then-President Diosdado Macapagal changed the annual celebration of the Philippine Independence to June 12, instead of July 4th, to immortalize the patriotic effort of the former leaders, led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, honouring the Kawit Proclamation on June 12, 1898, freeing the country for the Spanish governance. Macapagal was accused of politicizing the celebration of the Philippine Independence, and from this date and to the present, historical controversies rage on to proclaim Andres Bonifacio, the 1st president of the Republic of the Philippines.
And the genuine date of the celebration of the Philippine Independence is hanging on the balance of historical facts and realities.
And now, this year 2020, totally aberrated by an invisible enemy, COVID-19, the 122nd Philippine Independence in Winnipeg and in the other parts of the country and the world will be celebrated with creativity and resourcefulness, feeling gratified for being independent even the beginning of the struggle for Philippine independence is a full narrative of historical musing and politicization. And looking at the red colour in our Filipino Flag, as if it were a living bloodshed by Supremo Andres Bonifacio when he was shot to death.
And as we celebrate, we still smell the blood of genuine heroism!
And at the very end of the article on Bonifacio written by Mario Albano Limos of Esquire Philippines, he bolted with reverence, he writes:” Andres Bonifacio’s education and military expertise many not be equal that of other Filipino heroes but love for his country is absolute!”