This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A documentary drama in 2 Acts by Edmundo Farolan
There are 2 stage levels: the lower stage is thrust towards the audience who sit on 3 sides. The lower stage is raked towards the upstage area which becomes steps that will be used for the court scene where the judges will sit, or where rallies take place, etc; the upper stage, like the Shakesperean stage,has a balcony at stage right. This can can be used for scenes that require balcony scenes, such as Aguinaldo's declaration of Independence. T
Gregorian music in the background during blackout. As lights fade in, music fades out. Narrator at centerstage:
General Emilio Aguinaldo. President of the First Republic of the Blacklisted by Philippine Hisotry after he had Andres
Bonifacio shot to death because Bonifacio refused to accept his leadership. (Emphatic) General Emilio Aguinaldo. Condemned by
historians, critics and writers as an assassin for condemning the Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio to a firing squad. (To audience) You be the jury, ladies and gentlemen.
A court room. Judges forming a tribunal of 5 men at upper center stage. Alfredo Saulo, historian and Aguinaldo biographer is Aguinaldo's defense attorney. He is beside Aguinaldo who is in a witness stand, stage left.
General Aguinaldo, how do you plead to the charges brought against you by Philippine hisotirans, critics and writers that you murdered the Katipunan Supremo, Andres Bonifacio?
AGUINALDO: Not guilty, your honor.
JUDGE 2: You may proceed, Counsellor.
Thank you, your honor. General Aguinaldo, would you recount to us the events that led to Andres Bonifacio's death?
AGUINALDO: Yes, Professor.
As he narrates, the main area of the stage lights up and actors enact the events as they are narrated by Aguinaldo. Other multi-media effects through film can also be projected unto the cyclorama.
Let me begin with the Tejeros Convention. It was March 22, 1897. The convention took place in the barrio of Tejeros, Cavite. Its purpose: to establish a revolutionary government for the The
purpose of carrying on the revolution against Spain.
Convention was initiated by the Magdiwang Council headed by Andres Bonifacio. Earlier, On December 31, 1896, the day after Jose Rizal's execution, the Imus Assembly was called by the Magdalo Council. Since there were two factions fighting against a common enemy, the Tejeros convention was held in response to
public clamor for the union of the two revolutionary councils.
Sometime after the Cry of Cavite on August 31, 1896, and the beginning of its rule over some 14 liberated towns of Cavite province, the Magdiwang council or government through Artemio Ricarte invited Bonifacio, then hiding in the hills of San Mateo and Montalban, to come to Cavite to see the difficult yet satisfactory conditions in which the Cavite Katipuneros found themselves. Bonifacio replied by congratulating the Magdiwang leaders on their glorious success, but politely declined the invitation to go to Cavite because in his opinion, it was not advisable that all the leading Katipunan chiefs whould be in the same district or province.
Doubtless, Bonifacio remembered the saying: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."
Bonifacio rightly foresaw the grave danger to the
revolution if the top revolutionary leaders were concentrated in one small place and captured by the enemy. But upon the
insistence of the Magdiwang leaders, Bonifacio finally accepted
the third invitation sent by Ricarte.
He arrived in Cavite on
December 1, 1896 with his party including his wife Gregoria de Jesus, his two brothers, Procopio and Ciriaco, General Lucino, and 20 soldiers.
I recall I was leading insurgent forces against the Spanish troops and we were fighting a wide front from Zapote, Arumahan and Las Pinas upto Pintong Bato in Bacoor. I learned at this time of Bonifacio's arrival in Cavite. Without losing time, I sent Generals Noriel and Pio del Pilar to welcome the Katipunan Supremo. I joined them later.
The Supremo and I were very happy to see each other again, although we had been separated for only a short time. I took the visitors to Imus, the Magdalo Capital, where they were welcomed by the people led by the Magdalo Council, including Baldomero Aguinaldo, Edilberto Evangelista, Vito Belarmino, Crispulo Aguinaldo, Daniel Tirona, Felix Cuenca, Licerio Topacio, Cayetano Topacio, Jose Tagle, Sixto Espinosa and others. (Actors at lower stage shaking hands, welcoming,
The Bonifacio party stayed at the Castañeda residence for the night. Here, Bonifacio recounted his trials and tribulations after the Cry of Pugad Lawin, admitting to the virtual break-up of the Katipunan, whereby some units were openly defying his attack orders against enemy positions in Balintawak, Masambong, Baesa, Sta. Mesa, San Juan and other places. (Actor playing Bonifacio miming all this, while the other actors mime sympathy by nodding their heads, etc.) He added apolegetically that he could not keep his agreement to stop the enemy in the eastern part of Manila, and told us that it was good we were successful in Cavite. Otherwise, more Filipinos would have been killed by the cruel friars.
The next morning, the entire Magdiwang Council from San Frncisco de Malabon arrived in Imus to pay their respects to the Supremo. They were: (as he narrates the names, the actors playing the roles individually shake the Supremo's hand in what might be some sort of protocol lineup) Mariano Alvarez, President; Ariston Villanueva, Minister of War; Mariano Trias y
Closas, Minister of Justice; Emiliano Riego de Dios, Minister of Natural Resources; Diego Mojica, Minister of Finance; Pascual Alvarez, Minister of the Interior; Jacinto Lumbreras, Minister of the Exterior; Santiago Alvarez, Captain General; and Artemio Ricarte, Lieutenant General.
The enemy had learned of the Supremo's arrival. It started bombarding rebel positions (canon and gunfire in the background), and fighting flared up anew in Zapote (war cries and slides depicting battle in Zapote). I had to leave immediately for the front line. Bonifacio and his party left with the Magdiwang officials for their headquarters.
All along the nine kilometer route from Noveleta to San Francisco de Malabon, the Magdiwang capital, the houses were gaily decorated with flags and bamboo arches had been put up at strategic points. (Actors start decorating lower stage and enacting the scene as it is being narrated.) A brass band met the party one kilometer outside the poblacion, and from there, a caravan of calesas wound up its way to the parish church where they were met by the priest under a canopy. All the church's
chandeliers were lighted (bright lights come up) and the bells pealed a clangorous welcome (sound of church bells). With the choir chanting TE DEUM (choir in background singing TE DEUM) Bonifacio walked under the canopy accompanied by Father Manuel Trias, the parish priest. The huge crowd gathered at the town plaza and greeted Bonifacio with MABUHAY ANG HARI NG PILIPINAS! (crowd of actors shouting "Mabuhay!" "Mabuhay si Bonifacio!", "Mabuhay ang hari!", "Hari, Hari ng Pilipinas!")
With the arrival of their highest official, Bonifacio, the Magdiwang Council was finally completed. The officials wore very impressive costumes during their meetings. From the "king" to the "captain General", they wore big red ribbons decorated with gold tassles across their shoulders. (actors enact this) Sometimes they wore these badges of distinction when they made their rounds so that people would recognize their positions in the government. Everywhere they went they were given the customary welcome of bambooarches, music bands, pealing of church bells and canopied entry in churches amidst the singing of TE DEUM. Shots of "Mabuhay ang mga
Tagalog!" (Repeat enactment of above, this time without Bonifacio).
The Magdiwang officials never had it so good because the 14 towns under their control were peaceful, since they were located far from the battlefronts. On the other hand, the Magdalo forces had almost daily encounters with the enemy at Zapote, Almanza, San Nicolas, Arumahan, Pintong Bato, and Molino in Bacoor, the first Cavite town under attack by enemy troops coming from Manila (slides and war noises depicting these encounters).
It's sad to say that on several occasions the enemy succeeded in penetrating positions on the south bank of the Zapote river because our soldiers, fatigued from incessant fighting, did not notice the enemy coming. The enemy would have easily wedged, expanded and deepened their attacks had it not been for the timely arrival of the “bolo men” under Generals Mariano Noriel and Pio del Pilar who pounded relentlessly on the enemy, driving it back to its original position. Not infrequently, the waters of Zapote River turned red with human blood as a result of the daily carnage. (Slides)
Let's go back to the Tejeros Convention. Would you describe to us what happened?
I was not present at the Convention at the time because I was directing insurgent forces defending Pasong Santol, a few kilometers east of Dasmariñas. Dasmariñas had already fallen in enemy hands.
From what I gathered, though, the timing of the Tejeros Convention was bad because not many Magdalo officials attended due to intensified enemy pressures on their territory. Furthermore, the notice for the Convention was only given by the Magdiwang president midnight of March 21st, advising the Magdalo president of the convention at the Tejeros estate house the next day, March 22nd.
It was a lopsided convention since 90 percent of the delegates present were Magdiwang followers. However, the estate house buzzed with life as more rebels, some of them uninvited, came.
Nine officers were to be elected by popular vote: the President, Vice-President, Captain General, Director of War, Director of the Interior, Director of State, Director of Finance, Director of Fomento, and Director of Justice.
The Convention started after two in the afternoon under the chairmanship of Jacinto Lumbreras, Magdiwang Minister of the Interior. Teodoro Gonzales of the Magdiwang camp acted as secretary.
Fade out upperstage court scene; fade in lower stage: Tejeron Estate House. People in auditorium buzzing in and out. Actors mingle with audience as lights in auditorium come up. There is a presidential table centerstage. Seated at center is Lumbreras, Gonzales at his side, Bonifacio, and other Magdiwang officials. Questions raised from the floor should come from actors planted with the audience. Spotlight focuses on actor who "takes the floor" from the auditorium.
SEVERINO DE LAS ALAS (FROM SOMEWHERE IN THE AUDITORIUM, standing): Mr. Chairman, I would like first of all to ask the delegates of this convention to first determine what kind of government should be set up to administer the country. Will it be monarchical? Republican? Etcetera. comments, buzzing from audience) (laughter,
(from his chair at the presidential table) I'll answer that. The letter "K" in the Katipunan flag speaks for itself. It stands for liberty.
DE LAS ALAS:
It still does not identify the kind of government to be established.
ANTONIO MONTENEGRO (from somewhere in the auditorium): I agree. If we do not act upon the suggestion of Mr. de las Alas now, we, the rebels will be likened unto a mere pack of highway robbers, or worse, like animals.
SANTIAGO ALVAREZ (FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL TABLE, angry, looking at Montenegro): We, the rebels of Cavite, recognize the Katipunan
government. (Sarcastic, with anger in his tone) If you want to set up another form of government, you can go back to your own province and wrest authority from the Spanaiards, as we have done here. We of Cavite do not need any adviser of your standing.
Noise, confusion, everyone talking at the same time. Tension.
LUMBRERAS (POUNDING ON THE TABLE with his gave,trying to go above the noise and confusion): Order Order, please!! (Noise begins to subdue.) Let us recess for 10 minutes. You are requested to return to your seats promptly after 10 minutes. (Pounds on his gavel).
At this juncture, actors in the audience lead spectators outside; some may remain and continue the debate. When 10 minutes are up, audience returns to their seats led by actors, ushers, etc. Lumbreras, Bonifacio and others take their seats at the presidential table.
(pounding on the table with his gavel) Ladies and gentlemen, the meeting will now come to order. At this juncture, I would
like to yield the chairmanship of this convention to Mr Andres Bonifacio.
Reaction from audience.
This is unfair. He is running for president. He can't be the Chairman.
Why not? He is the President of the Supreme Council of the Katipunan. Why can't he be the presiding officer of this convention?
OTHER SPECTATORS: Yes, yes that's true. Let's proclaim him chairman. (Applause.)
Thank you for your support, my friends. (very confident) Before we begin with the elections, let us be aware of one very important principle. Let us all abide and respect the will of the majority.
Applause. A murmur of "ayes", and "majority wins".etc.
May I ask Mr. Ricarte to be the secretary and to put on record the following: Let us all respect and abide by the will of the majority.
Applause, comments from spectators: "That's fair", "Agreed".
Let us now have nominations for President.
I would like to nominate Mr. Andres Bonifacio for president! (Applause and seconds )
Thank you, my friend.
I would like to nominate Mariano Trias y Closas for president. (Slow reaction from audience).
(timidly) I nominate General Emilio Aguinaldo for president.
Rumours of dissent from some delegates. Jealous reaction from Bonifacio.
(objecting) That can't be. I object! He's not present and cannot be nominated!
Why not? He is not here because he is fighting the Spaniards at Pasong Santol. Why should he not be nominated? (Ayes and other positive reactions).
(disgruntled) Oh, all right. I withdraw my objection.
Applause and mixed reaction: boos, and ayes.
I move that the nominations be closed. Seconds from delegates.)
Now that the nominations are closed, may I ask Mr. Ricarte and his assistants to distribute the ballot forms for you to write down your choice. In a few minutes, the ballots will be collected. (Ricarte and assistants distribute the ballot forms. A few
minutes while this takes place and spectators write out their choice.
(after looking over auditorium and seeing everyone has finished) Mr. Ricarte, will you now please collect the ballots.
Ricarte and assistants collect ballots through ballot boxes . An actor installs a blackboard for the tally.
Mr. Ricarte, will you now read the results?
RICARTE: Aguinaldo...Aguinaldo...Aguinaldo.....Trias...Aguinaldo...Bonifa cio...Aguinaldo...(At the end of the enumeration, Aguinaldo comes out triumphant with the majority of votes).
(HURT AND FEIGNING SPORTSMANSHIP) Aguinaldo is proclaimed President.
Loud applause from audience.
Let us go on and elect the Vice-President.
DE LAS ALAS:
I suggest that the Supremo be automatically declared Vice President since he received the second highest number of votes.
Lukewarm reception from the body of delegates.
(Trying his best to hide his disappointment) Thank you for your suggestion, Mr. de las Alas, but I think we should continue with the nominations.
Elections continue in pantomime as NARRATOR speaks. Spotlight on NARRATOR.
It was entirely a Magdiwang affair after that. Mariano Trias y Closas won handily over Bonifacio, de las Alas, and Mariano Alvarez, all of the Magdiwang Camp. Bonifacio's disappoiintment must have deepened. For the position of Captain General, Artemio Ricarte, probably Bonifacio's most loyal follower, defeated Santiago Alvarez, who was already
occupying that position in the Magdiwang Council. To the surprise of everybody, Ricarte stood up and declined his election. But it was disapproved by the convention.
It was getting late in the afternoon and in order to complete the election, the secret balloting was abandoned in favor of an open election. Emiliano Riego de Dios of Maragondon was elected Director of War over Ariston Villanueva, Daniel Tirona and Santiago Alvarez. Andres Bonifacio, after two unsuccessful tries, was finally elected Director of the Interior over Mariano Alvarez and Pascual Alvarez. But then, Daniel Tirona protested.
(in the audience, amidst voices of protest and complaints, spotlight on him) I hear voices and complaints saying that Bonifacio should not be given the post of Director of the Interior because such a job requires an educated man. I think Atty Jose del Rosario of Sta. Cruz de Malabon will fit the portfolio much better.
Applause, boos, remarks.
I do not mean to belittle the Supremo or insult him. I beg the Supremo's forgiveness. It's just that I'm merely voicing the suggestion of the people around me.
(firmly and adversely) If educated men were required for all the positions, point to me who among those elected could be considered truly educated.
(challenging) Let us elect Atty. Jose del Rosario as Director of the Interior!
Boos from the audience, and remarks like "You"re out of order!", "Bonifacio has already been elected!", etc. Tirona insists three more times shouting: "Del Rosario for Director of the Interior!" There is now chaos, and Bonifacio, unable to control his emotions says:
(ANGRY) This convention is not a convention of gentlemen! As presiding officer, I declare all elections null and void!
He walks out followed by his close associates. After he exits, the Batangas delegates protest.
BATANGUEÑO: (from the auditorium, addressing the audience) Everybody knows our loyalty to the founder of the Katipunan and the Magdiwang. But if against all reason the result of an election so thoroughly agreed upon among all is invalidated, we, the Batangueños, will impose it by force, and we will do it alone if the sons of Cavite will not respect it.
Applause from audience. Spotlight now on the NARRATOR.
It was Col. Vicente Riego de Dios of the Magdiwang Council who came at the head of a group to notify Aguinaldo of his election as Presidente. He advised him to take his oath so that the new revolutionary government could function immediately. Aguinaldo begged to be excused saying that the situation at the front was very critical. Then a second team arrived to summon him. This time it was headed by his older
brother Crispulo. Again, Aguinaldo tried to excuse himself pointing out that the failure to halt the Spanish advance at Pasong Santol would mean the fall of Imus and, subsequently, the fall of Cavite province. He assured his younger brother and said:
(in the midst of battle, soldiers fighting around them, to Aguinaldo) Let me say here and now that the Spaniards can take this place only by passing over my dead body! (Aguinaldo embraces his older brother who takes over command of the troops as Aguinaldo and his aides exit).
Emilio Aguinaldo, accompanied by his staff, proceeded to the parish convent of Sta. Cruz de Malabon. (This scene is enacted in mime on another part of the stage while it is narrated). There, inside the parish convent, before a huge crucifix hanging on the wall, President-elect Aguinaldo and Vice-President-elect Mariano Trias Closas knelt on two cushions and with their right hands raised, took their oaths before the parish priest, Fr. Cenon Villafranca.(Fade out. Spotlight now on NARRATOR.) To General Emilio Aguinaldo, the newly
inducted President of the first Filipino revolutionary government, it was the costliest oath-taking ever. The strategic Pasong Santol, gateway to the capital of Imus, was finally taken by the enemy. True to his word, over the dead body of his older brother, Lt. General Crispulo Aguinaldo.
Red spotlight fades in slowly on Crispulo's dead body in the battlefield of Pasong Santol. Fade out, as lights fade in at upperstage. We are back at Aguinaldo's trial scene. He is at the witness stand. Saulo continues the cross-examination.
And then what happened?
(as he narrates, he enacts the scene with the other characters) After the oath-taking that same evening, I called my companions--Generals Mariano Trias and Riego de Dios--and also General Ricarte to a meeting. I told them of the need for the lieutenant of every town not engaged in battle to come to Sta. Cruz de Malabon and help General Crispulo Aguinaldo in
Pasong Santol. I had barely made the suggestion when General Ricarte stood up and said he was feeling dizzy. So, he went out without even bidding the three of us goodbye. I was amazed at such a behaviour by a general of our army! However, I did not mind it at all. The other two generals gave me all the support I needed and followed my suggestion. That night, dispatches were sent to all the troops of the Magdiwang.
At ten o'clock the next morning, March 24, I was very happy to see the arrival of a battalion from Naik under the command of Major Andres Villanueva, son of former Minister of War, Ariston Villanueva in the Bonifacio cabinet, in response to our request. So, I sent Villanueva and his men immediately to General Crispulo Aguinaldo in Pasong Santol. One by one, more companies and battalions arrived in Sta. Cruz de Malabon from the Magdiwang towns of Ternate, Maragondon, Magallanes, and other municipalities. I immediately dispatched all of them to Pasong Santol.
But what a bitter disappointment and sorrow I had when I learned that our troops bound for Pasong Santol had all been
intercepted by General Ricarte, upon orders of the Supremo. They were gathered inside the big yard of Mrs. Estefania Potente in the poblacion of San Francisco de Malabon where they were told by the Supremo not to succor the Pasong Santol defenders but simply wait for the enemy in Magdiwang territory. In addition, the troops were given an express order to intercept and kidnap me on my way to Imus after my oath-taking in Sta. Cruz de Malabon.
When I learned about this evil plot, I just heaved a sigh and said to myself "Our revolution is bound to fail because of the selfishness and vindictiveness of one man: Bonifacio". Angrily reacting to the news of the dastardly plot against me, General Trias suggested that I order the arrest of the traitors.
Go on, General.
On the night of March 25th, like a thunderbolt, the horrible news came that Pasong Santol had been taken by the enemy, and my dear brother Crispulo had been killed after a bitter and bloody fight. True to his pledge, General Crispulo Aguinaldo fought as
he had never fought before, but the enemy, vastly superior in both men and arms, finally captured the strategic pass--over his dead body. (Pause. Aguinaldo controls his emotions. A painful look registers in his face.) If the strong reinforcements that I had dispatched to Pasong Santol had not been intercepted, perhaps not only the Spanish General Anonio Zaballa would have been killed and buried in that battleground but a far greater disaster could have aggravated the sudden illness of Governor and Captain General Polavieja. (Pause. Takes a drink of water.)
I set out for my return trip to Imus. I would pass through San Francisco de Malabon, the Magdiwang capital. Worried about my safety, General Trias decided to accompany me. As we were about to board a carretela, the troop reinforcements under Major Gregorio Jocson arrived. They had just seen action at Pasong Santol. It was from Jocson that I got first-hand information about the death of my brother Crispulo. After a late breakfast Jocson and his troops accompanied me to Imus.
After taking Pasong Santol, the Spanish juggernaut swept past minor rebel positions, then raced to the northwest in an effort to
take the Magdalo capital of Imus by storm. All that my troops could offer was delaying action. I did not have enough forces to stop the enemy offensive. Shortly before the capture of Imus on March 25, I had a malaria attack. I was forced to leave to my cousin, Baldomero Aguinaldo and othr Magdalo generals the defense of the Imus poblacion. I and members of my family left on a carretela bound for Naik, some 35 kilometers to the southwest, where I set up my headquarters.
It was a good thing the enemy was busy shouting Viva España as it climbed over our trenches surrounding Imus, for then we were able to retreat immediately and avoid being captured. Had the enemy pursued us, we could have been overtaken, and surely I would have been placed inside an iron cage, specially built for me, for public display at the Luneta.
After the fall of Imus, the Spanish troops under General Lachambre spearheaded on to Bacoor, then to Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario. It is interesting to note that it was the Magdalo troops fighting all the way as they retreated. They put up a strong defense of the Magdiwang towns of Noveleta, Rosario
and finally San Francisco de Malabon, the Magdiwang capital, which Bonifacio and Ricarte had abandoned as soon as the Spaniards entered Imus, some 20 kilometers to the northeast. When the enemy finally entered San Francisco de Malabon on April 7, Bonifacio and Ricarte had long transferred their headquarters to Naik. I asked myself: "When will the Supremo finally come face to face with the enemy?"
Bonifacio, Ricarte and their followers were the first to arrive in Naik. They occupied the Recollect estate house, a veritable fortress, for their headquarters. When I arrived in Naik, shortly before Holy Week, still weak from my bout with malaria, I stayed in the residence of Major Jocson. On the night of April 19, as I lay ill in the Jocson residence, Bonifacio gathered his Magdiwang followers in the Recollect estate house near the Naik church and prepared a four-paragraph military agreement establishing a separate army under the command of General Pio del Pilar. Another associate of mine, General Mariano Noriel, had been deceived into joining this new army. The trick that persuaded these two generals of mine to cast their lot with the Katipunan Supremo was an anonymous letter.
Fade in on Saulo. Aguinaldo is back at the witness stand.
How did you find out about the Bonifacio-Ricarte plot against you?
I felt uneasy at the Jocson residence. I could not understand why no preparations were being made for the defense of Naik in the face of the approaching enemy offensive. The Magdiwang capital of San Francisco de Malabon had fallen, and the capture of the next town, Sta. Cruz de Malabon, was a foregone conclusion because the craven mayor, Francisco Valencia, had already instructed his people to hang out white flags on the windows of their houses. Between the last and Naik was a stretch of savanna without any natural obstacle that could delay the enemy advance.
I sent a 60-man reconnaisance patrol under Major Lazaro Makapagal on the afternoon of April 19. It was already dark when Makapagal came back alone and panting. He recounted to me that he and his men had been invited to drop in and take some food at the Bonifacio headquarters and, once inside the big estate house, they were locked up in a room on the ground floor. Makapagal managed to escape and report the incident to me.
I was furious. I sent Generals Baldomero Aguinaldo and Tomas Mascardo to the estate house to investigate. They were not allowed entry by the guard as Bonifacio and his followers were then in a secret conference on the second floor. Through my host, Major Jocson, I sent word to Col. Blas Bustamante to get his men ready to surround the estate house. I took my gun and dagger and went straight to the Bonifacio headquarters. I was surprised to see Baldomero Aguinaldo and Mascardo still waiting at the entrance.
Fade into scene of Bonifacio's headquarters. We see 2 guards blocking Baldomero Aguinaldo and Mascardo. Enter General Aguinaldo.
(TO THE TWO) What are you two still doing here?
They wouldn't let us in, sir.
(to guards) Do you know me?
Am I your enemy?
Why then didn't you let my generals in?
We had strict orders from the Supremo, sir, not to let anyone in.
We're not the enemy. Let us in!
(letting them in) Yessir!
Aguinaldo and his generals pass through the gate. Before he goes upstairs to the meeting room, he admonishes his generals.
Wait for me here. I'm going up alone. I'll fire my weapon if I need help.
Aguinaldo climbs up to upperstage where the Bonifacio's secret meeting is taking place. Before he enters, he stops at the doorway and listens.
Bonifacio reads the anonymous letter to his followers: Artemio Ricarte, Santiago Alvarez, Pascual Alvarez, and many others including Generals Pio del Pilar and Noriel.)
I have just received this anonymous letter about Aguinaldo's surrender to the Spaniards. Let me read it to you: "General Aguinaldo has surrendered all the arms of the revolutionists in
Cavite to the Spanish government as requested in the letters of Jesuit Father Pio Pi and Fiscal General Comenge to Aguinaldo. The surrender was finalized in a letter which was sent to General Lachambre through Domingo Martinez, a Spanish prisoner, who was being kept in the house of General Tomas Mascardo." This is the reason why until now General Aguinaldo has been malingering. Isn't it our good fortune that this letter reached me on time? I trust that our new captain general, Pio del Pilar (pointing to him) will endeavour to form just one strong army for our government.
Simultaneously, Procopio Bonifacio comes up the stairs, greets Aguinaldo, and announces his presence as he enters the meeting room.
Gentlemen, General Aguinaldo is here.
(polite and cool) Good evening to you all!
Everyone is dumbfounded. Reactions. Comments such as "Paano siya nakapasok?" Pio del Pilar and Noriel try to hide from embarassment.
Come in, General and join us.
Thank you, but no. I was not invited. Good night to all. (Starts descent to lower stage)
(calling to Procopio) Ask him to come back. I need to talk to him. (Procopio nods and goes after Aguinaldo.)
The following scene should be orchestrated and timed so that by the time Procopio reaches Aguinaldo at the lower stage, Aguinaldo will have released his captured troops.
(reaching lowerstage, joining his 2 generals, and noticing a door leading to a large room. He opens the door and sees Major Makapagal's troops detained there) You may get out now and stay in formation close by.
(reaching lowerstage; to AGUINALDO) The Supremo insists in your presence in our meeting, General.
(politely) Please tell the Supremo that I was not previously
invited, and I feel it improper to participate. Please thank him for the invitation. And would you please ask Generals Noriel and del Pilar that I would like to see them.
All right, General.
Fade out. Fade into Aguinaldo's headquarters. Aguinaldo at his desk. Enter Generals Noriel and del Pilar. They salute him.
(with a tone of rebuke in his voice) I did not expect you two to be with Don Andres.
We were blinded by false promises, sir.
We admit our mistake, sir.
Go back to your soldiers and do your duties as officers.
(saluting) Yes sir! (Exit)
Enter Colonel Agapito "Intong" Bonzon, Major Ignacio Pawa and Major Felipe Topacio. They salute Aguinaldo.
I would like the three of you to talk to the Supremo. Try to convince him that there's no point having two opposing factions against one common enemy. Tell him that if our armies are divided, we'll never defeat the Spaniards. Convince him that our campaign against the common enemy will be more effective if we fight together.
Yes, sir. We'll see him right away. (Salutes from him & the two Majors.
Fade out. Fade in Bonifacio's headquarters in Naik. Bonifacio is with his brother,
Ciriaco. Enter Bonzon, Pawa and Topacio.
Good evening, Supremo.
Good evening. How can I help you?
Supremo, we were sent by General Aguinaldo to ask you to join forces with him.
He suggested that thee was no point in having two opposing factions fighting a common enemy.
If our armies are divided, we'll never defeat the Spanish forces.
Our campaign against a common enemy will be more effective if we reconcile and fight together.
I think he has a point there. Why indeed should we have two separate armies when we only have one common enemy?
Brother, I think it would be a bad decision to join forces with
him. (Angry) Why will you let these three convince you? You're the Supremo. If you join forces with Aguinaldo, you'll end up being his lackey!
Let me think about the General's offer. I'll let you know as soon as I make a decision.
Exit the three officers.
Fade in. We're back at the court scene. Saulo continues the cross-examination.
Did he finally decide to join you?
No, he did not.
What happened next?
After the Supremo decided against us, he and his followers left Naik and went to his mountain hideout in Limbon. Upon the
suggestion of my Secretary of War, General Emiliano Riego de Dios, I dispatched Generals Baldomero Aguinaldo and Tomas Mascardo, Colonel Bonzon and Majors Pawa and Topacio together with half a battalion of soldiers to arrest him.
Fade in: Limbon, mountain hideout of Bonifacio. His hideout is surrounded by trenches. Bonzon enters with a platoon of soldiers.
(calling out) Supremo, we would like to talk to you.
(in one of the trenches) Halt to be recognized!
I am Colonel Bonzon. I want to speak with the Supremo.
Stay where you are. (Leaves trench and enters hideout. Comes
out again.) Okay, you can come in. Alone. Leave your weapons behind.
Bonzon takes his gun out of his holster and leaves it with one of the members of his platoon.
I'm coming in. I'm unarmed. (He approaches hideout with his hands up. Guard approaches him and frisks him. Then calls another guard to escort him into the hideout. They climb up to upperstage where Bonifacio is sitting with his followers.) Good day, Supremo.
Well, we meet again. (Suspicious) What is it this time? Another reconciliation?
No, Supremo. This time I have orders from General Aguinaldo to take you back to Naik!
Take me back? Who does he think he is? Tell your "Captain" Aguinaldo that I'm not returning there. There's nothing to eat there.
Nothing to eat? When you left the Recollect estate house, you left a lot of cooked food that just went to waste.
I'm not talking about our group. I'm referring to the families of our soldiers who died in San Francisco de Malabon because of lack of food supplies. Tell your leader I'm not going back there. And that's final!
All right, Supremo. I'll convey the message.
Bonzon starts descending to lower stage observing and remembering the set-up of Bonifacio's hideout. Just as he is about to join his battalion, shots are fired from the Bonifacio camp. Ciriaco Bonifacio fires at them with his Mauser rifle killing Bonzon's sergeant, a corporal and 3 other soldiers. Returning the fire, Bonzon's men joined by the rest of the battalion's officers and soldiers kill Ciriaco and wounds the Supremo and some of his soldiers. Procopio Bonifacio and the remaining soldiers are outnumbered and are captured alive. Andres Bonifacio is put in a hammock and carried away.
We're back in Aguinaldo's headquarters in Naik. Aguinaldo is surrounded by his staff: Generals Riego de Dios, Baldomero Aguinaldo, and Mascardo. Cannons and shots from enemy lines heard in the background.
What do we do with the Supremo? Should we try him and his brother before a Council of War?
RIEGO DE DIOS: I don't think so, General. We're in a state of war, and we're clashing with the enemy almost every day. I think it would be untimely to create a Council of War at the present moment.
It's obvious that the Bonifacio brothers have committed treason against the revolutionary government.
You were right there, General, when he read that anonymous letter accusing you of an alleged plot to surrender to the Spaniards.
RIEGO DE DIOS: We also have proof that he plotted to assassinate you.
Colonel Bonzon reported that he blatantly refused to cooperate with us to fight a common enemy.
Adding insult to injury, he wanted to form his own counterrevolutionary government.
RIEGO DE DIOS: I conclude, sir, that these crimes and other overt acts aimed at overthrowing the government warrants immediate execution without benefit of trial.
I understand your concerns. (Stands, paces a few seconds, then in a deliberate and calm tone) I am very sorry to differ with you on the matter. I believe that even if we are in a state of war, it is absolutely necessary that we act like prudent and civilized human beings. The life of a person, no matter who he is, needs to be respected. I don't think it right to have anyone, especially our brothers, shot just like animals. Whatever their crimes are, they are entitled to a fair trial. While it is true that ordinary laws are suspended during wartime, it is equally true that we follow laws during war. We have military courts to render justice. I
will set the investigation and get the trial under way without delay. I am appointing Colonel Jose Lipana as Judge Advocate and Colonel Jose Elises as Fiscal.
Fade in. We're back at the court scene.
Then what happened?
The court-martial of Bonifacio and his brother Procopio was held on May 5 with Placido Martinez acting as counsel for the Supremo, and Teodoro Gonzales for Procopio. The charges against the accused were: 1) treason and conspiracy to overthrow the newly established revolutionary government; 2) attempted assassination on me; 3) bribing government soldiers to join them in their seditious plot. The Council of War heard the pleas of the defense counsel and gave Bonifacio a chance to explain his side. After due deliberation, the Council on May 6
found the Bonifacio brothers guilty as charged and recommended the death penalty. On the same day, the Council of War forwarded its decision to me; I referred it to Judge Advocate General Baldomero Aguinaldo for review. He recommended approval of the verdict.
I deliberated the matter for two days after which I decided to commute the death penalty. On May 8th, I wrote out the order of commutation.
Your honors, I have as Exhibit A the order of commutation. (Gives Exhibit A to one of the judges.)
Would you please read the order, General Aguinaldo? (Passes exhibit A to him.)
Certainly, your honor. (Reads) "Considering the present situation of this land and the fact that the guilty ones are true sons of this country; following likewise the merciful policy of the government never to draw blood uselessly...I hereby pardon Andres Bonifacio and Procopio Bonifacio from the death
penalty, and instead grant the punishment of exile in an isolated place, where they will be held in solitary confinement, watched by prison guards, and will not be allowed to speak to each other or to the people."
Why did the order of commutation not go through?
The reaction to my commutation order was immediate and negative. Within a couple of hours, Generals Pio del Pilar and Mariano Noriel together with leading representatives of the alsa balutan refugees, Jose Zulueta, Anastacio Francisco and Mamerto Natividad came to convince me to withdraw the order.
Fade in Aguinaldo Headquarters. Aguinaldo surrounded by Generals Pio del Pilar, Mariano Noriel, Zulueta, Francisco and Natividad.
Sir, to keep Bonifacio alive is to endanger the cause of the revolution. We cannot afford to be divided at this critical moment.
As you can see, sir, it's either you or he!
We urge you, sir, to withdraw the commutation order.
I represent the manileños, and I believe that Bonifacio alive is more dangerous than if he were dead.
I represent Nueva Ecija, sir, and I believe with my fellow revolutionaries there that Bonifacio will do more harm than good to the revolution if he is kept alive.
Fade in court scene. Upperstage.
And so, you were convinced by the logic of their arguments.
That is correct. (As he narrates, actors enact the scene at lower stage.) I verbally withdrew the commutation order whereupon
General Noriel ordered a squad of soldiers under Major Lazaro Makapagal on the morning of May 10 to take the Bonifacio brothers to the foot of Mount Hulog, about four kilometers west of the poblacion of Maragondon, where they were executed. (Drumbeats. Sound of gunshots.)
Any concluding statements or afterthoughts, General, about the execution?
While I deeply deplored Bonifacio's loss, I could not show weakness. The times and circumstances demanded of me firmness and sternness however heavy my heart was. His death made me the undisputed leader of the revolution, together with its tremendous responsibilities and sacrifices. I could not afford to patch up the disunity Bonifacio had created by another form of disunity I would have created resulting from differences over his punishment.
Spotlight on NARRATOR, lower stage.
Before you pass judgment, ladies and gentlemen of the
jury, let us hear what some critics and historians said about Bonifacio's execution. First, the Bonifacio biographer, Teodoro Agoncillo.
(from somewhere in the auditorium, spotlighted) I maintain that the trial conducted by the Council of War was a farce and the members of the court could have been saved the trouble of a mock trial if the Bonifacio brothers had been shot outright since the Naik Military Agreement was a concrete proof of Bonifacio's guilt involving sedition. I might add, however, that since there were no concrete proofs of the crimes adduced in the course of the trial, Bonifacio should have merited at least a less severe punishment.
Let's hear what Teodoro Kalaw, historian and former director of the national library had to say.
(from the balcony section of the auditorium, spotlighted) Unity had to be maintained. All opposition had to be put down with an iron hand.
Maximo, the younger Kalaw, former Dean of the University of the Philippines, had this to say.
(from the back of the orchestra section, spotlighted) The revolutionists could not afford to be divided. One of two courses had to be taken: either the continuation of the Katipunan government under Bonifacio or the maintenance of the new revolutionary government under Aguinaldo which had the support of the majority. The revolutionary government was forced to eliminate him.
And last but not least, the Filipino scholar Epifanio de los Santos.
DE LOS SANTOS:
(from around the middle of the auditorium, spotlighted)
The Bonifacio execution was not only justified but inevitable because of Bonifacio's plan to head a counterrevolution; because of pressure of the enemy who was then sweeping Cavite with a broom of lead and steel; because of pressure of those outside, among them Clemente Jose Zulieta and Felician Jocson; and, more than all these, because of the terrible general panic.
(Drumbeats. Fade in court scene.)
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, how do you find the defendant: guilty or not guilty?
Spotlight on 12 members of the jury seated in different areas of the auditorium who stand up one by one to say NOT GUILTY. After the last "not guilty", drumbeats are heard, followed by Gregorian music. Lights fade out from stage, and auditorium lights come up to end the Act.
GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO
(Gregorian music during blackout; as music fades out, spotlight focuses on NARRATOR, centerstage.)
General Emilio Aguinaldo. Born 1869. Died 1964. He said: "Truth will triumph over falsity and deceit." During his lifetime, lies were told about him. Lies about his role in the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Lies about his role in the Philippine-American War that followed. But Emilio Aguinaldo, a humble man, a religious man, refused to confront these critics. He knew that in time, history would vindicate him. (Fade out. When spotlight returns, Aguinaldo is at centerstage. He is 30 years old, wearing his general's uniform.)
When I look back at the history of mankind, it all boils down to greed, selfishness, avarice, imperialism, expansionism, and the means to all these: war and violence. Man's cruelty to man. The strong over the weak.
We Filipinos were puppets of so-called "democratic" nations-Spain and the United States. We were peons in their war games; they decided, and we fought their wars. Despite our idealism, the idealism of democracy taught to us by these foreigners, we realized when it was too late that we were being fooled by all their talk of democracy. It was democracy and freedom for them, not for us, the indios. When they speak of "freedom for all people of the world", they mean freedom for the whites, the white people of the world.
I was young. All of us were young idealists--Agoncillo, Basa, Tolentino, Ferrer, Canon--we trusted the old seadog Dewey when he said: "The U.S. had come to the Philippines to protect its natives and to free them from the yoke of Spain." He went on
to say: "America is rich in territory and money; it needs no colonies." We believed the old man because we were young, only to find out later that we were being used, our expendable indio blood shed to protect their white skins from being blemished.
Lights fade in another part of the stage. The 29-year old Aguinaldo is given the honors of a general by a section of the US Marine guards aboard the flagship Olympia. Commodore Dewey, 62 years old, meets him. After the honor guard ceremonies, the two sit down and talk:
Commodore Dewey, is it true that you sent all those telegrams to Consul Pratt in Singapore assuring Philippine Independence undr
an American naval protectorate?
Yes, it's true. We came to the Philippines to protect the Filipino people from Spain. There is no doubt whatsoever about the recognition of Philippine Independence by the United States. All we ask is if you could exhort your soldiers to make a short, sharp and decisive campaign against the Spaniards.
(softspoken and modest) Our battles and skirmishes against the Spanish forces will speak for themselves. Our main problem now is the fact that we are running out of arms and ammunition. I'm expecting the first arms shipment from Consul Wildman. Unless I receive these supplies, I cannot begin the campaign.
We'll have to do something about that. (Thinking.) This is what I can do for you. I'll dispatch a steaner to Hong Kong to carry the arms. In the meantime, you have at your disposal all the guns seized aboard the Spanish warships as well as 62 rifles and ammunition which the Petrel brought in from Corregidor.
Thank you, Commodore. (Pause. Then, with a deliberate but calm and modest tone.) Before leaving Hong Kong, the revolutionary junta held a meeting to discuss the possibility that, after the Spaniards were defeated, the American government might not recognize our independence. In such a case, we might have to fight another war against you. If this happens, we will surely be defeated. we will be battle-weary by then; we'll be short of arms and ammunition after fighting the Spaniards, etcetera. I'm sorry for my frankness, but my question is: Do the doubtsd and misgivings of my countrymen have any basis?
(laughing politely) I'm glad you're open and frank with me. I sincerely believe that Filipinos and Americans should be friends and allies. We must iron out all doubts and misgivings. I assure you that the United States will recognize the the sovereignty of the Filipino people. The word of honor of Americans is more binding than any written treaties and agreements signed by the Spaniards. I say this because I am aware of what happened between you and the Spaniards in the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. In fact, I suggest that the Philippine flag be hoisted jointly with the
American flag to inspire the respect and esteem of all foreign nations.
Fade out from this scene.
Fade in on NARRATOR.
"American perfidy", as one Filipino historian would say. American perfidy and doublecross. What happened next? Well, the Americans sat down comfortably in their warships in Manila Bay the next few weeks after giving arms and ammunition to their "little brown brothers", and let them fight for them their war against the Spaniards. We saw how Aguinaldo acted in good faith. It never crossed his mind that Americans were capable of deceit. After meeting with Dewey, he met with his revolutionary junta in Hong Kong.
Scene now takes place in a rooming house in Hong Kong where the Filipino exiles are together discussing plans for Philippine Independece with General Aguinaldo. Date: May 4, 1898.
I have absolute confidence in the history and tradition of the Americans who fought for their independence against England, who campaigned against the abolition of slavery, and on the strength of being a free nation, posed as the champion liberator of oppressed peoples.
I totally agree. I strongly believe that the United States will recognize our independence. The United States declared war against Spain to free Cuba. I don't foresee that the Americans would act otherwise in our case.
I also agree with your thesis. If Washington proposes to carry out the fundamental principles of the American Constitution, it is highly improbable that an attempt will be made to colonize or
annex us. I likewise strongly believe that independence will be guaranteed.
ALEJANDRINO: I know it's a great risk to accept the American invitation to cooperate with them in the common struggle against the Spaniards, but it's a risk we must take. We have no choice. We have no arms nor ammunition, and only the Americans can sell us arms and ammunition, as well as manpower.
Dewey wants us to return to the Philippines and induce the Filipinos to rise in rebellion against the Spaniards. He assured me that the American government will furnish us with all the arms and ammunitions we need. He told me that he didn't have the authority, but there was no doubt in his mind that our sovereignty will be recognized if we cooperated and assisted them in defeating the Spaniards, the same way they did to the Cubans.
Fade in NARRATOR.
The Cubans. Yes, the Cubans. Look at them now. Antiamericans, obviously because of American treachery. That's what it boils down to: treachery, exploitation, expansionism, call it white chauvinism, arrogance and add to that, intimidation. The United States agains the third world countries. The strong against the weak.
Going back to the Philippine scene: the USA took a 180 degree about face in her policy toward the Philippines, in contrast to what they did in their Free-Cuba policy. Manifest Destiny. Claro Mayo Recto had elaborated on this in his speeches and essays years after McKinley and his advisers Theodore Roosevelt, Russell Alger and others came up with this resolution. The resolution simply meant that the United States would abandon her traditional foreign policy of non-intervention in the affairs of other nations, and put in its place a policy of
expansionism, or as the American political strategists would euphemistically refer to as "a policy of destiny".
The naval strategist Captain Alfred T. Mahan commented:
Spotlight on MAHAN in one section of the stage.
Expansion arose through no premeditated contrivance of our own; our wishes made no difference at all; it was natural, necessary, irrepressible.
Secretary of State John Hay chorused:
Spotlight on HAY in other section of the stage.
No man, no party, can fight with any chance of success against a cosmic tendency.
Still another influential expansionist, Chauncey Dephew said the following with certainty and confidence in regard to the
destiny of the United States of America:
Spotlight on Dephew in another section of the stage.
To crave for colonial possessions is in the blood, and no power can stop it.
The young, impetuous Assistant Secretary of the Navy who would later become President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, shaking his fist at a Gridiron Dinner commented:
Spotlight on Roosevelt sitting somewhere in the audience.
(shaking his fist) McKinley has no more backbone than a chocolate eclair. We will have this war for the freedom of Cuba in spite of the timidity of commercial interests.
Another expansionist cabinet member, Secretary of War Russell Alger, a former Civil War Army General, said:
Spotlight on Alger.
President McKinley must declare war against Spain. He's making a great mistake. He's in danger of ruining himself and the Republican Party by standing in the way of the people's wishes. Congress will declare war in spite of him. He'll get run over, and the party with him.
The American Congress finally declared war against Spain over Cuba. What McKinley did not reckon with was that the Cuban War, with all its too idealistic message of liberating the Cubans from Spanish tyranny, was used by the scheming Roosevelt and company as a cover up for colonial expansion in the Pacific. The flimsy excuse given was to prevent the Spanish fleet from attacking the west coast of the United States. But everyone knew how flimsy this reason was. Long before the Spanish American War, naval experts in Asia knew the deplorable state of the Spanish fleet in Manila, which was composed of decrepit warships incapable of crossing the Pacific.
It exerted no threat whatsoever to the American West Coast or to anything. Commodore Dewey's one-sided victory over Montojo's ancient armada was a foregone conclusion long before the start of the Battle of Manila Bay.
Now, the $64,000 question. Why did the United States want the Philippines? The answer: greed. Back to our original thesis: mankind's greed and avarice. In the case of the USA, it was American Big Business. The Philippines was an ideal springboard to the vast Asia mainland market. Professor George Taylor, in his book America in the New Pacific says:
Spotlight on Taylor.
China and Japan had to be brought into the world market for our good, not their own.
The same idea was articulated by W.H. Seward with prophetic insight.
Spotlight on Seward.
We are rising to another and more sublime state of national progress--that of expanding wealth and rapid territorial aggrandizement. Commerce has brought the ancient continents near to us, and created necessities for new positions--perhaps connections or colonies there.
I could go on and on regarding the American dream for economic expansion, but I think we have enough proof to serve as background to our story about our victim, General Aguinaldo who took the blame of Philippine history. He was the president and naturally, as the saying goes, "the buck stops here". Furthermore, considering that Philippine history was written by Filipino historians educated in the United States...well, there you are, you have the American slant: the Americans now appear to be the "good guys" in Philippine History, and the Spaniards, the "bad guys". Cowboys and Indians. Yes, Aguinaldo, the indio, caught in-between, the scapegoat in all this political mess of power and greed, the man who had to be blamed for the
mistakes made by Filipinos. Aguinaldo, the expendable pawn, sacrificed in this game of historical chess.
(The scene takes place in Felipe Agoncillo's home. Agoncillo is writing a letter to General Aguinaldo. As he writes, we hear his thoughts projected on tape through loudspeakers.)
VOICE ON TAPE: (while Agoncillo writes) May 27th, 1898. Your Excellency General Aguinaldo. Sir: You ahould try to find out the real intentions of the Americans toward our unfortunate country. We have duly informed them that we will aid them for the sake of our independence; hence, if they obtain victory through our assistance, and, as a result of the negotiations, they refuse to give us independence and they show intentions of either enslaving us or of selling our country, we have then the right in the eyes of the world to fight them for the welfare of our country. We have to send a representative to the United States to
ascertain American intentions regarding the Philippines. Respectfully, Felipe Agoncillo.
Aguinaldo writing at his desk in Kawit, Cavite.
VOICE ON TAPE: (voice of Aguinaldo as he writes) August 7, 1898. Distinguished friend, Don Felipe. It is important that you should go to the United States as soon as possible so that McKinley's government knows the true situation here. Show him that our peopel have their own government, civil organizations in the provinces already exist, and soon the Congress of Representatives of these provinces will meet. Emilio Aguinaldo.
The scene takes place at the Oval Room of the White House in Washington. October, 1898. Agoncillo & Mckinley are seated. They are surrounded by reporters and photographers taking flash pictures. Beside McKinley is his interpreter who is
seated beside him. He translates simultaneously as Agoncillo speaks.
Señor Presidente. El gobierno filipino, igueal que los Estados Unidos, es un gobierno democrático. Fue sancionado por el pueblo filipino y nuestro jefe invincible el general Emilio Aguinaldo fue elegido por sus compatriotas, los ciudadanos filipinos. Vengo como representante de nuestro gobierno y nuestro jefe el General Aguinaldo para informarle otra vez a Vd. y al gobierno estadounidense del hecho de que existimos como una república tal como la de ustedes, una república soberana e independiente. Esperamos que esta nación norteamericana lo reconozca en su total soberanía.
INTERPRETER: (simultaneously) Mr. President. The legal government now in force in the Philippines has been sanctioned by the only legitimate source of public power, by the vote of its citizens. This government under the invincible leader General Emilio Aguinaldo was elected by Filipino citizens. I represent our government and our president General Aguinaldo to inform you
and the US government that we do exist as a republic similar to yours, a sovereign and independent republic. We hope that the United States recognizes our total sovereignty.
I'll see to it that the American peace commissioners in Paris will take this matter into serious consideration. Meantime, I suggest you follow up the matter when you go to Paris.(Shaking his hand) Welcome to the United States of America!
INTERPRETER: (translating simultaneously for Agoncillo) Voy a enviar su mensaje a la delegación norteamericana en París. Le aconsejo que vaya Vd. allá para confirmarlo. Bienvenido a los Estados Unidos!
Gracias, señor Presidente.(Exits)
(to interpreter, patronizingly) If there were more Filipinos like that chap Agoncillo, there would be no question about their right to govern themselves.
(American Episcopal Convention, Washington, D.C. October 1898. Hustle-bustle as delegates take their seats in the auditorium. A big banner across the stage reads "AMERICAN EPISCOPAL TRIENNIAL CONVENTION")
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This morning we have a special guest, the Ambassador from the Republic of the Philippine Islands who will say a few words about the present situation in the Philippines. Mr. Felipe Agoncillo.
Thank you, Mr. Moderator, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen for this warm welcome. I am honored to speak before an august body such as this regarding the political situation in the Philippine Islands. As you very well know, we declared our Independence from Spain four months ago. The United States, after Admiral Dewey's Victory in Manila Bay, helped us obtain
our subsequent victories. Prior to this naval victory, however, our President, General Emilio Aguinaldo had waged various battles against the Spaniards, and won.
The big problem we are contending with at this time is that there are factions in American politics that do not recognize our Independence. Members of both the American and Spanish governments are meeting in Paris to discuss this matter. The Treaty of Paris is being drafted at this time and will be ratified in December. The irony here is that we are a sovereign nation and we are being left out of the bargaining table. In other words, we are just not being recognized as a sovereign nation. I spoke to President McKinley a few days ago and he urged me to go to Paris and follow-up the matter with the American Commissioners there.
I therefore appeal to you, on behalf of my government, the Republic of the Philippines, and in the true sense of the Christian spirit with which this country is based upon, to support our struggle for recognition of our country's sovereignty. Thank you.
(Polite applause from audience. Lights fade out. Hustle bustle in the auditorium as participants comment positively on Agoncillo's talk.)
(Still the convention. Participants onstage in groups of twos and threes, some shaking Agoncillo's hand, others having coffee and cookies. Senator Chandler approaches Agoncillo, centerstage.)
Mr. Agoncillo, I'm Senator Chandler. That was a very moving talk you gave.
Thank you, Senator.
When are you leaving for Paris?
My colleague, Senator Davis, is one of the members of the U.S. delegation who are working on the draft for the Treaty of Paris. I'll write him a letter and if you don't mind hand
carrying it and delivering it to him.
No, I don't mind, Senator.
Basically, what I'll say in the letter is how much I support your cause and that your government should be recognized as an independent nation.
Thank you, Senator. I appreciate that very much.
McKinley is on his re-election campaign tour. American flags and banners "VOTE MCKINLEY" , "VOTE REPUBLICAN" are displayed all over the stage and auditorium. McKinley is now addressing a Methodist convention. A big banner centerstage "METHODIST CONVENTION". Moderator, on microphone in podium, centerstage.
(amidst cheers and shouts "Mckinley for president!"etc.). Ladies and gentlemen, I'm honored to present to you the president of the United States. (Cheers and whistles and jubilant noise accompanied by a band playing the Presidential March.)
(BIG SMILE ON HIS FACE, RAISING BOTH HANDS WITH THE LETTER "V". SHOUTS AND CHEERS.) Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much. (Noise subsides. A lady from the audience shouts "We love you, Mr. President!" followed by more applause and cheers.) Thank you, I love you too! (Applause, cheers.) I'm honored to address the delegates of this convention in this countrywide speaking tour. In the true Methodist and Christian spirit, let me just begin by relating to all of you a dream I had. For weeks, I was bothered about the Philippine question of sovereignty. I sought counsel from all sides. First we would take only Manila; then Luzon; then other islands, perhaps. I walked the floor of the White House night after night. And one night, before going to sleep, after sleepless nights, I went down on my knees and prayed
fervently to the Lord Almighty God (some "Amens" are heard in the auditorium), I prayed to Him for light and guidance. And when I went to bed that night, I had a dream. It came to me this way. I don't know how it was, but it came. The Lord spoke to me and said: "Thou shalt not give the Philippines back to Spain. That would be cowardly and dishonorable! Neither shalt thou turn them over to France or Germany--that would be bad business and discreditable. Thou shalt not allo them to rule themselves. They are unfit for self-government and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain. Thou shalt take all of the Philippine Islands and thou shalt educate the Filipinos, uplift, civilize and Christianize them." That was the message of the Lord Almighty who spoke to me in that dream. Since then, I have been sleeping soundly.
Fade in another section of the stage. Oval Room, White House. McKinley at his
desk on the phone. Long distance call to Senator Davis in Paris. Another section of the stage . Davis at this desk in Paris on the phone.
Good evening, Mr. President.
You mean good afternoon, Senator.
Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. President. It's 8 p.m.
Oh, yes, I forgot. The time difference.
(laughs) Yes, two different times, two different worlds.
How are the discussions coming along?
Pretty well. The Spaniards need the money. They're pretty desperate. They're asking $30 million in exchange for Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Offer them $10 million. And if they haggle or refuse,
offer them $20 million and tell them to take it or leave it.
One other thing. There's this funny-looking chap by the name of Aguisillo or something, I can't pronounce his name right. He might be trouble. Just take care of him. He'll want to sit down with you guys at the bargaining table. Just keep him out of the picture.
Don't worry, Mr. President. I'll take care of it.
Good. Just wrap up the whole thing, pay them off and come home.
Okay, Senator. See you in the Big Boys' Club
(laughing) Yes sir. Drinks on you?
(laughing) Yup! Drinks on the White House.
(Both laughing as lights fade out.)
Paris. December 10, 1898. Both Spanish and American delegations are getting ready to sign the Treaty of Paris. Agoncillo holds Chandler's letter. Davis is about to enter with the other members of the American party.
Senator Davis, I'm Felipe Agoncillo representing the Philippines. I have a letter for you from Senator Chandler.
Oh yes. I'm happy to meet you, Mr. Aguisillo. President McKinley speaks highly of you.
Does he? I'm flattered. Sir, I have a letter from Senator Chandler. He asked me to hand deliver it to you. (Hands him
Oh yes, good ol' Chandler. (Reads letter). Mr Aguisillo, I understand your concerns. Mr Chandler expresses his sympathy for your plight. The best I can do is raise the matter up for discussion. There are other vital matters we have to discuss with the Spanish delegation. I'm sorry, I have to go. They're waiting for me.
One last request, Senator. Would you please allow me to participate in the discussions, or at least observe the talks?
I'll see what I can do. Goodbye for now.(Exits)
(Lights fade out on a disappointed Agoncillo.)
(Inside the Conference Room. Spanish and American delegations sit at a rectangular table.)
(addressing the Spanish commissioners) Well, gentlemen, I would now like to get your signatures in this treaty. Before I do, let me just briefly summarize the main points in the treaty we agreed on. Let it be resolved that Item 1: Spain cedes the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States. Item 2: The United States pays Spain the sum of $20.000,000 for improvements made in the Philippines. Item 3: Spain withdraws her sovereignty from Cuba, and the last, Item 4: The civil and political status of the inhabitants in the ceded territories will be determined by the Congress of the United States.
Davis passes the treaty to the Spanish delegation. He has a smile, almost a smirk in his face, like someone who just pulled the wool over someone's face. The Spaniards sign, shrugging their shoulders, as though resigned to a bad deal. After all members present sign, waiter comes in with champagne and everyone stands for a toast.
Gentlemen, a toast to the treaty of Paris.
Salud y pesetas!
All laugh and drink their champagne as lights fade out.
This scene can be conducted in one of three ways, or a combination of all three, since this is a long tirade, and a variety of approaches should be attempted. Agoncillo can either read his 'protest letter', standing in front of a podium,as though delivering it directly to the Spanish-American Commission or he can be seated at a desk writing, and as he writes, his voice on tape is heard on the speakers,or thirdly, like a memorized public speaking piece.
His excellencies, the Presidents and Delegates of the SpanishAmerican Commission. In my capacity as the official representative of President Emilio Aguinaldo and the Philippine Republic, I vehemently protest against the resolutions approved by the joint commission contrary to the Independence of the Philippines. These resolutions cannot be accepted as obligatory by my government since the commission has neither heard nor submitted its deliberations to the Filipino people who have an
unquestionable right to intervene in matters affecting their future. The signing of the treaty is a clear sign that the juridical, political, and independent personality of the Filipino people has been bypassed and I protest any attempts in any form to impose on us resolutions which have not been sanctioned by us. We, as an independent nation, are the only ones who can legally decide our future history.
Spain is absolutely devoid of any status and power to decide in any shape and form the cession of the Philippines to the United States because the Spanish armed forces have been completely routed by the Filipino armed forces, and the Spanish government has ceased to hold any dominion in the Philippines by deed and by right, since the only authority existing there now is constituted by the Filipinos, with the solemn sanction of their votes, the only legal fount of positive modern power.
Under such conditions, the Spanish commissioners in Paris had no right, within the principles of the law of nations, to give up or transfer possessions that they did not even own. Spain had lost
her her dominion and possession of the Philippine Islands in the revolution of 1896-1898. Since she was defeated, it was incumbent upon the Spanish government to recognize the corporate body of the Filipino people, and consequently, their rights to decide their own future.
In the case of the American commissioners, what right do they have to consider themselves arbitrators with regard to the future of the Philippines? They should have acted honorably and in good faith. If they did, which they did not, they should have recognized the politically independent status of the Philippine Republic. What is disappointing is the fact that the Americans gave General Aguinaldo and the other Filipino leaders the impression that they were allies in our struggle for our independence against Spain. For instance, Captain Wood, commander of the USS Petrel, right before the outbreak of the Spanish American War, requested the Filipinos' cooperation. Again, American Consuls Pratt in Singapore, Wildman in Hong Kong, and Williams in Cavite offered to recognize the independence of the Filipino nation as soon as triumph was
attained. On seven occasions, General Aguinaldo was assured by representatives of the American people of Philippine independence. First: The gunboat McCulloch was placed, by Dewey's order, at the disposal of Filipino leaders in exile, returning to the Philippines. Second: Admiral Dewey did not deny to General Aguinaldo and his companions the promises made by his colleagues when the Filipino leaders were presented to him aboard his flagship in Manila Bay. Third: Admiral Dewey received General Aguinaldo with the honors due to a commander-in-chief of an allied army and the head of an independent state. Fourth: He accepted the efficacious cooperation of the Filipino Army. Fifth: He recognized the Filipino flag, permitting it to be hoisted on sea and land, and consenting that Filipino ships should sail with the said flag within the places which were blockaded. Sixth: He received a solemn notification of the formal proclamation of Philippine independence, without protesting against it, nor opposing in any way its existence. Seventh: He entered into relations with Filipino generals and national officials of the new Filipino government, recognizing without question the corporated body
and autonomous sovereignty of the people after liberating themselves from the Spanish yoke by means of their own force.
Let me make one point perfectly clear. The Filipinos did not fight as paid troops or mercenaries of the United States. Upon their arrival from Hong Kong, the Filipino leaders received only a small number of arms which were delivered to them by order of Admiral Dewey. The arms, ammunition and provisions were not US handouts; they were sustained from the Spanih-Filipino war. Some were acquired by gallantry and others bought from the private funds of Filipino patriots. In other words, the Filipinos owed the Americans nothing.
It is true that Manila fell to the Americans, but without the Filipinos' cooperation and the previous siege by Aguinaldo's troops, would the Americans have been able to so easily gain possession of the Walled City? Admiral Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay, but he had no no disembarking forces, and under such conditions, the support he received from the Filipinos was a positive and undeniable
To summarize: If the Spaniards had not been able to transfer to the Americans the rights which they did not possess; if the occupation of Manila was a resultant fact, prepared by the Filipinos; if the international officials and representatives of the United States government offered to recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Philippines, solicited and accepted their alliance, how can the Americans now consider themselves as arbiters of the control, administration, and future government of the Philippine Islands?
One question boggles my mind: Was the solemn declaration made by President William McKinley that, on going to war, he was not guided by any intention of territorial expansion the truth? Was his statement that the war against Spain was waged in order to respect the principles of humanity the truth? Was his statement that he had the solemn duty of liberating an oppressed people the truth? And finally, did he speak the truth when he said that his desire was to proclaim the undeniable rights of
sovereignty of the countries released from the yoke of Spain?
I rest my case.
McKinley and Davis on the phone, as in Scene 8.
Mr. President, did you read the protest letter of Mr. Agoncillo?
Yup, I did. Pretty long-winded letter. What did the Spaniards
They got their money. They don't give a hoot.
As Shakespeare said, "What's done can't be undone". What it
boils down to is we paid the Spics to get out; they accepted. So now we're in. It's ours. We bought the Islands with hard-earned American
tax dollars. Besides, as I pointed out to my fellow Methodists, the Almighty spoke to me to take them all and educate the little monkeys so they could speak Christian, which means English.
Fade in NARRATOR.
Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Two months after
the Treaty of Paris, on February 4, 1899, the first shot of the Philippine-American War was fired. By an American, obviously. And we all know what happened. The superior forces of the Americans routed the battle-weary troops of Aguinaldo. On March 23, 1901 Brigadier General Frederick Funston of the Kansas Regiment captured Aguinaldo and his men in Palanan, Isabela. (Enactment on another part of the stage) With his capture, the United States put to a finish the three-year long Philippine-American War that Washington military experts had expected to last no more than two months. It was a
resounding American victory--but by treachery.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Philippine history. A history of Spanish and American treachery. The victims? Aguinaldo and company, which means us, the Filipinos. Small nations manipulated by big and rich nations. Big business behind it all. Big business--the multinationals. Charles Denby, member of the First Philippine Commission, said:
Spotlight on Denby somewhere in the auditorium.
(speaking with the authority of an oracle) Commerce, not politics, is king! The manufacturer and the merchant dictate to diplomacy and control the elections. I am in favor of holding the Philippines because I cannot conceive of any alternative to our doing so, except the seizure of territory in China. We are after markets, the greatest markets in the world.
Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Money, money, money. Ever since money was invented, it started talking and talking loud. The history of mankind. A history of
exploitation, deceit, greed, etcetera. And what we have seen is a microcosm of man's history as it applied to the history of the Philippine Revolution and its president, Emilio Aguinaldo. In his last proclamation on April 19th, a month after his capture, Aguinaldo addressed the Filipino people.
(low-keyed, reading) I believe that I am not in error in presuming that the unhappy fate to which my adverse fortune has led me is not a surprise to those who have been familiar day by day with the progress of the war. The lessons thus taught, the full meaning of which has recently come to my knowledge, suggested to me with irresistible force that the complete termination of hostilities and a lasting peace are not only desirable but absolutely essential to the welfare of the Philippines.
The Filipinos have never been dismayed by their weakness, nor have they faltered in following the path pointed out by their fortitude and courage. The time has come, however, in which they find their advance along the path impeded by an irresistible
force that the complete termination of hostilities and a lasting peace are not only desirable but absolutely essential to the welfare of the Philippines.
The Filipinos have never been dismayed by their weakness, nor have they faltered in following the path pointed out by their fortitude and courage. The time, has come, however, in which they find their advance along the path impeded by an irresistible force--a force which, while it restrains them, yet enlightens the mind and opens another course by presenting to them the cause of peace. This cause has been joyfully embraced around the glorious and sovereign banner of the United States. In this manner they repose their trust in the belief that under its protection our people will attain all the promised liberties which they are even now beginning to enjoy.
The country has declared unmistakably in favor of peace; so be it. Enough of blood; enough of tears and desolation. This wish cannot be ignored by the men still in arms if they are animated by no other desire than to serve this noble people which has
clearly manifested its will.
So also do I respect this will now that it is known to me, and after mature deliberation resolutely proclaim to the world that I cannot refuse to heed the voice of a people longing for peace, nor the lamentations of thousands of families yearning to see their dear ones in the enjoyment of the liberty promised by the generosity of the great American nation.
By acknowledging and accepting the sovereignty of the United States throughout the entire Archipelago, as I now do without any reservations whatsoever, I believe that I am serving you, my beloved country. May happiness be yours.
Gregorian music fades in. Fade out lights to BLACKOUT.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.