Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Andres Bonifacio at Balintawak, August 26, 1896

Andres Bonifacio
Draft notice of appointment, August 26, 1896

Source: Photograph of original document, in Carlos Ronquillo, Ilang talata tungkol sa paghihimagsik nang 1896-1897, [1898] edited by Isagani R. Medina, (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1996), p.32.


Transcribed below is a document, apparently in Bonifacio’s own handwriting, written with a view to appointing Mariano Alvarez as the overall chief, both civil and military, of all the revolutionary forces in the province of Cavite.

According to Medina’s caption, the document is from the “Borador ng Pulong ng Kataastaasang Sangunian”, or rough copy book of the Katipunan Supreme Council. Since a proper borador was understandably not to hand in Balintawak at this tumultuous moment, the Supreme Council’s communications were inscribed in some kind of farm ledger, used under normal circumstances to record yields or sales. The text is therefore written across printed columns that are headed “Maiz”, “Mani”, “Camote” and so on, and as the question marks – [?] - indicate, it is difficult in places to decipher. So far as is known, Medina is the only historian ever to have reproduced a page from this book, and it would hugely interesting to know where the book is now held and what else it contains.

Obviously, the document is a draft, and it is unsigned. We cannot be sure that a final version was ever produced and dispatched to Alvarez. Even so, the few hasty lines of the document are historically important because they confirm:-

· That the decision to initiate the revolution was taken formally by a meeting of the Kataastaasang Kapisanan (Supreme Assembly) of the Katipunan held on August 24, 1896. This supports the conclusion reached by Milagros C. Guerrero in her 1996 article "Balintawak: the cry for a nationwide revolution" that the anniversary of the revolution should properly be celebrated on August 24th rather than on the 23rd or the 26th.

· That the Sangunian Bayan (Sb.) Magdalo, of which Emilio Aguinaldo was a leading member, was initially not in accord with the decision to revolt (di pag ayon sa pinagkaisahang pag galaw) and had registered its opposition in writing. This corroborates the recollections of Generals Artemio Ricarte and Santiago Alvarez; the reason for Magdalo’s opposition, says Ricarte, was simply the “absolute lack of arms” with which to fight.


Ayon sa pinagkaisahan na ginanap [?] pulong ng Kataastaasang Kapisanan [?] ikadalawang puo’t apat nitong umiiral na buan tungkol sa paghihimagsik (revolucion) at sa pagkakailangang [?] maghalal ng magsisipamahala ng bayan at mag aakay ng hukbo, itong Kataastaasang Sangunian sa paganap ng kanyang tungkol Sa pagkat ang kapatid na si G [?] sa kanyang pagka Pangulo ng Sb. Magdiwang ay nagpakilala ng lubos at tapat na pangangasiwa sa Katipunan, at sa pagka tangap nitong to, sa kasulatang pahatid ng Sb. Magdalo na di pag ayon sa pinagkaisahang pag galaw, itong Kataastaasang Sangunian ay minararapat na inihalal na Pangulong kikilalanin sa buong hukuman ng Tangway ang nasabing Kap. Na si G. Mariano Alvarez (Mainam).

Sa bagay na ito aking iginawad [?] itong Patunayan na tinalaan ko ng tunay na pangalan at pamagat sa Katipunan, at tuloy sinaksihan.

Kalookan, Maynila ika 26 ng Agosto ng taong 1896

No comments: