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Simple. Bonifacio is not educated, compared to Rizal.

It's highly probable that he can't

even write his name. Have he been the Philippine national hero, would you think school
children would proudly look up to him as a good example? I'm not undermining
Bonifacio's efforts in fighting and defending the country but then, his resume is not

Yes, that's true. However, in defense of rizal, he was indeed an exceptional filipino.
While the americans did make the choice, he was nevertheless very much worthy of
being chosen.

A brilliant doctor, propagandist, novelist, painter and fencer. He speaks five languages
including filipino, english, french, german, and japanese. He is well-educated and a true
gentleman. He is a true patriot, for while he did not advocate rebellion, he did aspire for
equality and the betterment of his country. He endured a lot, including exile,
excommunication, the degredation of his famly and imprisonment for his ideals. He
exemplifies the power of the pen and how through non-violent ways, one can change

He is no less of a choice compared to Bonifacio, Aguinaldo or any other Philippine hero.


Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro (November 30, 1863 – May 10, 1897) was a Filipino
nationalist and revolutionary. He was a founder and leader of the Katipunan movement
which sought the independence of the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule and started
the Philippine Revolution.[1][2] He is considered a de facto national hero of the Philippines.
Bonifacio is also considered by some Filipino historians to be the first president of the
Philippines, but he is not officially recognized as such.[4][5]

Bonifacio was born to Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro[6] in Tondo, Manila and
was the eldest of six children.[7] His father was a tailor who served as a teniente mayor
(municipal official) of Tondo while his mother (a mestiza of Spanish descent) worked in
a cigarette factory.[8] He was orphaned in his late teens - his mother died of tuberculosis
in 1881 and his father followed a year after.[9] Bonifacio was forced to drop out of school
and work to support his family.[10] He worked as a mandatorio (clerk/messenger) for the
English trading firm Fleming and Company, where he rose to become a corredor (agent)
of tar and other goods. He later transferred to Fressell and Company, a German trading
firm, where he worked as a bodeguero (warehouseman/agent). He also set up a family
business of selling canes and paper fans.[8][10][11] Bonifacio was married twice. His first
wife was a certain Monica who died of leprosy. His second wife was Gregoria de Jesús of
Caloocan, whom he married in 1893. They had one son who died in infancy.[1][10][11]

Despite not finishing formal education, Bonifacio was self-educated. He read books
about the French Revolution, biographies of the Presidents of the United States, the
colonial penal and civil codes, and novels such as Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, Eugène
Sue's Le Juif errant and José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.[8][10]
Bonifacio was a Freemason and a member of the Gran Oriente Español (Spanish Grand
Lodge). In 1892 he joined Rizal's La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League), an
organization which called for political reforms in the Spanish government of the
Philippines. However, La Liga Filipina disbanded after one meeting as Rizal was arrested
and deported to the town of Dapitan in Mindanao.[12] Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini and
others revived La Liga Filipina in Rizal's absence. Bonifacio was active at organizing
local chapters in Manila.[12] La Liga Filipina contributed moral and financial support to
Filipino reformists in Spain.[13]

[edit] Katipunan
Main article: Katipunan

On July 7, 1892, the day after Rizal's deportation was announced, Bonifacio and others
founded the Katipunan, or in full, Kataastaasan(g) Kagalanggalang na[14] Katipunan ng
mga Anak ng Bayan ("Highest and Most Respected Society of the Sons[15] of the
Country[16]").[17] The secret society sought independence from Spain through armed revolt.
It was influenced by Freemasonry through its rituals and organization, and several
members aside from Bonifacio were also Freemasons.[12] Within the society Bonifacio
used the pseudonym May pag-asa ("There is Hope").[1]

For a time, Bonifacio worked with both the Katipunan and La Liga Filipina. But La Liga
Filipina eventually split because less affluent members like Bonifacio lost hope for
peaceful reforms, and stopped their monetary aid.[12] Wealthier, more conservative
members who still believed in peaceful reforms set up the Cuerpo de Compromisarios,
which pledged continued support to the reformists in Spain. The radicals were subsumed
into the Katipunan.[13] From Manila, the Katipunan expanded into several provinces,
including Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija.[19] Most of its
members, called Katipuneros, came from the lower and middle classes, with many of its
local leaders being prominent figures in their municipalities.[20] At first exclusively male,
membership was later extended to females, with Bonifacio's wife Gregoria de Jesús as a
leading member.[21]

From the beginning, Bonifacio was one of the chief Katipunan officers, though he did not
become its Supremo (supreme leader) or Presidente Supremo (Supreme President)[22]
until 1895. Bonifacio was the third head of the Katipunan after Deodato Arellano and
Román Basa. Prior to this, he served as the society's comptroller and then its fiscal.[23][24]
The society had its own laws, bureaucratic structure and elective leadership. For each
province it involved, the Katipunan Supreme Council coordinated provincial councils in
charge of public administration and military affairs and local councils in charge of affairs
on the district or barrio level. Bonifacio was a member and eventually head of the
Katipunan Supreme Council.[5][25]

Within the society, Bonifacio developed a strong friendship with Emilio Jacinto who
served as his adviser and confidant, as well as a member of the Supreme Council.
Bonifacio adopted Jacinto's Kartilla primer as the official teachings of the society in
place of his own Decalogue which he judged as inferior. Bonifacio, Jacinto and Pio
Valenzuela collaborated on the society's organ Kalayaan (Freedom), which had only one
printed issue. Bonifacio wrote several pieces for the paper, including the poem Pag-ibig
sa Tinubuang Lupà (roughly, "Love for the homeland[26]) under the pseudonym Agapito
Bagumbayan. The publication of Kalayaan in March 1896 led to a great increase in
membership. The Katipunan spread throughout Luzon, to Panay in the Visayas and even
as far as Mindanao.[27] From less than 300 members in January 1896,[19] it had about
30,000 to 400,000 by August.[27]

The rapid increase of Katipunan activity drew the suspicion of the Spanish authorities.
By early 1896, Spanish intelligence was aware of the existence of a seditious secret
society. Suspects were kept under surveillance and arrests were made. On May 3,
Bonifacio held a general assembly of Katipunan leaders in Pasig where they debated
when to start their revolt. While Bonifacio wanted to revolt as soon as possible, Emilio
Aguinaldo of Cavite expressed reservations due to their lack of firearms. The consensus
was to consult José Rizal in Dapitan before launching their revolt. Bonifacio sent Pio
Valenzuela to Rizal, who was against a premature revolution and recommended prior

[edit] Philippine Revolution

The Spanish authorities confirmed the existence of the Katipunan on August 19, 1896.
Hundreds of Filipino suspects, both innocent and guilty, were arrested and imprisoned for
treason.[29] José Rizal was then on his way to Cuba to serve as a doctor in the Spanish
colonial army, in exchange for his release from Dapitan.[30][31] When the news broke,
Bonifacio first tried to convince Rizal, quarantined aboard a ship in Manila Bay, to
escape and join the imminent revolt. Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto and Guillermo Masangkay
disguised themselves as sailors and went to the pier where Rizal's ship was anchored.
Jacinto personally met with Rizal, who rejected their rescue offer.[32] Rizal himself was
later arrested, tried and executed.[30]

Eluding an intensive manhunt, Bonifacio called thousands of Katipunan members to a

mass gathering in Caloocan, where they decided to start their revolt. The event, marked
by the tearing of cedulas (community tax certificates) was later called the "Cry of
Balintawak" or "Cry of Pugad Lawin"; the exact location and date of the Cry are
disputed.[33][34] The Supreme Council of the Katipunan declared a nationwide armed
revolution against Spain and called for a simultaneous coordinated attack on the capital
Manila on August 29. Bonifacio appointed generals to lead rebel forces to Manila. Other
Katipunan councils were also informed of their plans. Before hostilities erupted,
Bonifacio reorganized the Katipunan into an open de facto revolutionary government,
with him as President and commander-in-chief of the rebel army and the Supreme
Council as his cabinet.[4][5][23] On August 28, Bonifacio issued the following general

This manifesto is for all of you. It is absolutely necessary for us to stop at the earliest
possible time the nameless oppositions being perpetrated on the sons of the country who
are now suffering the brutal punishment and tortures in jails, and because of this please
let all the brethren know that on Saturday, the 29th of the current month, the revolution
shall commence according to our agreement. For this purpose, it is necessary for all
towns to rise simultaneously and attack Manila at the same time. Anybody who obstructs
this sacred ideal of the people will be considered a traitor and an enemy, except if he is
ill; or is not physically fit, in which case he shall be tried according to the regulations we
have put in force. Mount of Liberty, 28th August 1896 - ANDRES BONIFACIO[1][35]

On August 30, 1896, Bonifacio personally led an attack on San Juan del Monte to capture
the town's powder magazine and water station (which supplied Manila). The defending
Spaniards, outnumbered, fought a delaying battle until reinforcements arrived. Once
reinforced, the Spaniards drove Bonifacio's forces back with heavy casualties. Elsewhere,
fighting between rebels and Spanish forces occurred in Mandaluyong, Sampaloc, Santa
Ana, Pandacan, Pateros, Marikina, Caloocan,[36] Makati and Taguig[37]. The conventional
view among Filipino historians is that the planned general Katipunan offensive on Manila
was aborted in favor of Bonifacio's attack on San Juan del Monte,[37][38] which sparked a
general state of rebellion in the area.[39] However, more recent studies have advanced the
view that the planned offensive did push through and the rebel attacks were integrated;
according to this view, Bonifacio's San Juan del Monte battle was only a part of a bigger
whole - an unrecognized "battle for Manila".[36][40] After Bonifacio's defeat in San Juan del
Monte, he and his troops regrouped near Marikina, San Mateo and Montalban, where
they proceeded to attack these areas. They captured these areas but were driven back by
Spanish counterattacks, and Bonifacio eventually ordered a retreat to Balara. On the way,
Bonifacio was nearly killed shielding Emilio Jacinto from a Spanish bullet which grazed
his collar.[37] Despite his reverses, Bonifacio was not completely defeated and was still
considered a threat. Further, the revolt had spread to the surrounding provinces by the end
of August.[36][40]

By December 1896, the Spanish authorities recognized three major centers of rebellion:
Cavite (under Emilio Aguinaldo and others), Bulacan (under Mariano Llanera) and
Morong (under Bonifacio). The revolt was most successful in Cavite,[41]. which mostly
fell under rebel control by September-October 1896.[42] Apolinario Mabini, who later
joined the rebels and served as Aguinaldo's adviser, wrote that the government troops in
Cavite were limited to small, scattered constabulary detachments and thus the rebels were
able to take virtually the entire province.[43] The Spanish government had transferred
much of its troops from Cavite (and other provinces) to Manila in anticipation of
Bonifacio's attack. The Cavite rebels won prestige in defeating Spanish troops in set piece
battles, using tactics like trench warfare. While Cavite is traditionally regarded as the
"heartland of the Philippine Revolution", Manila and its surrounding municipalities bore
the brunt of the Spanish military campaign, becoming a no man's land. Rebels based in
Morong were engaged in hit-and-run guerrilla warfare against Spanish positions in
Manila, Morong, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.[42] From Morong Bonifacio served as
tactician for rebel guerrillas and issued commands to areas other than his personal sector,
though his prestige suffered when he lost battles he personally led.[44]
There were two Katipunan provincial chapters in Cavite that became rival factions: the
Magdalo, headed by Emilio Aguinaldo's cousin Baldomero Aguinaldo, and the
Magdiwang, headed by Mariano Álvarez, uncle of Bonifacio's wife. Leaders of both
factions came from the upper class, in contrast to Bonifacio, who came from the lower
middle class. After initial successes, Emilio Aguinaldo issued a manifesto in the name of
the Magdalo ruling council which proclaimed a provisional and revolutionary
government - despite the existence of the Katipunan government. Emilio Aguinaldo in
particular had won fame for victories in the province.[45] The Magdalo and Magdiwang
clashed over authority and jurisdiction and did not help each other in battle. Bonifacio
was called to Cavite to mediate between them and unify their efforts. In late 1896 he
travelled to Cavite accompanied by his wife, his brothers Procopio and Ciriaco, and some

In Cavite, friction grew between Bonifacio and the Magdalo leaders. Apolinario Mabini,
who later served as Emilio Aguinaldo's adviser, writes that at this point the Magdalo
leaders "already paid little heed to his authority and orders."[43] Bonifacio was partial to
the Magdiwang, perhaps due to his kinship ties with Mariano Álvarez,[46] or more
importantly, due to their stronger recognition of his authority.[47] When Aguinaldo and
Edilberto Evangelista went to receive Bonifacio at Zapote, they were irritated with what
they regarded as his attitude of superiority. In his memoirs Aguinaldo wrote that
Bonifacio acted "as if he were a king".[48][49] Another time, Bonifacio ordered the arrest of
one Magdalo leader for failing to support his attack in Manila, but the other Magdalo
leaders refused to surrender him. Townspeople in Noveleta (a Magdiwang town)
acclaimed Bonifacio as the ruler of the Philippines, to the chagrin of the Magdalo leaders
(Bonifacio replied: "long live Philippine Liberty!").[49] Aguinaldo disputed with Bonifacio
over strategic troop placements and blamed him for the capture of the town of Silang.[48]
The Spanish, through Jesuit Superior Pio Pi, wrote to Aguinaldo about the possibility of
peace negotiations.[48] When Bonifacio found out, he and the Magdiwang council rejected
the proposed peace talks. Bonifacio was also angered that the Spanish considered
Aguinaldo the "chief of the rebellion" instead of him.[48] However, Aguinaldo continued
to arrange negotiations which never took place.[50] Bonifacio believed Aguinaldo was
willing to surrender the revolution.[50]

Bonifacio was also subject to rumors that he had stolen Katipunan funds, his sister was
the mistress of a priest, and he was an agent provocateur paid by friars to foment unrest.
Also circulated were anonymous letters which told the people of Cavite not to idolize
Bonifacio because he was a Mason, a mere Manila employee, allegedly an atheist, and
uneducated. According to these letters, Bonifacio did not deserve the title of Supremo
since only God was supreme. This last allegation was made despite the fact that Supremo
was meant to be used in conjunction with Presidente, i.e. Presidente Supremo (Supreme
President) to distinguish the president of the Katipunan Supreme Council from council
presidents of subordinate Katipunan chapters like the Magdalo and Magdiwang.[47]
Bonifacio suspected the rumor-mongering to be the work of the Magdalo leader Daniel
Tirona. He confronted Tirona, whose airy reply provoked Bonifacio to such anger that he
drew a gun and would have shot Tirona if others had not intervened.[51][52]
On December 31, Bonifacio and the Magdalo and Magdiwang leaders held a meeting in
Imus, ostensibly to determine the leadership of Cavite in order to end the rivalry between
the two factions. The issue of whether the Katipunan should be replaced by a
revolutionary government was brought up by the Magdalo, and this eclipsed the rivalry
issue. The Magdalo argued that the Katipunan, as a secret society, should have ceased to
exist once the Revolution was underway. They also held that Cavite should not be
divided. Bonifacio and the Magdiwang contended that the Katipunan served as their
revolutionary government since it had its own constitution, laws, and provincial and
municipal governments. Edilberto Evangelista presented a draft constitution for the
proposed government to Bonifacio but this had earlier been rejected as too similar to the
Spanish Maura Law. Upon the event of restructuring, Bonifacio was given carte blanche
to appoint a committee tasked with setting up a new government; he would also be in
charge of this committee. He requested for the minutes of the meeting to establish this
authority, but these were never provided.[53][54]

The rebel leaders held another meeting in a friar estate house in Tejeros on March 22,
1897 on the pretense of more discussion between the Magdalo and Magdiwang, but
really to settle the issue of leadership of the revolution.[55] Amidst insinuations that the
Katipunan government was monarchical or dictatorial, Bonifacio maintained it was
republican. According to him, all its members of whatever rank followed the principles of
liberty, equality and fraternity, upon which republicanism is founded.[22] He presided over
the elections that followed, despite his misgivings over the lack of representation by other
provinces.[56] Before elections started, he asked that the results be respected by everyone,
and all agreed. The Cavite leaders voted their own Emilio Aguinaldo President in
absentia, as he was in the battlefield.[55][57][58] A later iteration of Aguinaldo's government
was inaugurated on June 23, 1899 as the Republica Filipina (Philippine Republic).[59] It is
considered the first Republic of the Philippines, the present-day government of the
Philippines being the fifth.

Bonifacio received the second-highest number of votes for President. Though it was
suggested that he be automatically be awarded the Vice Presidency, no one seconded the
motion and elections continued. Mariano Trías of the Magdalo (originally Magdiwang)
was elected Vice President. Bonifacio was the last to be elected, as Director of the
Interior. Daniel Tirona, who had helped distribute the ballots, protested Bonifacio's
election to Director of the Interior on the grounds that the position should not be occupied
by a person without a lawyer's diploma. Tirona suggested a prominent Cavite lawyer for
the position. Hurt and angered, Bonifacio demanded an apology, since the voters had
agreed to respect the election results. Instead, Tirona left the room. Bonifacio drew his
gun and nearly shot Tirona again, but he was restrained by Artemio Ricarte of the
Magdiwang, who had been elected Captain-General.[60] As people left the room,
Bonifacio declared: "I, as chairman of this assembly and as President of the Supreme
Council of the Katipunan, as all of you do not deny, declare this assembly dissolved, and
I annul all that has been approved and resolved."[60][61]

The next day, Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President. Meanwhile Bonifacio met
with his remaining supporters and drew up the Acta de Tejeros (Act of Tejeros) wherein
they gave their reasons for not accepting the election results. Bonifacio alleged the
election was fraudulent due to cheating and accused Aguinaldo of treason due to his
negotiations with the Spanish.[62] In their memoirs Santiago Álvarez (son of Mariano) and
Gregoria de Jesús both alleged that many ballots were already filled out before being
distributed, and Guillermo Masangkay contended there were more ballots prepared than
voters present. Álvarez writes that Bonifacio had been warned of the rigged ballots before
the votes were canvassed, but he had done nothing.[22][63]

Aguinaldo later sent a delegation to Bonifacio to get him to cooperate, but the latter
refused.[64] Bonifacio appointed Emilio Jacinto general of the rebel forces in Manila,
Morong, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.[65] In Naik, Bonifacio met with Artemio Ricarte and
others, including Generals Pio del Pilar and Mariano Noriel of the Magdalo who had
gone over to his side.[48] Bonifacio asserted his leadership of the revolution with the Naik
Military Agreement, a document which appointed Pio del Pilar commander-in-chief of
the revolutionary forces.[65] Bonifacio's meeting was interrupted by Aguinaldo himself,
and del Pilar and Noriel promptly returned to Aguinaldo's fold.[48] In late April Aguinaldo
fully assumed presidential office after consolidating his position among the Cavite elite -
most of Bonifacio's Magdiwang supporters declaring allegiance to Aguinaldo.[66]
Aguinaldo's government then ordered the arrest of Bonifacio, who was then moving out
of Cavite.[64][65]

A party of Aguinaldo's men led by Agapito Bonzon and José Ignacio Paua met with
Bonifacio at his camp in Indang. Unaware of the order for his arrest, Bonifacio received
them cordially. The next day, Bonzon and Paua attacked Bonifacio's camp. Bonifacio did
not fight back himself and ordered his men to hold their fire, though shots were
nevertheless exchanged. In the crossfire Bonifacio was shot in the arm. Paua stabbed him
in the neck and was prevented from striking further by one of Bonifacio's men, who
offered to be killed instead. One of his brothers Ciriaco was shot dead, his other brother
Procopio was beaten senseless, and his wife Gregoria may have been raped by Bonzon.[67]

Bonifacio's party was brought to Naik, where he and his surviving brother stood trial,
accused of sedition and treason against Aguinaldo's government and conspiring to murder
Aguinaldo.[66][68] The jury was entirely composed of Aguinaldo's men; Bonifacio's defense
lawyer himself declared Bonifacio's guilt; and Bonifacio was not allowed to confront the
state witness for the charge of conspiracy to murder on the grounds that the latter had
been killed in battle, but after the trial the witness was seen alive with the prosecutors.[69]

Bonifacio and his brother were found guilty despite insufficient evidence to prove their
alleged guilt and recommended to be executed. Aguinaldo commuted the sentence to
deportation on May 8, 1897, but Pio del Pilar and Mariano Noriel, both former supporters
of Bonifacio, upon learning of this, persuaded him to withdraw the order for the sake of
preserving unity. They were supported by other leaders. The Bonifacio brothers were
executed on May 10, 1897 in the mountains of Maragondon.[71][72] Apolinario Mabini
wrote that Bonifacio's death demoralized many rebels from Manila, Laguna and Batangas
who had come to help those in Cavite, and caused them to quit.[43] In other areas, some of
Bonifacio's associates like Emilio Jacinto, Julio Nakpil and Macario Sakay never
subjected their military commands to Aguinaldo's authority.

[edit] Historical controversies

The historical assessment of Bonifacio involves several controversial points. His death is
alternately viewed as a justified execution for treason and a "legal murder" fueled by
politics. Some historians consider him the rightful first Philippine President instead of
Aguinaldo. Historians have also called that Bonifacio share or even take the place of José
Rizal as the (foremost) Philippine national hero. The purported discovery of Bonifacio's
remains has also been questioned.

[edit] Bonifacio's trial and execution

Bonifacio's actions after the Tejeros Convention have been called counter-revolutionary,
the charge of treason justified, and his elimination even necessary to ensure unity of the
Filipino revolutionaries.[73][74] Teodoro Agoncillo writes that Bonifacio's declaration of
authority in opposition to Aguinaldo posed a danger to the revolution, because a split in
the rebel forces would result in almost certain defeat to their united and well-armed
Spanish foe.[72] In contrast Renato Constantino writes that Bonifacio was neither a danger
to the revolution in general for he still planned to fight the Spanish, nor to the revolution
in Cavite since he was leaving; but Bonifacio was definitely a threat to the Cavite leaders
who wanted control of the Revolution, so he was eliminated. Constantino contrasts
Bonifacio who had no record of compromise with the Spanish with the Cavite leaders
who did compromise, resulting in the Pact of Biak-na-Bato whereas the revolution was
officially halted and its leaders exiled, though many Filipinos continued to fight (though
Aguinaldo, unofficially allied with the United States, did return to take charge of the
revolution during the Spanish-American War).[75]

Historians have also discussed the motives of the Cavite government to replace
Bonifacio, and whether it had the right to do so. The Magdalo provincial council which
helped establish a republican government led by one of their own was only one of many
such councils in the pre-existing Katipunan government.[76][77] Therefore, Constantino and
Alejo Villanueva write they may be considered guilty of violating Bonifacio's constituted
authority just as they considered Bonifacio to violate theirs.[76][78] Aguinaldo's own adviser
and official Apolinario Mabini writes that he was "primarily answerable for
insubordination against the head of the Katipunan of which he was a member".[43]
Aguinaldo's authority was not immediately recognized by all rebels. If Bonifacio had
escaped Cavite, he would have had the right as the Katipunan leader to prosecute
Aguinaldo for treason instead of the other way around.[79] Constantino and Villanueva
also interpret the Tejeros Convention as the culmination of a movement by members of
the upper class represented by Aguinaldo to wrest power from Bonifacio who represented
the middle and lower classes. [78][80] Regionalism among the Cavite rebels, dubbed
"Cavitismo" by Constantino, has also been put forward as motivation for the replacement
of Bonifacio.[81][82][83] Mabini writes: "All the electors [at the Tejeros Convention] were
friends of Don Emilio Aguinaldo and Don Mariano Trías, who were united, while
Bonifacio, although he had established his integrity, was looked upon with distrust only
because he was not a native of the province: this explains his resentment."[43]

There are differing accounts of Bonifacio's manner of execution. The commanding

officer of the execution party, Lazaro Macapagal, said in two separate accounts that the
Bonifacio brothers were shot to death, which is the orthodox interpretation. Macapagal's
second account has Bonifacio attempting to escape after his brother is shot, but he is also
killed while running away. Macapagal writes that they buried the brothers in shallow
graves dug with bayonets and marked by twigs.[11]

However, another account states that after his brother was shot, Bonifacio was stabbed
and hacked to death. This was allegedly done while he lay prone in a hammock in which
he was carried to the site, being too weak to walk.[47] This version was maintained by
Guillermo Masangkay, who claimed to have gotten this information from one of
Macapagal's men.[11] Also, one account used to corroborate this version is of an alleged
eyewitness, a farmer who claimed he saw five men hacking a man in a hammock.[47]
Historian Milagros Guerrero also says Bonifacio was bayoneted, and that the brothers
were left unburied.[84] After bones said to be Bonifacio's - including a fractured skull -
were discovered in 1918, Masangkay claimed the forensic evidence supported his version
of events.[11] Writer Adrian Cristobal notes that accounts of Bonifacio's captivity and trial
state he was very weak due to his wounds being left untreated; he thus doubts that
Bonifacio was strong enough to make a last dash for freedom as Macapagal claimed.[47]
Historian Ambeth Ocampo, who doubts the Bonifacio bones were authentic, thus also
doubts the possibility of Bonifacio's death by this manner.[11]

[edit] Bonifacio as first Philippine President

see also: List of Unofficial Presidents of the Philippines

"Presidente" Bonifacio in La Ilustración Española y Americana, February 8, 1897

Some historians such as Milagros Guerrero, Emmanuel Encarnacion, and Ramon
Villegas have pushed for the recognition of Bonifacio as the first president of the
Philippines instead of Aguinaldo, the officially recognized one. This view is based on his
position of president/Supremo of the Katipunan revolutionary government from 1896-97.
This view also emphasizes that Bonifacio established a government through the
Katipunan before a government headed by Aguinaldo was formed at the Tejeros
Convention. Guerrero writes that Bonifacio had a concept of the Philippine nation called
Haring Bayang Katagalugan ("Sovereign Tagalog Nation") which was displaced by
Aguinaldo's concept of Filipinas. In documents predating Tejeros and the First Philippine
Republic, Bonifacio is called the president of the "Tagalog Republic".[4][5][47][85]

The term Tagalog historically refers to an ethnic group, their language, and script. While
historians have thus tended to view Bonifacio's concept of the Philippine nation as
restricted to the Tagalog regions of Luzon, as compared to Aguinaldo's view of Luzon,
Visayas and Mindanao (comprising the modern Philippines), Guerrero writes that
Bonifacio and the Katipunan in fact already had an all-encompassing view. The Kartilla
defines "tagalog" as "all those born in this archipelago; therefore, though visayan,
ilocano, pampango, etc. they are all tagalogs".[5]

In their memoirs, Emilio Aguinaldo and other Magdalo people claim Bonifacio became
the head of the Magdiwang, receiving the title Hari ng Bayan (“King of the People”) with
Mariano Álvarez as his second-in-command.[48][86] However, these claims are unsupported
by documentary evidence.[87] Carlos Quirino suggests these claims stem from a
misunderstanding or misrepresentation of Bonifacio’s title Pangulo ng Haring Bayan
(“President of the Sovereign Nation”).[87] Santiago Álvarez (son of Mariano) distinguishes
between the Magdiwang government and the Katipunan Supreme Council headed by

[edit] Bonifacio as national hero

Andres Bonifacio, along with Jose Rizal, is one of only two implied national heroes of
the Philippines. Currently, no Filipino has ever been officially and explicitly recognized
as a Philippine national hero by law. However, both Bonifacio and Rizal are given the
implied recognition of being national heroes because they both have national holidays in
their honor: Bonifacio Day on November 30, and Rizal Day on December 30.[88]
According to the National Center for Culture and the Arts:

Despite the lack of any official declaration explicitly proclaiming them as national
heroes, [Rizal and Bonifacio] remain admired and revered for their roles in Philippine
history. Heroes, according to historians, should not be legislated. Their appreciation
should be better left to academics. Acclamation for heroes, they felt, would be
recognition enough.[88]

Rizal is supposed to be generally considered the greatest Filipino hero, perhaps because
of his having been promoted as such during the American colonial period. Bonifacio has
been suggested as a more worthy national hero.[67].Historians are divided as to who is the
bigger national hero. Teodoro Agoncillo opines that the Philippine national hero, unlike
those of other countries, is not "the leader of its liberation forces".[89] He gives the opinion
that Bonifacio should not replace Rizal as national hero but be honored alongside him.[89]
Renato Constantino writes Rizal is a "United States-sponsored hero" who was promoted
as the greatest Filipino hero during the American colonial period of the Philippines - after
Aguinaldo lost the Philippine-American War. The United States promoted Rizal, who
represented peaceful political advocacy (in fact, repudiation of violent means in general)
instead of more radical figures whose ideas could inspire resistance against American
rule.[90] Rizal was selected over Bonifacio who was viewed "too radical" and Apolinario
Mabini who was considered "unregenerate."[91] Ambeth Ocampo gives the opinion that
arguing for Bonifacio as the better hero on the grounds that he began the Philippine
Revolution is moot since Rizal inspired the Philippine Revolution.[67] Milagros Guerrero
reveres Bonifacio for founding and organizing the Katipunan, "the first anticolonial
revolution in Asia" and "the first Filipino national government.[92]

[edit] Bonifacio's bones

In 1918, the American-sponsored government of the Philippines mounted a search for

Bonifacio's remains in Maragondon. A group consisting of government officials, former
rebels, and a man reputed to be Bonifacio's servant found bones which they claimed were
Bonifacio's in a sugarcane field on March 17. The bones were placed in an urn and put
into the care of the National Library of the Philippines. They were housed in the
Legislative Building in Ermita, Manila, together with some of Bonifacio’s papers and
personal belongings. The authenticity of the bones was much disputed at the time and has
been challenged as late as 2001 by Ambeth Ocampo. When Emilio Aguinaldo ran for
President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935, his opponent Manuel Quezón
(the eventual victor) invoked the memory of Bonifacio against him, the bones being the
result of Bonifacio's execution at Aguinaldo's hands. During World War II, the
Philippines was invaded by Japan in 1941. The bones were lost due to the widespread
destruction and looting wrought by the Allied capture of Manila in February 1945.[11][93][94]

[edit] In popular culture

Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City.

Bonifacio's birthday on November 30 is celebrated as Bonifacio Day and is a public

holiday in the Philippines. There are many monuments to Bonifacio in the country, the
most famous being two sculptures, one made by Ramon Martinez sometime after 1905
and the other made by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino in 1933. The former
previously resided at Balintawak and is currently at the Diliman campus of the University
of the Philippines while the latter is at Caloocan. In current Philippine currency,
Bonifacio is depicted in the 10 peso note and 10 peso coin, along with fellow patriot
Apolinario Mabini.

In Filipino cinema, Bonifacio has been portrayed by Eduardo del Mar (Andres Bonifacio
(Ang Supremo), 1964),[95] Julio Díaz (Bayani, 1992),[96] Ronnie Lazaro (Damong Ligaw,
1997),[97] and Gardo Verzosa (José Rizal, 1998).[98] In 1995 Julio Diaz played Bonifacio
again in an educational television series for ABS-CBN, also called Bayani.

Bonifacio is referenced in the 1945 World War II film Back to Bataan, starring John
Wayne and Anthony Quinn. The latter plays Bonifacio's fictional grandson and
namesake, a Captain of the Philippine Scouts.[99][100] The film erroneously states that the
elder Bonifacio led the Katipunan against the Americans in the Philippine-American

Meanwhile, acclaimed filmmaker Pepe Diokno has stated in interviews his plans for a
Bonifacio biopic, although no release date has been specified.

Andrés Bonifacio was born in Manila in 1863, the son of a government official. When
both his parents died in the 1870's, he left school to support his five brothers and sisters.
By the mid-1880s, he had become a fervent Filipino nationalist; when José Rizal
established the Liga Filipina in 1892, Bonifacio was one of its first members.

After the Spanish arrested Rizal in July 1892, Bonifacio decided that the Philippines
would only achieve independence through revolution. On July 7, he founded the
Katipunan, a secret society open to both peasants and the middle class that employed
Masonic rituals to impart an air of sacred mystery. It insinuated itself into the community
by setting up mutual aid societies and education for the poor. By 1896, the Katipunan had
over 30,000 members and functioned at the national, provincial, and municipal levels.

Following the execution of Rizal in 1896, Bonifacio proclaimed Filipino independence

on August 23, 1896. This time, the Spaniards moved against him, forcing his flight to the
Marikina mountains, while other forces headed by Emilio Aguinaldo were more
successful and won control over some towns. When Bonifacio tried to rein him in,
Aguinaldo ordered him arrested and charged with treason and sedition. He was tried and
convicted by his enemies and executed on May 10, 1897. Today he is regarded as a
national hero.

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