The Philippines was introduced to the West when the Portuguese Explorer Fernao de Magallanes (his Anglicised name is Magellan), leading an expedition in the service of the King of Spain, landed on an islet south of Samar on March 17, 1521. From there, they moved to nearby Limasawa near Leyte where he met and befriended two local chieftains, Rajahs Kolambu and Siagu. These two introduced Magellan to Chief Humabon of Subuth (Cebu). His efforts to firmly establish Spanish rule over the islands was checked when he was killed by a local chieftain named Lapu-Lapu in the Battle of Mactan and his surviving crew driven out by the other native chieftains. Only 18 men and one ship, the Victoria, managed to return to Spain. This ship earned the distinction of being the first vessel to circumnavigate the world. The spices that the ship brought back earned huge profits that the cost of the expedition was more than paid for. With this final proof that the world is round and that the East could be reached by sailing West, Spain therefore launched a series of expeditions with the objective of extending her Empire to Asia.
In February of 1565, another expedition headed by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi succeeded where Magellan failed. Entering into blood compacts called Sanduguan (literally meaning One-Blood) with the local natives and alternately befriending and terrorising them, Legazpi firmly established a Spanish foothold in Cebu and its surrounding areas, then gradually expanded Spanish control over the rest of the archipelago. In 1571, an expedition under Martin de Goiti captured Manila which was subsequently designated as the colonyâ€™s capital. From then on, Spanish sovereignty over the Islands became an established fact, a fact that lasted for 333 years.
Spanish rule in the Philippines is characterised by religious intolerance, extreme cruelty, racial bigotry (contemptuously calling the native Filipinos as Indios), corrupt practices and gross mismanagement. The populace were kept deliberately ignorant by denying education to all but a handful of native gentry. Despite their small numbers, Spanish control was maintained by the principle of "Divide-and-Rule" (using troops from one tribe to subdue and maintain control over another tribez). Although the Filipinos rose in bloody revolts and rebellions several times, all of these eventually failed due to the failure of the native Filipinos to unite. One particular uprising served as a catalyst that forged the Filipino nation. This is the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. In this brief uprising, a group of native artillerymen under Sergeant Fermin Lamadrid staged a mutiny in protest over the cancellation of their exemption from taxes and forced labor. Although swiftly crushed, the savage backlash that ensued removed much of the racial and class barriers that compartmentalised Filipino society that had served Spanish interests so well. Spanish retaliation against those who were actually involved or merely suspected of being involved was swift and brutal. The Spanish religious and political authorities also took this opportunity to silence those who have been harping for reforms. Among those executed were the three Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora. Many people believed in the innocence of these priests and their execution and martyrdom became a rallying cry of those who believed that only complete independence from Spain will be the solution to the countryâ€™s problems. Moreover, Spanish retaliation was different from previous ones in that those who were caught in the purge that followed came from the cross-section of society, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, creoles, mestizos, chinitos, indios, even some insulares. This savage act of retribution brought down many of the barriers dividing the people. Many are beginning to call themselves Filipinos, regardless of race or status.
Spanish abuses, particularly those committed by Spanish friars who insist on using the Inquisition as an instrument of terror and political control, mounted. By the late 19th Century, liberal ideas from Europe and America have greatly influenced the native illustrados who began to agitate for reforms. When the so-called Propaganda Period failed to achieve any result, the more radical elements of the native populace began to tread the more radical path of revolution.
A Secret Society Gives Rise to The Army
On July 7, 1892, the Kataas-taasan Kagalang-galangan Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan was organised in a house on Azcarraga Street (now Claro M. Recto Avenue) by Andres Bonifacio and a few others. This militant secret society has one objective and that is to win independence from Spain through armed revolution. Recruitment was easy among the discontented populace and the organisation grew quickly. Its organisation was patterned after that of the Masonic Fraternity and its cells and rituals were a combination of ancient rites such as the Sanduguan and Masonic practices. This secret society laid out the principles by which the members will conduct themselves, stressing above all love and sacrifice for the freedom of the Inangbayan. At the outbreak of the Revolution, the Katipunan have more than 30,000 members in Manila and the nearby provinces plus a few organised cells in the Visayas and Mindanao.
When the Revolution broke out in 1896, Bonifacio transformed "his lodges into battalions, his grand masters into captains and the Supreme Council of the Katipunan into the insurgent government of the Philippines." Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto (the "Brains of the Katipunan") prepared a plano de combate (war plan) which was to serve as the basis of the Katipunan military operations against Spain. According to this war plan the General Headquarters of the Katipunan would be established in a site near the sea and the mountains, either near Manila Bay or Los Banos in Laguna province. This site would practically become the war capital of the Katipunan during the crucial early days of the revolution. Bonifacio and the other Katipunan founders had the foresight to establish a central headquarters that would direct, coordinate and control revolutionary operations. He chose the mountains in Rizal province as the site of his headquarters, which was ideal because it provide escape routes for his forces when pursued by the enemy.
The Army Receives Its Baptism of Fire
Though ill-equipped and unprepared, the Katipunan was forced into the maelstrom of conflict when its existence and plans were betrayed to the Spanish authorities on August 19, 1896. At 6:15 that night, a Bisayan katipunero, Teodoro Patino, a restless worker in the printing shop of the Diario de Manila, at the urging of his sister, appeared at the Tondo convent and made a confession to Fr. Mariano Gil, Augustinian cura of Tondo, about his membership in the Katipunan. Among other things, Patino also disclosed the making of daggers surreptitiously during the noon hour, the existence of the lithographic stone which was used in printing the Katipunan receipts and newspaper Kalayaan, the smuggling of arms from Japan, and the gathering of 1,500 men in the mountains of San Mateo. Alarmed by these revelations, Father Gil broke the sacred secrecy of the confessional and duly informed the Colonial government of these revelations. The latter then launched a massive crackdown against the betrayed Katipuneros.
On that same fateful night, Bonifacio and his associates quickly fled to the hills of Balintawak, and there they rallied the patriots to rise in arms. In the morning of August 23, 1896, Bonifacio initiated en masse new members into the society who kept coming to his headquarters in the hills of Balintawak. In the afternoon of the same day, Bonifacio convoked the assembly of Katipunan chieftains, He organized his war cabinet composed of Teodoro Plata (his brother-in-law) as Chief of Staff, Dr. Pio Valenzuela as Chief of Medical Corps with Emilio Jacinto and Aguedo del Rosario as Division Generals. After due deliberations, they agreed to begin the general uprising on August 29 when all forces in the towns around Manila would make a concerted attack on the city.
One thousand patriots, armed with bolos, daggers, bamboo spears, bows and arrows, pistols, old rifles and paltik (home-made guns), in the morning of August 26, 1896, made the famous Cry of Balintawak, the Filipinos' cry for freedom. The Revolution has began.
The initial fighting also occurred that day. After the historic tearing up of the hated Spanish cedulas, Bonifacio was informed by his scouts that a detachment of Guardia Civil consisting of 30 soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Manuel Ros was approaching Malabon. Bonifacio ordered his men to go to the farm of Tandang Sora (Melchora Aquino) in Gulod ng Banilad near Pasong Tamo. He deployed his men, armed with bolos and anting-antings, around a broken bridge spanning a brook in Pasong Tamo. As the enemy approached, the patriots attacked them. Although outnumbered, the enemy fought well as their Mausers and Remingtons mowed down the katipuneros. The first katipunan casualty was Simplicio Acabo, cabeza de barangay of Dulong Kalzada. He was rushing at a Spanish soldier with his sharp bolo and was killed by a bullet. Unable to overcome the enemy, Bonifacio ordered a retreat.
The first serious encounter between the revolutionary forces and the Spaniards took place on August 30, 1896. Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto, with an army of untrained and poorly-armed katipuneros but full of zeal, numbering about 800, attacked the Spanish polvorin (powder depot) in San Juan del Monte. This polvorin, situated at the corner of present-day Pinaglabanan and N. Domingo Streets, was defended by a Spanish garrison of 100 men (infantry and artillerymen). The attack was launched at 4:00 a.m., Sunday morning.
The Spanish troops, with their commander and an artilleryman killed, were forced to retreat to El Deposito (the old reservoir of the Manila water supply). Emboldened by their initial success, Bonifacio advanced to Manila. The patriots of Santa Mesa under the command of Sancho Valenzuela joined them. Spanish governor-general Ramon Blanco, upon hearing the attack on San Juan, dispatched the 73rd Regiment (composed of Filipino soldiers under Spanish officers). The overall commander of this reinforcement was General Bernard Echaluse.
Spain's superiority in arms and the rebels' primitive military knowledge told heavily on the Filipino forces' defeat. The Filipino lines were soon enveloped by the mobile Spanish cavalry, and finding themselves surrounded, the patriots started to retreat. The Filipino forces first tried to cross the river but, when they got to the banks, they found their passage blocked by Spanish gunboats which fired volleys on them. Retreating higher up the river, they came into grips with the Spanish cavalry, and hand-to-hand combat ensued. About a hundred tried to cross the river in bancas, but upon reaching the opposite bank were ambushed by Civil Guards. The battle left 153 Katipuneros dead, while 200 Katipuneros, including Valenzuela, were taken captive by the Spanish troops. The survivors led by Bonifacio retreated to Mandaluyong.
After the debacle in San Juan del Monte, Bonifacio reorganized his troops in the hills near Marikina, San Mateo, and Montalban as he mapped out their next offensive. From there, he issued his war manifesto to all patriots proclaiming August 29th as the date of the general uprising. Arms were stored and funds were collected. New adherents to the revolutionary cause arrived almost daily and were initiated en masse. With the help of Macario Sakay, Apolonio Samson, Faustino Guillermo and General Luciona (alias Payat), the Katipuneros prepared for their next offensive. Jacinto sent out couriers to the neighboring towns, urging the patriots to join the cause. That same day, the first military ranks were conferred on the members of the Katipunan fighting forces. A truly National Army is finally taking form.
The people's army at Antipolo and Uyungan of over 100 men with 32 revolvers and small cannons merged with the Masuyod contingent, and placed themselves under the overall command of General Kiko (alias Labe), a lieutenant of Bonifacio.With renewed vigor, the Katipuneros, armed with bolos and spears, and a few captured Remingtons, set off for San Mateo, and attacked the town. General Mariano Gutierrez and his Tungko troops, Bonifacio ordered, surrounded San Mateo. The enemy forces were at the convent and parish house of the church, and they had six cannons. General Malinis and De la Cruz gave orders to fire and a furious exchange of fire from guns and cannons ensued the whole day until late in the afternoon. Along the Langka river the Supremo ordered his soldiers to make effigies from banana trunks and straw scarecrows. With KKK hats on the effigies, the duped enemy wasted bullets on these dummies. Routed, the Spaniards fled leaving San Mateo to the triumphant rebels. This was the first significant victory of the Revolutionary Army over the Colonial forces.
But three days later, fresh Spanish troops arrived to regain the area. After bitter fighting, Bonifacio and his troops retreated to Balara, and engaged in another skirmish with the enemy. Bonifacio almost lost his life in saving his comrade Emilio Jacinto. The Supremo's collar was pierced by an enemy bullet in that battle known as Labanan sa Tubuhan.
The defeat did not stop Bonifacio from pursuing the armed revolution, as around him public order was slowly collapsing. Simmering resentment against Spanish rule exploded into terrible violence as Filipinos took up arms against their colonial masters. The revolt quickly spread to San Pedro de Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Batangas, Laguna, Tayabas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Cavite. In Nueva Ecija, katipuneros led by Mariano Llanera, Municipal Capitan of Cabiao, and Pantaleon Belmonte, Municipal Capitan of Gapan, wearing red ribbons, launched an assault on San Isidro, capital of the province. Backed up by a band playing to stir them up, Llanera's troops besieged the town and seized it from the Spaniards. It took some time for the Spaniards in the province, taken by surprise at the scale of the uprising, for them to gather sufficient reinforcements led by Major Lopez Arteaga to arrive at the scene of battle. All-night fighting followed. This time, the Spanish army prevailed as they retook the capital.
The Revolution also spread in the provinces of Bataan and Zambales. The people of Hermosa, Bataan killed their parish priest. In Cavite in the morning of August 31, 1896 a schoolmaster named Artemio Ricarte was sent by the Magdiwang group (a Katipunan Chapter in Cavite) to confer with the revolutionaries in Noveleta "for the purpose of coming to an understanding as to what should be done." They agreed to conduct a simultaneous attack in both towns at 3:00 p.m. on the barracks of the guardia civil. Towards noon, the Katipunan leaders in San Francisco de Malabon, Ricarte among them, gathered at a restaurant, ostensibly for lunch, and were ordered dispersed by the suspicious Mayor. This precipitated the revolt. The Ricarte group seized the town hall, found five rifles there and some lances, and with these arms descended on the barracks, where they were met by the fire of the entrenched Guardia Civil. The battle lasted till dawn of the following day, when the Guardia Civil surrendered. The August 31 revolt in San Francisco de Malabon was the first action of the Revolution in Cavite, ahead by a few hours from the Aguinaldo's coup in Kawit, which started at 3:00 p.m.
The following day, the Magdiwang group under Mariano Alvarez organized their own Revolutionary government with himself as President supported by several men who were assigned to different ministerial positions. Significant to this development are the appointment of several men as officers of the Army, some of them being given the rank of generals. On the other hand, their rivals in the Magdalo chapter also organized their own government with their own set of government officials and military officers. This twin developments will lead to tragic consequences for the Supremo of the Revolution.
After a few small successes and several bloody defeats, the focus of the Revolution shifted from the immediate environs of Manila to Cavite. There, the fledgeling Revolutionary Army of the people will be severely tested.
The Rise of El Caudillo
While the revolutionary forces of Bonifacio were reduced to hit-and-run raids from his Montalban hideout, Emilio Aguinaldo of the Magdalo group (another Katipunan Chapter) made advances in the Revolutionary campaign in Cavite. Historians credit him for putting the Spanish forces on the defensive in the province. Starting the revolution on his own on August 29, 1896, Aguinaldo, with his allies Candido Tirona and Santiago Dano, overpowered the three-man contingent in Kawit. There was no killing reported, and the friar cura of that town had fled, leaving behind in the convent 1,100 pesos in gold, 800 in silver. These formed the initial funds of the Revolution in Cavite. What emboldened Aguinaldo's and Ricarte's uprisings was the fact that the fort in Cavite was practically unmanned and would have no troops to send should the province revolt. The troops were sent to Manila to quell the uprising there. After seizing the Kawit barracks, he proceeded to the municipal building and, by 5:00 p.m., wrote a Manifesto addressed to all municipal captains in Cavite, Batangas and Laguna to rise in revolt. The call to arms was enthisiastically answered by the people as men flocked to the Revolutionary banners. There were even some defectors from the Colonial Army.
After issuing his pronunciamiento, Aguinaldo went to San Francisco de Malabon and assembled his forces. His own authority as Capitan Municipal of Kawit ended and he assumed the title of Teniente Abenderado (Flag Lieutenant). In San Francisco de Malabaon, he formed his "little army", numbering 600, armed with bolos, nine old police guns, three Remingtons and a borrowed hunting pistol. From San Francisco de Malabon, his forces marched towards Imus, targeting the casa and hacienda of the religious order in Imus which he planned to take over and convert into a fortress because of its high massive walls which surrounded the estate-house. He also expected to capture the friars and Spaniards and their arms in that place.
By the time they reached the bridge to Imus, his troops had swollen to 2,000. Advancing in three columns they surrounded the convent and Aguinaldo asked the band to stop playing La Batalla de Jolo, and bade the bugler sound the advance. They stormed the convent but found it empty, save for a Filipino priest, who told them that the friars and the Guardia Civil had escaped to the Casa Hacienda. Beside the estate house was a palay bodega, which Aquinaldo ordered set on fire, to smoke the enemy out. The trick worked, 13 priests came out choking, and Aguinaldo seized seven guns from it. Imus had fallen to Aguinaldo's hands.
The Spanish authorities deployed troops toward Cavite by way of Las Pinas. Gov. Blanco considered the uprising minor, for this force consisted only of a hundred troops under Brigadier General Ernesto Aguirre, supported by cavalry. Aquinaldo rushed about 500 men to Bacoor to block the enemy at Zapote Bridge. But their nine guns did not stop the Spanish forces. Aguinaldo had to play dead on the battlefield to escape capture. Aguirre entered Bacoor but did not stay long. He soon retreated to Manila.
By returning first to Manila for reinforcements, Aguirre gave Aguinaldo time to entrench his troops in Imus, demolish the bridge leading to it and organize a defense with a thousand men. When Aguirre reappeared with 500 soldiers, he was stopped at the Imus bridge. Suddenly, Aguinaldo appeared on the enemy's side of the river, firing on the enemy's flank. He forded the river with a company of hand-picked men undetected and caught the enemy by surprise. The Colonial troops scattered, some tried to flee through the ricefields, got trapped in the mud and were hacked to death by the Magdalo bolo troops. Aguirre fled, dropping his fine Toledo sword, which Aguinaldo found and made his own. Engraved on the blade was the year it was forged, 1869, the year of his birth. The Magdalo troops also picked up 30 Remingtons plus ammunition.
The Revolutionaries fortified themselves in Imus and immediately dug excellent trenches designed by Edilberto Evangelista and put barricades across the main roads leading to the town. Other revolutionary forces occupied Paranaque and Las Pinas on the outskirts of Manila. Gen. Blanco knew all about the insurgent activities. He had 5,000 fresh troops available at his disposal but chose to take his time and to study the situation. He was confident he could defeat the revolutionaries in battle but feel that he need more men to secure the areas that he expects to recover while forming mobile units to pursue the katipuneros to the mountains. But the more compelling reason was that Gen. Blanco wanted more troops so that they could destroy the rebel forces in one fell swoop. He asked for more troops and sent artillery pieces by sea to Cavite. Unknown to the Spanish general, the rebels had spread and strengthened their defensive position on the southern section of the Cavite isthmus, cutting off the town of Cavite from the rest of the province.
During September, Kawit came under bombardment from the Cavite fort and Aguinaldo transferred his government to Imus. There, he installed the first revolutionary government with Baldomero as President, Candido Tria Tirona as War Secretary, and cabinet portfolios for Finance, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Justice. Aguinaldo had upped his title to Jefe Abanderado (Flag Lieutenant General). A munitions factory was set up in Imus using church bells being smelted into cannons or lantakas and trenches were dug from the Bacoor beach through Zapote and Silang and up to the Batangas-Laguna boundary. These trenches and fortifications served their purposes so well that they prolonged Filipino resistance in Cavite against the renewed Spanish offensives in early 1897.
Family relationships and divided loyalties changed the course of the Revolution in Cavite. Two prominent families, the Alvarezes whose loyalty belonged to the Supremo and the Aguinaldos, each with a chairman in the KKK Magdiwang and Magdalo councils, with their own zones of war. Cavite had a Primera Zona covering Cavite, the capital, San Roque, Caridad, Noveleta, San Francisco de Malabon (now Hen. Trias), Rosario, San Cruz de Malabon, Naik, Ternate, Maragondon, Magallanes, Bailen, Indang, and Alfonso.
The Segunda Zona was composed of Cavite Viejo (Kawit), Bacoor, Imus, Perez Dasmarinas, Silang and Carmona. The two provincial councils had their respective base of operations: Magdiwang in Noveleta and the Magdalo in Kawit. As the course of the revolution was to show, the two councils, two zones and two loyalties made more difficult the unity of command and use of resources.
The situation of the Filipino people's army at this time is described by Foreman: "The rebels were in possession of the whole of the province of Cavite except the city and arsenal of Cavite and the isthmus connecting that city with the mainland. They were well fortified at isthmus with trenches and stockades extending from the estate-house fort in several directions and an army strength of 6,000 to 7,000 men. Their artillery was most primitive, however, consisting only of a few small cannons called lantacas; some new cannon of small caliber roughly cast out of the church bells and iron waterpipes of large diameter converted into miltrailleuse mortars. They were strongly entrenched behind a mile-and-a-half of strategically constructed earthworks defending the town of Noveleta, which they hold. They were supposed to have at least 20,000 men in occupation here. Including San Francisco de Malabon, Silang, Perez Dasmarinas, and the several other places they held, their total force in the whole province was estimated at 35,000 men. About one-fifth of that number was armed with rifles (chiefly Mauser); the remainder carried bowie-knives and bamboo lances. They had ample supplies of rice, buffaloes, etc. To my personal knowledge they had daily communication with Manila, and knew everything that was going on there and the public feeling in the capital."
The Revolutionary Army Scores A Major Victory at Binakayan
Furious at the failure of his policy of attraction, Governor-General Blanco was forced to take the offensive. On November 9, 1896, he launched two simultaneous offensives on Binakayan and the mile-and-a-half defense line at Noveleta, two ramparts of the patriots in Cavite, with about 6,000 defenders. Blanco committed the 73rd Regiment of native auxiliaries and 60 Spanish troops in this operation. The plan of the Spaniards was to push towards Imus, capture the rebel stronghold in the town and then place artillery pieces there.
The Colonial government launched their offensive on several fronts: from Calamba and Talisay towards Silang; from the Cavite fort towards Kawit; and from the Bay (this sea action was supported by three warships and three gunboats) towards Bacoor, Noveleta, Rosario, San Francisco de Malabon and Binakayan.
Colonel Jose Marina, commanding one column of 1,600 men of the 73rd Regiment (Filipino Infantry), Marine Infantry (Spaniards), Artillery (Spaniards) and Engineer (Filipinos), assaulted Binakayan. At this time, Aguinaldo rushed to the Laguna-Batangas boundary, thinking the invasion would come from there, but realizing his mistake, he hurried back to defend his town. The enemy failed to penetrate the excellent fortifications built by Evangelista, despite a bloody bayonet charge by Colonel Marina's troops. Aguinaldo arrived in the nick of time to finally repulse the Spanish troops. He joined his cousin Baldomero and his two valiant friends, Tirona and Evangelista to stop the enemy. Two things helped Aguinaldo to defeat the Spanish forces: the inaccurate enemy naval fire, and the excellent trenches. After the smoke of battle had cleared, the demoralised Spanish troops retreated to their base in Dalahican, Noveleta, leaving behind 200 guns (chiefly Mausers and Remingtons) and 15 cartloads of their dead, numbering about 500. It had been a costly and bloody battle as Aguinaldo mourned the death of his close friend and comrade, General Candido Tirona.
Meanwhile General Diego de los Rios, leading another column of 1,500 men of the 4th Battalion of Cazadores (Spaniards), Marine Infantry, Artillery, Engineer and some units of the 73rd Regiment, attacked Noveleta. Governor-General Blanco directed the operations from the trenches of Dalahican, an isthmus between Noveleta and Caridad (Cavite City). After seven hours of fighting, they were also defeated in Noveleta by the patriots under the command of Generals Artemio Ricarte, Santiago Alvarez, and Mariano Riego de Dios. For this victory, Ricarte and de Dios were promoted to Major General.
Elsewhere, the conflict raged. In Bulacan on December 29, 1896, 21-year old Gregorio del Pilar, who was destined to become one of the Revolutionâ€™s most colorful heroes, participated in a partially successful raid on the town of San Rafael. The raiders had to retreat when reinforcements arrived. The Katipuneros in Bulacan established their Headquarters on Kakarong de Sile, located south of San Rafael and about halfway between Pandi and Angat in Bulacan. Kakarong is a flat-top hill about two square kilometers in size and surrounded by forested terrain. This Katipunan headquarters contain their operations center, firearms storage and repair depot, quarters and training facilities. As such, it is a primary target for the coming Spanish offensive. The Supremo of the Bulacan Katipunerosâ€™ Revolutionary Council was Canuto Villanueva with Eusebio (Maestrong Sebio) Roque as commander and Captain-General, Casimiro Galvez as second-in-command and several officers. Maestrong Sebio is a devout Catholic who always led his men in prayers before any activity. Altogether, the Bulacan Katipuneros numbered about 5,000.
A Spanish force of about 2,000 men under General Diego de los Rios divided in five columns converged on Kakarong. Maestrong Sebio sent half of his men towards Malolos upon receipt of reports from his spies that the enemy was approaching De los Riosâ€™ columns managed to elude the Katipuneros by making feint movements then taking roundabout routes. On January 1, 1897, de los Riosâ€™ forces managed to approach Kakarong and launched a fierce attack. The Katipuneros managed to hold off the Spaniards for about an hour. Eventually, the severe lack of ammunition again told heavily as the Spaniards breached the defenses of the camp. Despite the ferocious defense of the Katipuneros, they could not stop the Spaniards as they overrun one defensive position after another. Gregorio del Pilar and his companions, brother Julian and comrades Isidro Wenceslao and Felix de Jesus huddled together in one trench near their Headquarters as they killed several of the enemy until they ran out of bullets. Knowing that the battle is lost and the camp has fallen, the group fought their way out of the Spanish cordon and managed to reach safety although all of them except Julian were wounded. Maestrong Sebio and hundreds of men, women and children in the camp were not so fortunate.
Despite the tremendous difficulties that confronted the Revolutionary forces, Filipino leaders were able to accomplish much as the well-armed and well-trained Spanish forces took some six months to overcome the Filipino forces in Cavite alone. As early as February, 1897, the Spanish forces were aching to recover their lost ground, under an energetic military leader, Governor-General Camilo Polavieja who made his name in the Cuban campaign. He arrived in Manila in December 1896 with more reinforcements until the Spanish land forces numbered 28,000. He also brought with him General Lachambre whom he appointed as Deputy Commander of the forces.
Governor-General Blanco created a division of three brigades under Gen. Lachambre, his best commander, to campaign in the Laguna-Batangas-Cavite borders. A flying brigade under General Galbis was sent to scout the region south of the Pasig River. A column of native regiments under General Zappino was dispatched to deal with the forces of the Filipino generals Llanera and Torres, who were active in Bulacan and Morong. In the middle of February, Polavieja personally directed the offensive against Cavite. He launched his army against the rebel ramparts in southwestern Cavite, while General Jaramillo attacked on the southeast, with Lachambre pushing in the north. The Spanish forces met with stubborn resistance in all battle sectors of the embattled province. North and East Cavite were splendidly fortified with trenches and foxholes built under General Evangelistaâ€™s direction.
On February 17, Polavieja's troops fought the second Battle of Zapote Bridge against Evangelista's command. The revolutionaries fought gallantly, but in vain. General Evangelista was killed when he was hit by a Mauser bullet on the forehead. Two days later, Silang fell to Lachambre. On February 22, the Filipino forces led by Aguinaldo, Bonifacio, Ricarte, Pascual Alvarez, and Riego de Dios, counterattacked, but were driven back. On February 28, Lachambre attacked the town of Perez Dasmarinas defended by Aguinaldo and his 5,000 men. The defenders, comprising mainly of bolo battalions fought stubbornly and held the enemy for some days. Aguinaldo, however, had to evacuate the burning town. In this battle, on March 3, General Flaviano Yengko, a mere lad fresh from college died in action. Yengko's gallantry which he displayed in early battles attracted the attention of Aguinaldo who made him a member of his General Staff with the rank of Brigadier General.
Forging a Single Army
Amid the changing fortunes of the revolutionary cause in Cavite, the rivalry between the Magdiwang and the Magdalo began to widen. To settle this, the Magdalo group invited the Supremo to discuss proposals of uniting the two factions, so that there would be one army under one command, and then hold an election, with the objective that the war operations will be pushed by a single set of officers. Ricarte says in his memoirs, it was he who wrote the letters inviting Bonifacio to Cavite to consolidate the two forces, upon the prodding of the Magdalo group. Each one held sway over its own territory and fought independently of one another. When the new Spanish Governor-General Camilo de Polavieja, who replaced the ineffective Blanco, began concentrating his forces in Cavite, this rivalry proved disastrous for the revolution.
The adherents of the two councils attended the Imus assembly on December 28,1896 presided by Bonifacio. Those present were the Magdiwang forces led by Alvarez and Ricarte, while the Magdalo forces were bannered by Baldomero Aguinaldo and Evangelista. Emilio Aguinaldo was also present but opted to assume a spectator role in the sidelines.
The main agendum of the assembly was to determine once and for all the leadership of the province and decide whether the Katipunan should continue leading the revolution or be replaced by a new revolutionary government. Those who vouched for the continuation of the Katipunan argued that it had its own constitution and by-laws, and it still had the mission directing the revolution. But the Magdalo forces came out strong in the debates with Edilberto Evangelista preparing a constitution for the Revolutionary government. They contended that the Katipunan had ceased to exist the moment the revolution emerged in the open. Bonifacio adjourned the meeting upon the arrival of the widow of Dr. Jose Rizal, Josephine Bracken, accompanied by his brother-in-law Paciano Rizal to welcome them. Nothing definite was accomplished during the meeting and so another meeting was set in Tejeros, a barrio of San Francisco de Malabon.
The Army is Born
Aside from electing a new set of officers that will unite the feuding Magdiwang and Magdalo chapters, the Tejeros convention also formally established the Army with General Artemio Ricarte as Captain-General of the Army on March 22, 1897 . Aguinaldo was elected President of the Revolutionary Government. The subsequent meeting in Naic the following Easter Sunday laid down rules and procedures for the reorganization of the Army by merging the different groups that once gave the Army its heterogeneous nature, changes in the design of the Revolutionary standard, adoption of new fighting methods, regulation of ranks and adoption of new rank insignias for Army officers. Borrowing heavily from the Spanish foe, the first Philippine Army used the 1896 edition of the Spanish Ordenanza del Ejercito to organize its forces and establish its character as a modern army. There was also an attempt by General Evangelista to get Bonifacio to adopt a revised copy of Minister Mauraâ€™s work which he titled as "Real Orden ng Pagtatatag ng mga Hukuman ng Pamahalaang Kastila" .
Orders and circulars were subsequently issued to the rank and file covering such matters as building trenches and fortifications, equipping every male aged 15 to 50 with bows and arrows to partially meet the acute lack of arms, enticing Filipino soldiers in the Spanish Army to defect to the revolutionary forces, collecting empty cartridges for refilling and prohibiting unplanned sorties. Directives were also sent covering the inventories of captured arms and ammunition, fund raising for the support of the Filipino troops and the purchase of arms and supplies abroad, unification of military commands, and exhorting the people to give any material aid, especially food, to the revolutionary forces.
Being the new center of the revolution, Cavite was divided into several war zones, having as capitals the towns of Silang, Imus, Bacoor, San Francisco de Malabon and Alfonso, respectively. Each of these war zones was defended by an army, which was divided into an active and a volunteer force. The Active Army was organized into regiments, companies and batteries. In turn, the companies were divided into soldiers with firearms and those without, the duty of the latter - the proportion of five to each rifleman - being to keep themselves close to the rear of the firing line and secure the guns of men who are disabled. The function of the Volunteer Army was the gathering and storing of food supplies and obtaining iron and copper from every possible source for the fabrication of arms. It was also their duty to search the fields for projectiles which had failed to explode, to carry food to the troops, to strengthen daily the defenses and deploy others to suitable sites.
The Naic Military Agreement
Disgusted at the results of the Tejeros Convention wherein he lost his prominent position as head of the Revolutionary movement and army, he dissolved said Convention and declared its results as null and void. A few days after the Tejeros Convention, Bonifacio convened a meeting at Naic with his supporters and appointed General Pio del Pilar as commander-in-chief of the revolutionary forces. Bonifacio appointed Jacinto as General of the North Military Area comprising the provinces of Morong (Rizal), Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Manila, whose appointment dated April 15, 1897. The Agreement also declared that the Supremo and the Katipunan will continue directing the revolution. This Agreement had 41 signatories which included Andres and Procopio Bonifacio, Artemio Ricarte, Severino de las Alas, Mariano Alvarez, Santiago Alvarez, Mariano Trias, Pio del Pilar and Severino de las Alas. However, the Agreement was never effectively implemented.
Bonifacio moved to Limban in Indang. He was preparing to go to Batangas which recognized him as the supreme authority of the revolution. Bonifacio was accompanied by his wife, Gregoria de Jesus, brothers Ciriaco and Procopio, and some bodyguards. Unknown to him, Magdiwang member Severino de las Alas was preparing charges against him.
On April 26, 1897, President Aguinaldo ordered Colonel Agapito Bonzon and Major Jose Ignacio Paua, leading a strong contingent of Aguinaldo's soldiers, to attack Bonifacio's camp at Limbon on April 27. His brother, Ciriaco, was killed in the skirmish, while Andres and his brother Procorpio were arrested for charges of sedition and treason before a military court presided by Gen. Mariano Noriel.
The May 5 trial put Bonifacio in a disadvantaged position. The members of the Military Court were Aguinaldo men including not only General Noriel but also Gen. Mascardo whom Bonifacio had earlier arrested in connection with the freeing of Spanish prisoners. Second, Bonifacio's counsel, Placido Martinez, acted more like a prosecutor, going so far as saying that if a punishment worse than death was available, Bonifacio deserved it for allegedly plotting Aguinaldo's death. Lastly, the court gave credence to the fantastic story of Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Giron, a Bonifacio partisan turned state witness, who said that Bonifacio had given him ten pesos in advance to kill Aguinaldo in case the latter did not submit to Bonifacio's authority.
On May 6, at the end of the trial, the court martial issued the guilty verdict on the Bonifacio brothers. The sentence was death. On May 10, Major Lazaro Makapagal carried out Noriel's order of execution at Mount Nagpatong near Mt. Buntis, Maragondon. Bonifacio's death was a big blow to the revolutionary cause, for the masses lost a spiritual leader.
Aguinaldo Consolidates His Power
With rival elements now out of his way, Aguinaldo consolidated his power and began to oversee the operations and organization of the Philippine army of the Revolutionary government. His supporters are now calling him the El Caudillo, the politico-military leader of the Army, Government and the Revolution. Never before nor since has the country been led by a leader in this politico-military mold.
In March, 1897, Polavieja's launched his vigorous offensives that resulted in the recapture of Imus on March 25, 1897. This was swiftly followed by the recovery of Noveleta, Bacoor, Kawit, Binakayan and Santa Cruz de Malabon. In the process, the Spaniards lost 20 officers including a general and over 300 other fatalities. The wounded numbered over 80 officers and 1,200 soldiers and marines. The death of Aguinaldo's brother, Crispulo, prompted the Filipino leaders to reorganize the Army.
On the first of May, 1897, the Spanish forces, personally commanded by a new Governor-General, Fernando Primo de Rivera who replaced Polavieja, resumed the Spanish offensives in Cavite. With the gunboats Isla de Cuba and Isla de Luzon providing naval gunfire support, he attacked Naic at dawn of May 3 with soldiers of Regiment 73. Aguinaldo retreated after a bloody bayonet charge, leaving 400 Spanish and Filipino dead at the trenches. Aguinaldo and his men escaped to Talisay and joined forces there with the commander-in-chief for Batangas, General Miguel Malvar. The mounting pressure from the Spanish Army forced Aguinaldo to transfer to a more strategic region where he could direct the revolution. With General Vito Belarmino and an armed escort of 500 men, he proceeded to Malapad-na-Bato (San Pedro Macati), and on June 10, he crossed the Pasig river and bivouacked at Mount Puray, near Montalban. This was the same mountainous region where Bonifacio and his Katipunan cohorts once directed the revolution until his demise. Successive steps were undertaken by Filipino leaders to effect order and polish the revolutionary organization. Thus, at Aguinaldo's instance, a Department of Central Luzon was created at the camp of General Licerio Geronimo in Mount Puray, Montalban.
At this stage of the conflict, both Aguinaldo and Gov. Rivera knew that to continue hostilities would mean an inconclusive war of attrition for both sides. Aguinaldoâ€™s forces badly needed a breathing spell in the face of massive Spanish offensives while Governor-General Rivera was increasingly frustrated by his failure to crush the Revolution despite his battlefield victories. The Spanish government in Madrid have already sent over 50,000 cazadores to the Philippines together with several artillery, cavalry, engineer and supporting units, way above the 20,000 troops that the Colonial government had originally estimated they would need to crush the uprising. Now Rivera knew he needed far more troops than that already sent but the home government is not inclined to send any more because of massive commitment in another revolution raging in Cuba half a world away which has already tied down more than 150,000 soldiers. Rivera have to make do with what he has or find another way. Reluctantly, Rivera agreed to the conduct of negotiations for a possible truce and perhaps even a settlement of the conflict. To be sure, there were elements from both sides who were against such arrangements and who wanted the conflict to be brought to its conclusion through combat.
Nothing came out of the initial negotiations until Pedro A. Paterno, a prominent Manila lawyer, acted as emissary for both sides. Paterno succeeded in his peace mission which led to the signing of what is known in Philippine history as the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, which consisted of three documents. The first two documents of which were signed on Dec. 14, 1897 and the third on Dec. 15, 1897. Included in the first document was the stipulation that the Spanish government would pay P800,000 as war reparations provided Aguinaldo and his officers would go into voluntary exile in Hong Kong. The second document reiterated the granting of amnesty to all the revolutionary troops who surrendered. The third document promised additional war reparations to the tune of P900,000.
But the pact of Biak-na-Bato was doomed from the very start. Certain elements in the movement maintain that not one of the three documents contained any reforms which the Biak-na-Bato government demanded namely: the secularisation of Philippine parishes and expulsion of the religious orders, the restoration of Philippine representation in the Cortes; and equality before the law between Spaniards and Filipinos. Moreover, at the very moment of the Pact signing, the Hong Kong junta was working for the purchase of arms to continue the Revolution. In fact, after Aguinaldo had gone on voluntary exile together with 39 companions to Hong Kong, he continued the activities of the Revolutionary government by organizing the Supreme Council of the Nation.
On the part of Spain, it paid only P600,000 of the stipulated P1,700,000. Furthermore, the revolutionaries who had surrendered to the government were later arrested and persecuted by the Spaniards. It is now obvious that both parties completely distrusted the other and that both had intended to break the content and spirit of the Pact at the first opportune time .
This treaty did not deter many revolutionary leaders who lost no time in reorganizing the forces of the revolution. They knew fully well that the Pact of Biak-na-Bato was merely a respite, and the terms of the same were known not for their being observed, but for their utter disregard by the Spaniards and the Filipinos. During this time, Revolutionary forces became active again in Pampanga, Laguna, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Camarines Norte and even as far as La Union and Ilocos Sur in the north and Iloilo, Cebu and Zamboanga in the south. One of the most active of these is Feliciano Jhocson, a pharmacist who refused to go into exile with Aguinaldo. Instead, he went to Barrio Pugad-Baboy in Caloocan where he continued exhorting the people to support the Revolution. He also sent letters and circulars pleading with other Revolutionary leaders not to surrender. One such document is Jacinto's "Sangguniang Hukuman" written in February 1898, which were expressions of continued defiance against Spain. Indeed, many Revolutionaries did not believe in the letter or spirit of the Biac-na-Bato Pact and they either openly defied or quietly ignored it as they continued to go about preparing for the next phase of the Revolutionary struggle.
The most important revolutionary official who did not adhere to the Biak-na-Bato pact was General Francisco Makabulos, the hero of Tarlac. On April 14, he established a provisional revolutionary government in Central Luzon with a constitution written by him in Tagalog. He can be counted as among the openly defiant. Among those who simply ignored the Pact but worked quietly to continue the Revolution were the likes of then Colonel Luciano San Miguel. He did not engage in overt armed activities against the Spanish authorities but merely continued his organizational work. We shall hear more from San Miguel later on.
The Revolution is Continued
The outbreak of the Spanish-American War on April 24 1898 provided the best external condition for the resumption of hostilities. Even before Aguinaldo's return, the Katipunan generals were plotting the resumption of the revolutionary war. On May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay. When Aguinaldo reached the Philippines on May 19 on board the American warship McCullogh, the conditions were ripe for launching the second phase of the revolution. On his arrival, Aguinaldo rallied his people to give assistance to the American forces under Commodore Dewey. He received from the latter 60 Mauser rifles, some small cannons, and considerable ammunitions captured from the Spaniards. Dewey helped Aguinaldo establish his temporary Headquarters at the Cavite Arsenal. The first officer to report to Aguinaldo for duty is the ever-reliable Colonel San Miguel and his brigade of over 1,000 revolutionary troops. Other commanders soon followed and Aguinaldo found himself at the head of an army totalling 12,000 strong. On May 27, the first shipment of arms consisting of 2,000 Mausers and 200,000 cartridges purchased in Amoy arrived and landed near the Cavite Arsenal.
A dictatorial government was established by Aguinaldo on May 24, 1898 to provide a strong leadership for the Revolution and also to enable him to assume "command of all the troops in the struggle for the attainment of Filipino aspirations" . At the same time, Aguinaldo reorganized the army on May 19, 1898, establishing a hierarchical assignment for the rank-and-file of the Filipinos forces. On May 24, 1898 he revoked "all commissions issued to the officials of the army, provinces and towns" with the aim of centralizing from his office the issuance of appointments and commitments and to prevent the proliferation of self-made or self-appointed "generals." On the same day, however, he appointed men of his confidence "to command the fighting as well as manage the affairs of provinces and towns," particularly those that were already under Filipino control. Aguinaldo appointed Brigadier General Tomas Mascardo as chief of all Filipino forces in Cavite on May 29, 1898 and vested him "with full powers and authority to rule over, govern, impeach, try, punish, and reward either military men or civilians residing in the province (and) of enforcing decrees, orders, proclamations, resolutions, and other measures" .
He also sent special commissioners to various parts of the country where all bands of Filipinos fighting the Spaniards were exhorted to recognize the authority of Emilio Aguinaldo and his Revolutionary government. Part of centralizing the military commands of the Filipino forces was Aguinaldo's assumption of the position of Commander-in-Chief with the rank of Major-General of all the military forces of the Revolutionary Government of the Philippines. In particular, the Constitution of the Revolutionary Government vested him with the power "to command the land and sea forces and to distribute them as he may deem most expedient, delegating his powers to the generals whom he may deem most capable."
The resumption of hostilities and the combined attacks of the Filipino army weakened the Spanish government and its forces, allowing them to advance on all fronts. Cut-off from their homeland and all possible rescue or reinforcements, the Spanish forces in the Philippines is doomed. May 31, 1897 was the date set by Aguinaldo for the national uprising against Spain. But the Revolutionaries in Bataan jumped the date and opened hostilities on May 29.
General Leopoldo Garcia Pena, the Spanish military commander of Cavite with 2,800 Spanish troops scattered in various detachments in Cavite Province, was hardpressed by the combined forces of Generals Luciano San Miguel, Mariano Noriel, Artemio Ricarte and Juan Cailles who have between them about 6,000 - 8,000 troops. A column of 500 infantrymen was rushed from Manila to reinforce Pena but was crushed by another combined force in Laguna under Generals Paciano Rizal and Pio del Pilar. By nightfall of May 31, the whole province of Cavite fell into the hands of the revolutionaries. General Pena himself and his surviving troops were made prisoners.
In the provinces north of Manila the revolutionaries struck with resounding success. General Gregorio del Pilar in Bulacan, General Maximino Hizon in Pampanga, General Manuel Tinio in Nueva Ecija, and General Francisco Makabulos in Tarlac captured the Spanish garrisons one after the other. General Monet, to whose battalion the Macabebe natives of Pampanga belonged, fled to Macabebe. This town was besieged until it fell to the hands of the revolutionaries under the command of General Isidoro Torres.
The Spanish troops retreated before the advancing Filipino forces and concentrated their troops within the defenses of Manila. The total strength of Spanish troops in Manila reached 13,000. General Aguinaldo's main objective was the capture of Manila. Since May 31, 1898, the revolutionary troops under Generals Gregorio del Pilar, Artemio Ricarte, Pio del Pilar, Antonio Montenegro and Pantaleon Garcia were harassing Manila at different points. The encircling Filipino lines around Manila, according to the Philippine army's battle plan, were divided into four Zones, as follows: the First Zone in Pasay under Gen. Noriel; the Second Zone in San Pedro Macati under Gen. Pio del Pilar; the Third Zone in Marikina under Gen. Montenegro; and the Fourth Zone, embracing Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan and Novaliches under Gen. Pantaleon Garcia.
On June 3, 1898, the Spanish garrison at Caloocan, the first railway station north of Manila, was driven back to Manila. On the same day, the Spanish outposts in the towns along the Pasig river were forced to concentrate in Sta. Ana. From June 12 to 15, the revolutionaries attacked the Spanish first line of defense running from Balintawak through San Juan and Santa Ana to Las Pinas. They had practically surrounded Manila, and by June 12 had taken 2,500 Spanish prisoners, "whom they treated most humanely" . On June 27, they captured the water pumping plant up the Marikina River.
The once-proud Spanish Colonial Army, with 300 years of military victories behind them and who forced the revolutionaries into the Biac-na-Bato Pact only a few months before by their battlefield victories, knowing fully well that they were cut-off with no hope of rescue, reinforcement or resupply, now reeled before the unstoppable onslaught of the Filipino Army. By the end of June 1898, Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines was practically over. The June 16, 1898 report of the American Consul in Manila to his superiors in Washington said as much: "The insurgents have defeated the Spaniards at all points except at fort near Malate, and hold not only North Luzon to the suburbs of Manila, but Batanyes (sic) province also and the entire coast and bay, save the city of Manila" .
The Filipino Revolutionary Army, which grew from 11,000 on July 9 to 30,000 after less than a month, were steadily seizing ground, relentlessly marching toward the capital, with the young stocky general, Mariano Noriel of the first Zone of Cavite at the lead, digging trenches until they had grooved the swamps and rice paddies approaching Walled Manila. Their morale was high. Meanwhile, the Americans under the command of Admiral Dewey were biding time, waiting for more reinforcements. "They shrewdly refrained from making any formal commitments but neither did they disabuse the minds of the Filipino leaders of their misconceptions about American intentions" . The American Consul had given Aguinaldo their personal assurances that their government sympathized with the Filipino revolutionary cause.
The American troops, which were mustered in California, poured in after a few weeks. The first expedition under Brig. Gen. Thomas N. Anderson consisted of 115 officers and 2,386 men; it arrived in Cavite on June 30, 1898. The second expedition, 158 officers and 3,248 men under Brig. Gen. Francis V. Greene, arrived on July 16; and the third expedition of 197 officers and 4,650 men under Brig. Gen. Arthur MacArthur came on July 25. The total force of the three expeditions was 470 officers and 10,464 men. They were followed by Gen. Wesley E. Meritt, overall commander of the American Expedition Force to the Philippines, who arrived in Cavite on July 25, with the third expedition .
At this time, the top men of the American forces were holding secret negotiations by which Manila could fall into their hands with minimum force and fatality. The Spanish Governor-General Basilio Agustin, fearful of the 14,000 "insurgents" that have ringed his city, starved by them of water and food, agreed to surrender. This embarrassing military option was leaked out to Mother Spain who could not swallow defeat this easy. Agustin was quickly replaced by the diminutive and bespectacled Jaudenes to defend the city. But Juadenes too would like to surrender the city to spare its people, but he demanded a mock battle, enough to save face and to satisfy a medieval code of honor. But there would be one condition: there would be no Filipino soldier at the surrender of the city, which was set for August 13, 1898
Now ready to show their hand, the American generals began to treat their supposed Filipino allies arrogantly, demanding that Filipino troops vacate certain areas. The Filipino leaders had become suspicious of the Americans and resented the foreigners' orders. General Greene of the American forces played a trick to persuade Mariano Noriel to turn over their trenches to the Americans. The weaponry Noriel had in his trenches, according to Greene, were old and obsolete and no match against the Spanish artillery. But if Noriel moves over to about 400 yards from the shore, Greene would give him the support of "fine pieces of modern artillery" . Since Noriel thought this was an important matter, he consulted Aguinaldo, who ruled, learning from his early associations with the American, that this should be put in writing. Greene promised to give the requested paper after the Filipinos had left their trenches, and promptly forgot about it.
With the Americans in control of parts of the siege line surrounding Manila, the final act of the charade was now played out. A mock battle was fought with American ground and naval forces firing salvoes with Spanish artillery dutifully replying. Hours later, a white flag was raised from the ramparts of the "Royal and Ever-Loyal City of Manila" signifying surrender. Thus was how Manila was taken, with Filipinos being left out in the cold.
The Army of the First Philippine Republic
On June 12, 1898, without waiting for the anticipated capture of Manila, General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the independence of the Philippines to the world from the balcony of his mansion in Kawit, Cavite. After the reading the "Declaration of Philippine Independence", the Philippine flag rose in the air, while the San Francisco de Malabon stirred the hearts of the multitude with the Philippine National Anthem which was played for the very first time.
Anticipating the manpower requirements of the Filipino government's military forces, Aguinaldo issued the Decree of June 18,1898, upon the prodding of Aguinaldo's adviser Apolinario Mabini, establishing the local governments under the revolutionists. The decree likewise obliged every Filipino "to defend the country with arms whenever he may be called upon to do" It also provided that nobody could excuse himself from military service "when called upon by the law." In accordance with this Decree, the organization of local governments started in the provinces liberated from Spain. The local government officials were to be elected by all inhabitants of at least 31 years of age. The provincial government consisted of a Provincial Governor and three councillors. The officials were elected by all town presidents meeting as an electoral assembly, and their election was confirmed by the central government.
Military commanders, chosen by the central government, were assigned to the provinces. They had nothing to do with the civilian affairs of their area of assignment. Their sole duty was enlisting the men for the armed forces, whom the town and provincial officials dutifully provided, organizing, training and equipping them. In times of war, unmarried men between the age of 25 and 50 could be called to arms. A Republican Militia was also to be established in every town, to be composed of youths who had reached 20. No one is excused from serving in the militia. From this militia would be drawn the men for the Filipino Army "when there is a lack of volunteers." A most significant provision of this Decree was that it enjoined all military commanders "to treat their men like their sons and acts of cruelty or abuses by them against their men would be severely punished" . In an age when brutalizing recruits is an accepted practise in the training and regimentation of trainees in modern armies, this particular provision reflects the deep-rooted kapatiran so openly advocated by the Katipunan ideals from which the Filipino Peopleâ€™s Army grew.
Since most of the prospective recruits would be inadequately educated, the said Constitution also provided for the establishment of military schools "for the teaching and training of all the different arms of the army and navy and â€¦ to have the non-commissioned officers taught in the barracks the knowledge comprised in elementary courses" . Enlisted men would be allowed to attend the said military schools to enable them to compete for promotion to the officer class. It also provided for promotion to be based on length and merit of services to be "established at proceedings where the parties concerned shall be heard" .
In another Decree issued on June 6, 1898, Aguinaldo ordered that provinces be divided into Military Zones. Each zone was to be headed by a military chief, and all zones in every province was led by a Provincial Military Chief appointed by Aguinaldo. The organization of provinces into zones was made in accordance with the provinces' topographical and strategic military value with the aim of achieving prompt and immediate mobilization of the troops stationed in each province in case of military exigencies. Also, the division of the province into military zones was made in accordance with the size and number of towns and population. Hence, the various units bore such designations as Bulacan Battalion, Batangas Brigade, Kawit Battalion, Laguna Regiment or Tarlak Battalion. In many instances in the later part of the war with the Americans, units were known or named after their commanders, a practise not unknown even in the modern armies of Europe, South America or other countries in Asia.
Regular companies and battalions were also organized. On June 22, 1898 Aguinaldo issued a decree detailing the procedures and composition of armed companies in each place where troops were to be raised or stationed: "The rank of the officers of each town shall depend upon the number of troops therein. For every 11 soldiers armed with rifles, there shall be one corporal, making 12 in all. For each two corporals, one sergeant, for each sergeant, one second lieutenant, and for each 100 soldiers, including the corporals and sergeants (which shall form a company), there shall be one first lieutenant and one captain. These grades or positions may be filled by election by the soldiers of each town and must be approved by the government after examination of the record of the services rendered by the nominees. Appointments to grades higher than that of captain shall be made by this government."
Part of the effort to streamline the Army of the Philippine Republic was its subordination to the Department of War which was created sometime in June 1898. President Aguinaldo appointed Gen. Baldomero Aguinaldo as the first Secretary of War on July 15, 1898. In turn, his department was composed of two bureaus â€“ the War Bureau and the Bureau of Public Works. The War Bureau was composed of the following offices: the Campaign Division, the Division of Military Justice, the Division of Military Administration, the Division of Military Sanitation. The Bureau of Public Works was composed of the following offices: 1. The first division was in charge "of everything relating to the works of fortification, of roads, bridges and others which military operations demand in accordance with plans"; 2. the second division had charge "of all relating to works intended for common use in the provinces and towns", and 3. the third division, the branch of communications.
According to Dery, the War Department achieved greater efficiency during the tenure of General Antonio Luna, when the latter served as Assistant Secretary of War and Director of War from September 1898 until his assassination on June 5, 1899. Through his initiative, the status and condition of the different troops of the Philippine government scattered throughout the country were monitored, the armaments and military needs of the Army regularly inventoried, and the establishment of arsenals, quartermasters, communications systems as well as other systems vital to the military operations and functions of the army were implemented. This set of military assignments and distributions were to continue until the break out of the Philippine-American war on February 4, except for minor changes with the addition of liberated towns and provinces.
But civilian authority in the provinces established by the June 18 decree could not effectively function amid hostilities and the growing American threat, prompting Aguinaldo to hold a Council of Government meeting on December 13, 1898. The council decided that the provinces under the Philippine Republic should be governed by the politico-military system of government, a system where the head of the province exercised both military and civilian powers. Under this system, the politico-military governor would be assisted by the following officials: a First Judge Advocate, a Second Judge Advocate, a Military Secretary, and a Civil Secretary. The towns of every province were to be divided into districts and each district to be headed by a military officer. In effect, a military system of government was implemented in all areas under the control of the Philippine Republic.
The United States, which has been gearing to expand its global trade, was attempting to expand into East Asia, and the Philippines was seen as ripe for the picking. It was the US which pampered Aguinaldo, and it became a matter of time before its expanding forces would gobble up the islands. US forces fought against the Spaniards in Cuba and showed themselves to be on the side of the anti-colonial forces in the Caribbean colony. It was a completely different story in the Philippines and it was only a matter of time before its true intentions would be exposed. The treaty of Paris which was signed on December 10, 1898 between Spain and the U.S. made the planned American seizure of the Philippines official, wherein Spain ceded the Philippines to the Americans for ,000,000 even as the Americans controlled only a few isolated outposts in the country. At the time after the surrender of Manila, the Spanish government was transferred to Iloilo under General Diego de los Rios.
American intentions were far less noble than they were willing to admit. They accommodated Aguinaldo and all those revolutionaries who fought so valiantly against the Spaniards so long as these served their interests. When their expeditionary troops finally arrived, they have no more need for their erstwhile Filipino allies and now planned to take over the islands. This had been what they were planning all along. No less than US President William McKinley expressed alarm over the operations of the revolutionary forces, and justified military operations in his communications to the Secretary of War on December 21, 1898: "â€¦ the necessity of extending the actual occupation and administration of the city, harbor and bay of Manila to the whole territory which by the Treaty of Paris â€¦ passed from the sovereignty of Spain to the sovereignty of the United States, and the consequent establishment of military government throughout the entire group of the Philippine islands."
After the taking of Manila on August 13, 1898, more American expeditions arrived to reinforce Meritt's army, as follows: Fourth Expedition, 172 officers, 4720 men and 17 civilians, arrived in Manila on August 21, 1898, under the command of General Elwell Otis; Fifth Expedition, 233 officers and 6258 men, arrived in Manila, November 21, 1898, under Brig. Gen. Charles King; and Sixth Expedition, 69 officers, 2505 men and 3 civilians arrived in Manila, February 23,1899, under Brig. Gen. Lloyd Wheaton, bringing the total number of American troops in the Philippines by the end of February 1899 to 25,000. On the other hand, the Filipino army numbered only around 20,000 after partial demobilization following the victory over Spain. Of these, 15,000 were armed with rifles and the rest had only bolos, bamboo lances, and bows and arrows.
The planned invasion of the Philippines appealed to different Americans in different ways, It offered material opportunities for the greedy, military honor for the idealistic, and respectable adventure for the restless. Military officers would win promotions and prestige.
The First War Fought As An Army of An Independent Republic
At about 8:30 p.m., Saturday, February 4, 1899, an American sentry, Private Robert W. Greyson, of the Nebraska Volunteers, shot and killed a Filipino soldier named Corporal Anastacio Felix of the 4th Company, Morong Battalion under Captain Serapio Narvaez, who tried to cross the bridge in San Juan del Monte, a Manila suburb. Greyson fired the first shot of the war, and the first casualty was a Filipino patriot. This sparked the Philippine-American War.
In retaliation for the death of their comrade, Filipino troops at San Juan del Monte opened fire on the American line at Sta. Mesa. The companies of the Morong Battalion under Captain Narvaez and Captain Vicente Ramos charged the American positions and pushed back Greysonâ€™s unit and even captured an American artillery piece. "By 10 o'clock at night," said James LeRoy "the American troops were engaged for two miles from Pasig river north and west."At daybreak of February 5, however, the reinforced Americans counterattacked and retook their original positions.
The Filipino troops were caught off-balance, being unprepared for combat that night. Many of their officers were absent, either visiting their families or attending one of the numerous parties celebrating the victory over Spain. General Ricarte, commanding officer of the troops in Sta. Ana, and Col. Luciano San Miguel, were attending a Ball. General Antonio Luna was in San Fernando, Pampanga on a week-end furlough. Many others were similarly indisposed. The Army is sorely lacking in properly trained military officers as well as in armaments and other equipment.
The severe shortage in rifles is remedied by a system so aptly described by General MacArthur : ""They have such an excess of men that their fighting line was accompanied by many men without arms. One of the great problems for solution in a modern war is to supply the firing line with ammunition, and the insurgents did that admirably, because they had men bearing ammunition who had no guns and it was their duty to feed the firing lines with ammunition and to remove the wounded. The moment a man was wounded they would seize his gun. Moreover, many of the Filipino soldiers were still using bolos and the bow and arrow. The bolos were most effective in close combat. For their artillery, they had a few muzzle-loading cannons, which were not only obsolete but also inaccurate. They also had a few Hotchkiss and Gatling machineguns which, according to Capt. Sexton, were considered so precious that regardless of the tactical situation, they were often taken out of action at a critical time and withdrawn to the rear in order to avoid the possibility of capture."
On the other hand, the Americans were on the alert, superbly trained, adequately-led and lavishly equipped. At the outbreak of hostilities, the order "Follow the prepared plan" was sent swiftly to all regimental commanders who immediately staged the offensive in all fronts "with precision and alacrity." As fighting was raging in La Loma, Colonel John M. Stotsenburg, leading the Nebraska Volunteers, crossed the San Juan bridge, and captured the Manila waterworks reservoir. The Idaho Volunteers under Major McConville, crossed the Pasig river and stormed Pandacan which was defended by General Pio del Pilar.
At the outbreak of war, Luzon was divided into four military areas of command, namely : (1) Northern Luzon, (2) Southern Luzon, (3) Central Luzon and (4) Manila and its environs. On February 7, 1899, General Mariano Trias was made Military Governor of Cavite and Commander-in-Chief of all Filipino forces in southern Luzon covering the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Tayabas, Batangas, Ambos Camarines, Mindoro and its adjacent islands with Brigadier General Miguel Malvar as his second-in-command. On February 20, Luna was promoted to the rank of Major General and placed in overall command of all Filipino forces the Manila area. Lunaâ€™s command consist of five Brigades under Generals Pantaleon Garcia, Mariano Llanera, Licerio Geronimo, Mariano Noriel and Pio del Pilar.
In the meantime, the California volunteers attacked Santa Ana, Ricarte's sector, while the Oregon Regiment assaulted Gagalangin, under the fourth Zone of Manila being defended by the Manila Battalion of General Pantaleon Garcia. During the battle in Gagalangin, a German observer, Prince Ludwig von Loewenstein, was accidentally killed by a stray American bullet. Despite several initial victories, the Americans were finding out to their dismay that this war is far from being a walkover despite General Otisâ€™ boast that it will only take two weeks to destroy the Philippine Army.
An American correspondent covering the war commented that " ...they were desperate fighters, after their fashion and compassed marches on rations insufficient to keep an American soldier alive. an occasional handful of rice supplemented by a chance frog or mudfish amply satisfy their hunger and the uncontrollable thirst which tortured European soldiers they did not seem to feel"
The Filipinos fought so ferociously that they inflicted many casualties on the enemy. According to LeRoy, the American losses in the battles of the night of February 4th and 5th were 234, of whom 50 were killed, while the Filipino casualties reached more than 500 killed and 200 wounded. A vicious counterattack by the sandatahanes (militia) under Colonel Teodoro Sandico armed mainly with bolos on the night February 15 failed with the loss of a hundred of these valiant bolomen. A week later, General Luna made a last desperate attempt to retake Manila with 500 hand-picked men spearheaded by a unit under Colonel Francisco "Paco" Roman. These troops were supposed to be supported by other units such as the Kawit Battalion. The Filipinjos advanced as far as Binondo. The sandatahanes sowed confusion by setting fire to several buildings in Quiapo, Tondo, Binondo and Sampaloc and by attacking American fire-fighting units. As a last measure, the Americans used massive artillery bombardments to clear the area of Filipino troops. The attack plan, though a good one, failed for lack of coordinaiton and sufficient firepower although General Luna managed to provide artillery support by using a single Krupp breech-loading canon firing a six-inch projectile weighing 80 pounds and manned by Spanish prisoners with MacArthurâ€™s Headquarters at the house of Horace L. Higgins as target. This singular artillery piece was neutralized by American counter-battery fire.
In the subsequent bloody battle of La Loma, Major Jose Torres Bugallon, one of Luna's bravest aides fell mortally wounded. Luna personally carried him from the battlefield to Caloocan railroad station, but he died before he could be sent to Malolos for treatment. On the same day, the fighting Filipinos avenged the death of Major Torres Bugallon by killing Major McConville, battalion commander of the Idaho Volunteers, at Pandacan and Lieutenant and James Mitchell of the US 14th Infantry in Paco.
The fall of Caloocan and the capture of the railways' rolling stock reduced the transport system of the Filipino army to the horse-drawn or carabao-drawn carriages, all of which could not quickly carry the wounded out of the battlefields and bring in fresh troops and provisions to the fighting men. Chronic lack of funds also plagued the Filipino forces, which were unable to pay the owners of the requisitioned animals. Still, the Filipinos managed to use an effective transport system to which the American foes admire them for their creativity and inventiveness.
As US military pressure mounted and reverses hounded the revolutionary forces, the organization and structure of the army of the Philippine Republic underwent changes. Measures were adopted by the Filipino leaders to arrest the disorganization and demoralization in the rank and file of the Filipino army, especially in cases of death or vacancy in any unit's leadership. Deputies up to the third level were appointed to ensure that the chain of command will not be hampered.
Massive recruitment was also done through various measures. Strict rules were applied to intensify the entry of fresh troops. Only the following conditions were followed relative to exemptions from recruitment: "Termination of the campaign, by having completed three years of service, and by having attained 38 years of age." Demoralized soldiers were to be disarmed and their arms turned over to the recruits. Soldiers who would destroy, waste, abandon, or sell their rifle and ammunition or who would commit any act of insubordination, cowardice, or desertion, or who would abuse and maltreat any civilian would be subject to severe penalties, particularly death. Central to these measures were the directives addressed to the inhabitants, warning them not to serve or give aid to the Americans as to do so would render them subject to heavy penalties. General Antonio Luna's measures were more severe - anybody who would refuse directly or indirectly to give aid to the Filipino cause or who would disobey military orders would be shot without trial.
In the face of these reversals, Filipino leaders implemented other measures designed to sustain the morale of their soldiers. These measures included the grant of pensions for the widows and children of soldiers killed in combat, awards and promotions for soldiers who performed exemplary or heroic deeds in times of combat, promotion in ranks as well as pecuniary awards for soldiers who captured an enemy. Those disabled were also to be given pensions according to their ranks.
The Army Shifts to Guerrilla Warfare
Shortly after the invading forces under Major Gen. Arthur MacArthur had captured Calumpit, Bulacan, Luna temporarily left the battlefront and moved to a safe distance from the invading Americans to organize a new cabinet presided over by him as Secretary of War as circumstances proved that the presidency of the Cabinet by Pedro Paterno was inutile. His other purpose was to organize the revolutionary forces for guerrilla war, which he believed would be a protracted one, and for which he said the Filipino people must prepare. According to a close colleague, Gen. Jose Alejandrino, in his "Price for Freedom," "Luna sent officers to Benguet to select a site for General Headquarters of guerrillas whose operations would start the moment Tarlak fell. He planned to present tenacious resistance in those mountain paths which were easy to defend and suitable for guerrilla warfare. He began to send there prisoners convicted of cowardice and other crimes to plant sweet potatoes and other food plants to increase the resources of Benguet. It is clear from Luna's plan that the Mountain Province would be converted into a base area where the revolutionary forces could build their strength while harassing and staging attacks against the American forces. This sanctuary, according to the plan, would be self-sufficient not only in ammunition but also in food.
Unfortunately for the Army, before General Luna effectively put this plan into operation, he was assassinated on June 5, 1899 by soldiers of the Kawit Battalion (the same unit that he accused of having failed to support his attack on Manila) under Captain Pedro Janolino at Aguinaldoâ€™s own Headquarters in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Meanwhile, the Americans resumed thier offensive. With a force of 950 officers and 23,000, General Otis made his move. His target was Malolos, the capital of the First Philippine Republic, a historic town about 25 miles northwest of Manila. The Filipino forces, using conventional warfare, offered stiff resistance at Malinta near Polo to General Wheaton's brigade under MacArthur's Division. At the close of the same day, Malinta, Polo and Meycauyan, all in flames, were taken. Throughout those battles, Aguinaldo ignored his generals, and refused to adopt guerrilla warfare against the Americans. He still nurtured hopes that he might find an accommodation with the Americans. In fact, he was so sure that the US would abandon its expansionist plans that detailed arms build-up was not made until the breakout of the war, when his generals were forced to improvise hastily.
Finally, on November 13, 1899, Aguinaldo and his leading officers held a crucial meeting of the Council of War in Bayambang, Pangasinan and there decided to disband the regular field forces of the Republic and give the Filipino field commanders broad powers to conduct guerrilla war against the Americans in their respective areas of jurisdiction. He retained overall command of the Army of the Republic. The Filipino forces were to continue as "roving bands and as guerrillas." Historian John M. Taylor aptly summed up what was in store for the American forces and what would be the nature of the succeeding struggle following the Filipinos' adopting guerrilla warfare â€“ that "there was no henceforth no hard and fast line between civilians and soldiers. The people of the archipelago were to be Aguinaldo's army."
Once the US attack was under way, the guerrillas made sure that the Americans were fighting in conditions to which they were totally unaccustomed, rendering traditional US tactics useless. Moreover, they also had the benefit of fighting over home ground, near their bases. It was clear, however, that victory would not be easy. The guerrillas made lightning attacks on army barracks and police stations, and daring daylight ambushes were carried out by small groups of men. It was also during the Council of War meeting that the following were appointed as overall military commanders of the following areas: Major General Pantaleon Garcia for Central Luzon, General Vito Belarmino for Southern Luzon, and General Miguel Malvar for Manila and adjacent provinces. Succession to said commands was also provided for as implied in the broad powers granted to said commanders as supreme in their respective jurisdictions. They were vested with full and extraordinary powers to issue proclamation, levy contributions of war, and adopt all measures conducive to the good service of the country.
The Americans were obviously uneasy with hit-and-run warfare, and many soldiers were demoralized. Unused to fighting under the searing sun, and weighed down by more than 40 pounds of gear, many of them succumbed to the heat. Many died upon being afflicted with parasites in the mountains and in the plains. Diseases like malaria, dysentery and cholera killed a large number of US troops. US officers knew little about territories beyond Northern Cavite and Northwest Laguna. The maps they had bore Spanish cartographic information which were badly out of date. In contrast, Filipinos had superior knowledge of the terrain, which compensated for their lack of materiel and marksmanship. The Filipino forces were at first able to hold the American forces off. During the following weeks, however, the Filipino defences were drastically weakened. They ran short of supply, and their supply lines were stretched to the limit, and they practised 'scorched earth' policy, destroying all local resources as they retreated.
The American government then switched tactics, apart from sending in more reinforcements and war materiel, to quell the guerrillas. These new recruits, highly trained with superb marksmanship, fought terror with terror with the guerrillas. But even these were only partially successful . What finally brought down the Filipino Army in defeat years later were a combination of brutal repression against the whole populace, betrayal by some of the erstwhile leaders of the revolution, American deceit and outright massacres.
The changing fortunes in the battlefield compelled Aguinaldo to move constantly. His odyssey had begun. From Cabanatuan, he moved his government to Tarlak and then to Bayambang, Pangasinan. On March 23, 1901 he was finally captured by the American forces at Palanan, Isabela where he remained for more than six months. His capture involved a ruse by which pro-American Macabebe scouts dressed in rayadillo uniforms pretended to be reinforcements bringing in five American prisoners to Palanan. On April 1, 1901, Aguinaldo took his oath of allegiance to the United States. Many Filipino commanders ceased resistance against the US, and many of the ilustrados and former officials of the Malolos Congress yielded to the new colonial overlords. Some of them did so after realizing the futility of fighting the US. Most of those who yielded never desired to do so but only strove to spare the country and people of suffering. Still, there were those who surrendered who were motivated by material gains and their opportunism was amply rewarded with choice posts in the US-controlled government and army.
The Army Fights On
The capitulation and collaboration of some Filipino leaders and their men did not stop the remnants of the Army from fighting on. In contrast to the collaborators (Americanistas), the top commanders of the republic, Generals Vicente Lucban, Mariano Noriel, Miguel Malvar, Artemio Ricarte and Luciano San Miguel continued to fight. Despite claims of final victory, the Americansâ€™ own reports to Washington stated that large areas of the country were still in a state of conflict. This could be gleaned from the growing size of the American pacification forces. Although 70,000 American soldiers were already fighting on Philippine soil in 1900, their number continued to increase. In fact, the greatest number of military posts, 639, was not reached until December 1901, six months after the establishment of civil government. All in all, over 126,000 troops took part in the war of suppression. On July 7, 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the "insurrection" officially ended, 50,000 American soldiers were still trying to suppress Filipino resistance.
To augment their troops and to maintain the illusion that peace is finally being won, the Americans created the Philippine Constabulary on July 18,1901. Its purpose was to continue the pacification campaigns using the locals to quell further resistance by revolutionaries which the Americans insist in calling bandits. The majority of this native force were initially made up of Macabebe scouts although there was recruitment from other tribes as well. On November 4, 1901, the Americans passed the Sedition Law which forbade treason, insurrection and sedition and prohibited the advocacy of independence from the United States, and promised a fitting punishment to those who aided the guerrillas in any way. Despite these efforts, the war raged on.
The Army of the Republic Under General Malvar
Upon assuming Aguinaldo's post, General Malvar issued on April 28, 1901 various orders and instruction to all officers and men of the revolutionary army. In particular, he enjoined all Filipino commanders and politico-military chiefs to maintain peace and order in their areas, prosecute and punish lawless elements and traitors and prevent military abuses of their men, seek the populace's continued support and conduct guerrilla warfare against the Americans.
Under his leadership, the Army of the First Philippine Republic assumed a new name â€“ the Army of Liberation â€“ to reinvigorate the armed resistance against the American enemy. Malvar had gathered 5,000 men under him, a formidable guerrilla force that compelled the American General J. Franklin Bell to field and personally lead an equivalent force. General Malvar organized a new military organizational set-up for the country
Malvar and the officers and men under them continued to fight bravely and managed to inflict several defeats on the Americans. But the invaders were determined to crush all resistance and soon embarked on a brutal campaign of suppression unlike any that they have undertaken before. Tortures, massacres, reconcentration, depopulation and savage reprisals were carried out to levels that even the Spaniards never achieved. The reprisals were especially bloody following battlefield defeats like the American massacres in Samar following General Lukbanâ€™s spectacularly successful raid in Balanggiga that resulted in the virtual annihilation of Company "C" of the 9th Infantry Regiment on September 28, 1901.
Yet despite some successes, the brutal war inflicted on the civilian popuilace told heavily on Malvarâ€™s troops. One by one, his generals in the field began to surrender. In February 1902, General Lukban, surrendered followed by General Noriel in March. And on April 16, 1902, General Malvar himself surrendered without naming any successor to carry on the fight. General Ola, who had at one time 1,500 men with 150 guns, surrendered on September of the following year.
On July 4, 1902, the United States announced the end of the Philippine campaign and the termination of the military government. But, as it turned out, the Army is not yet finished. There are still others who will continue the fight.
The Armyâ€™s Irreconcilables
In September of 1902, the groups that had been operating in Rizal and Bulacan merged into a consolidated movement with General Luciano San Miguel as supreme military commander. San Miguel had kept three hundred armed men with two hundred guns. They continued to grow in strength, raiding towns like Taytay, Cainta, and Montalban. The American and Constabulary leaders were so harassed by San Miguel that they offered generous terms of surrender but the latter simply laughed them off. It took the full weight of the American and Constabulary commands in Cavite and Rizal totalling 600 American and Macabebe troops to finally put an end to the career of General San Miguel. In his third and final battle at Corral-na-Bato on March 27, 1903, San Miguel was killed and his men scattered. Like Gorio del Pilar before him, San Miguel died a true heroâ€™s death. But even then, savage resistance continued.
Following the death of San Miguel, Faustino Guillermo, a comrade and another Katipunan original, assumed the leadership of the new Katipunan. He had fought with Jacinto at San Juan del Monte. The American authorities dubbed his group the Diliman gang and claimed that his men were mere cattle rustlers. Being San Miguel's second-in-command, Guillermo became the object of persistent attacks. The leader of the Constabulary detachment in that area, Lieutenant Licerio Geronimo, a former general of the revolutionary forces that killed General Lawton in December 19,1899, interestingly was no match to Guillermo and his force of only fifty riflemen and fifty bolomen. While Lieutenant Geronimo was waiting for reinforcements, Guillermo wearing a shirt of Geronimo's that he had captured in a previous skirmish, attacked the Constabulary post in San Jose, Bulacan, and captured the entire garrison.
Soon after, Geronimo got even when he managed to capture Guillermo. He infiltrated several of his constable secretas into Guillermoâ€™s group by pretending to be defectors. Once inside the camp, these secretas captured Guillermo and turned him over to Captain Keithley. Faustino Guillermo was executed in the public squares of Pasig in May 1904, thus ending the Rizal-Bulacan resistance.
The north also had its share of "irreconcilables". Roman Manalang was a general of the Revolutionary Army who operated in Pangasinan and Zambales where he built up a substantial following. He made good use of various caves in the area. One cave could be entered only from the top of the mountain and required a drop of fifty-four feet of rope. The group's camps were well-built and protected by stone retrenchments, one of them being large enough to accommodate one hundred men. Followers of Manalang captured after his death showed documents of appointment signed by Manalang which declared they were officers of the Katipunan.
In Isabela, the resistance was continued by Manuel Tomines, a former revolutionary officer. His second in command was Maurice Sibley, an American deserter who married an Igorot woman. Captured, Tomines swore at his trial that he had been commissioned by a secret group in Manila under General Ricarte to organize resistance in Isabela. He stated that there existed in Manila a club of ex-officers of the revolution headed by Ananias Diokno and that its members had taken oath to take to the field and fight again when called. This group had instructed him to lead an uprising in the Cagayan Valley and for this purpose he, Tomines, had given commissions for himself and for his officers signed by Ricarte. He also testified that their guns were retained and hidden before a brother officer surrendered to the Americans. Tomines was sentenced to death and hanged on April 10, 1905.
The revival of the Katipunan culminated with the consolidation of several resistance groups in the Rizal-Cavite-Laguna-Batangas. These forces were led by Macario Sakay, Julian Montalan and Cornelio Felizardo. Their group remained large enough to require the assignment of 1,200 government troops to this area. Macario Sakay, a former barber from Tondo and one of the Katipunan originals organized by Bonifacio, organized his set of officers under the Supreme Government of the Republika ng Katagalugan. Contrary to common belief, this Republika encompasses the entire Philippines and not just the Tagalog provinces. Sakay also came out with a Constitution which provided for the following: a Council of Ministers (composed of the Supreme President, Vice President, and Ministers of War and Navy, State, Grace and Justice, Treasury, and Promotion), a House of Representatives, and a civil government. Sakay's generals, like him, wore their hair long and made it a symbol of their continued mockery of alien rule. It was not until 1907 when the Americans used Dominador Gomez as an unknowing tool, that Sakay was persuaded to come down from the hills to avail of an amnesty, then treacherously arrested. He was hanged as a bandit in the old Bilibid compound on Friday, September 13, 1907. At their last moments, Sakay and his foremost officer Colonel Lucio de Vega shouted, "Mga tunay na Katipunan kami !" One of their companions, Julian ("Makabayan") Montalan, who was supposed to be hanged with them, had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1921 and died shortly before the Japanese Invasion.
The Last of the Armyâ€™s Irreconcilables
General Artemio Ricarte (El Vibora) refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States and was therefore deported to Guam in January 1901, together with Mabini and other "irreconcilables." He returned to Manila in December 1903, as a stowaway. He tried to rally his fellow officers and his countrymen behind him with a proclamation announcing his return and even tried to establish contact with General Sakay. Resistance had become fragmented and localized that Ricarte failed to come up with a cohesive fighting force. He also did not have the charisma, the stature nor the vision to reunify the struggle. Still, he was able to issue commissions to some former colonels and others of lesser rank as officers of a "Revolutionary Army of the Philippines." Ricarte was finally captured in April 1904 and sentenced to six years in prison for conspiracy and subversion. He was allowed to return to the Philippine in February 1909, but refused again to take the oath. Freed in 1910, he was still defiant. For this, he was deported again, this time to Hong Kong. Although out of the country, he continued his conspirational activities and as late as 1912 and 1914, he and his group were involved in two aborted uprisings.
With the final defeat of the Army of the First Philippine Republic in 1907, the aspirations of the people for freedom from foreign domination was again suppressed, this time by a newer and far more powerful foe, the Americans. It is a sad fact that only the existence of a strong and popularly supported Army could ensure a peopleâ€™s right to be left alone and live in freedom. Perhaps it is only fitting that the Army went down in defeat as it had come into existence, as a Katipunan entity in its original form. For only those who were with her in the beginning were with her in the end. The long list of irreconcileables could easily be identified as among those who were original members of the Katipunan of 1896. San Miguel, Montalan, Sakay, Ricarte, Tomines, Manalang, Guillermo and many others. But the bitter irony is that these people who started the revolution lost control over it to the members of the educated classes who appropriated it as their own in the glorious victory over the Spaniards, then abandoned it in the face of the Yanqui invader. When the original revolutionaries reclaimed the Revolution, they were branded as bandits and bandoleros and hunted down by the Americans aided by their erstwhile comrades in the Filipino Republican Army officered by the members of the same ilustrado class who had once claimed the revolution as their own.
Yes, the Army was defeated and in its defeat, the Republic which it had tried so valiantly to defend ceased to exist. Yet, even in defeat, the Armyâ€™s veterans could look back with pride at what they had accomplished. It was the first Army in Asia ever to defeat a western power like Spain. It was on its battlefield victories that the first democratic Republic in Asia was founded. And it took the frustrated Americans eight years, 4,234 combat fatalities (not including those who died due to other causes or Filipinos who died in American service), the deployment of 126,468 officers and men and over $ 600 million before it can claim complete victory. And to think that the government it was defending was wracked by internal squabbles, power struggles, mass defections and disunity. Perhaps, if the Army had been better supported by those on whom it counted on, if the leaders in the government had been more united, the outcome of the war with America would have been different. The Army could have fought the Yanquis to a bloody stalement, perhaps even forcing a negotiated settlement just as they forced the Spanish Governor-General Rivera to negotiate at Biac-na-Bato. Such was the plan as envisioned by General Luna when he first proposed the organization of a mountain redoubt to serve as the refuge of the Republic. But the great man died and there was no one who could offer a viable alternative. The men and women who remained fought doggedly on as best as they could, as long as they could, until no one was left anymore to continue the fight. The first, bloody, glorious Chapter of the Army is over. Another one is about to begin, in the crucible of another war, in another age, against another foe, when the enemy of yesterday became the comrades-in-arms of tomorrow.