February 26, 1903, Apolinario Mabini, the sublime paralytic, took the oath of allegiance to the United States
Apolinario Mabini was the head of Emilio Aguinaldo’s cabinet until May 7, 1899. He was named the sublime paralytic by his admirers.
When the Filipino-American war broke out and Aguinaldo’s government became disorganized, he fled to Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija Province, carried in a hammock. He was captured there by the Americans and Macabebe Scouts on Dec. 10, 1899. He was detained in Fort Santiago from Dec. 11, 1899 to Sept. 23, 1900, and was exiled to Guam, together with other Filipino patriots on Jan. 16, 1901.
In Guam, Mabini’s failing health filled him with concern that he might die on foreign soil. He then decided to take the oath of allegiance to the United States – a condition for his return to the Philippines. He was taken to Manila from Guam on the U.S. transport Thomas and on February 26, 1903, Apolinario Mabini, the sublime paralytic, took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America, before the Collector of Customs. Mabini who had on two previous occasions refused to do so, said in his manifesto:
“I went into this struggle, heeding the voice of the people; I now abandon the struggle for the same cause. I will now return to the obscurity from which, impelled by circumstances, I have come”.
He claimed no honors, nor asked for any reward. He had done his duty to the land he loved, and nothing else mattered.
Mabini went on to live alone in his humble nipa home on the outskirts of Manila, like a man who sees the last glorious rays of his descending sun, Mabini thought less of the future and more of the past.
Mabini was not to live long in seclusion. The last of fate’s unkind gestures toward him came on May 13, 1903, when he was stricken with cholera. He was then but 38 years of age. With his death there passed away, in the words of Teodoro M. Kalaw:
“A Malayan statesman of immeasurable talent, possessing neither previous experience nor universal political culture, yet great for his sagacity and foresight and powerful for his firmness and patriotism.”