May 10, 1897, Andres Bonifacio was Executed for Being Guilty of Treason and Sedition
On May 10, 1897, Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution and founder of the Katipunan, and his brother Procopio were executed in the mountains of Maragondon, Cavite by General Emilio Aguinaldo’s men for being guilty of treason and sedition. This occurred after the death sentence was commuted to indefinite exile by Aguinaldo.
Andres Bonifacio was born November 30, 1863 in Tondo, Manila. He studied in a school under the supervision of Gillermo Osmeña of Cebu. The death of his parents forced him to stop formal schooling in order to fend for his three brothers and two sisters. Nonetheless, Bonifacio was known to be a wide reader of various books such as Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Lives of the Presidents of the United States, International Law, the Penal and Civil Codes, among others. Known as the “Father of the Revolution,” he founded the Katipunan in 1892 and was one of the leaders of the armed revolt against the Spaniards.
Even before the Tejeros convention Andres Bonifacio had already been invited several times to visit Cavite in order to witness the achievements of the revolutionaries there and to mediate between the rival factions of the province – the Magdiwang and the Magdalo.
On March 22,1897, an assembly was called at Tejeros, Cavite. Bonifacio presided the conference to establish the Republic of the Philippines. In the election, Gen. Aguinaldo was elected President, Mariano Trias, Vice President, and Bonifacio as Secretary of the Interior.
Bonifacio, who acceded to the wish to establish a new government, was hurt and felt insulted when Daniel Tirona, one of Magdalo questioned his new position noting it was not proper for a person without a lawyer’s diploma to occupy it.
Hence, evoking his authority as the Supreme head of the Katipunan, he declared the proceedings void. The following day, March 23, Bonifacio and his followers met once more at the estate-house in Tejeros to officially reject and invalidate the elections that happened the previous day. For this purpose, the attendees affixed their signatures on a document called “Acta de Tejeros” which explicitly affirmed that the March 22 election was illegitimate and marred with fraud.
“Acta de Tejeros” (www.esquiremag.ph)
The following month, April 19, 1897, Bonifacio and his followers met again at an estate-house in Naik, Cavite to create another document that cemented their separation from Aguinaldo’s government – the “Acta de Naik” or the “Naik Military Agreement.” Aside from establishing an independent government, the agreement formed an army which was placed under the command of General Pio del Pilar, a Magdalo who defected to Banifacio’s group.
“Acta de Naik” (www.esquiremag.ph)
These developments led to the arrest of Bonifacio nad his brother Procopio in Limbon, Indang, Cavite. They were subjected to a court martial which which lasted from April 29 to May 4. On May 8, 1897, the judge of the military court, Gen. Baldomero Aguinaldo, recommended the verdict of death sentence for the Bonifacio brothers. President Emilio Aguinaldo commuted the punishment to exile but was persuaded by the likes of Gen. Mariano Noriel and Gen. Pio del Pilar, among others, to revert to the original verdict. The Bonifacio brothers were executed on the fateful day of May 10, 1897 at eh foot of Mt. Tala in Maragondon, Cavite.
Andres Bonifacio died at the age of 33.
Camagay, Maria Luisa T., Ancheta, Jopol Alvin C. Bernal, Michael S. Guiang, Francisco Jayme Paolo A, Malban, Francis Justine M., and Ramos II, Dondy Pepito G. Unraveling the Past. Readings in Philippine History. Manila, Philippines: Vibal Group, Inc., 2018.