Emilio Famy Aguinaldo was born on 22 March 1869 in Cavite Viejo (present-day Kawit), in Cavite (province), to Carlos Aguinaldo and Trinidad Famy, a Chinese mestizo couple who had eight children, the seventh of whom was Emilio. The Aguinaldo family was quite well-to-do, as his father, Carlos Aguinaldo was the community's appointed gobernadorcillo (municipal governor) in the Spanish colonial administration.
Emilio became the "Cabeza de Barangay" of Binakayan, a chief barrio of Cavite del Viejo, when he was only 17 years old.
On 1 January 1896, he married Hilaria del Rosario (1877–1921). They had five children: Carmen Aguinaldo Melencio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Jr, Maria Aguinaldo Poblete, Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay and Miguel Aguinaldo. Hilaria died of leprosy on 6 March 1921 at the age of 45. Nine years later, on 14 July 1930, Aguinaldo married Maria Agoncillo (15 February 1879 – 1963) at Barasoain Church. She died on 29 May 1963 at the age of 82, a year before Aguinaldo himself.
In 1894, Aguinaldo joined the "Katipunan", a secretive organization led by Andrés Bonifacio, dedicated to the expulsion of the Spanish and independence of the Philippines through armed force.(p77) Aguinaldo used the nom de guerre Magdalo, in honor of Mary Magdalene.(p179) His local chapter of the Katipunan, headed by his cousin Baldomero Aguinaldo, was also called Magdalo.
On January 1, 1895, Aguinaldo became a Freemason, joining Pilar Lodge No. 203, Imus, Cavite. He would later say:
“The Successful Revolution of 1896 was masonically inspired, masonically led, and masonically executed, and I venture to say that the first Philippine Republic of which I was its humble President, was an achievement we owe largely, to Masonry and the Masons.”
The Katipunan revolt against the Spanish began in the last week of August 1896 in San Juan del Monte (now part of Metro Manila).(p176) However, Aguinaldo and other Cavite rebels initially refused to join in the offensive alleging lack of arms. Their absence contributed to Bonifacio's defeat. While Bonifacio and other rebels were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare, Aguinaldo and the Cavite rebels won major victories in set-piece battles, temporarily driving the Spanish out of their area.
On 17 February 1897 Aguinaldo and a group of katipuneros defeated Spanish forces led by General Camilo de Polavieja at the Battle of Zapote Bridge in Cavite. General Edilberto Evangelista, civil engineer, revolutionary and trench builder, was killed in the battle. The province of Cavite gradually emerged as the Revolution's hotbed, and the Aguinaldo-led katipuneros had a string of victories there.
Conflict between the Magdalo and Magdiwang Katipunan factions led to Bonifacio's intervention in the province of Cavite.(pp178–182) The Cavite rebels then made overtures about establishing a revolutionary government in place of the Katipunan.(p182) Though Bonifacio already considered the Katipunan to be a government, he acquiesced and presided over a convention held on 22 March 1897 in Tejeros, Cavite. There, the republic of the Philippines was proclaimed, with Aguinaldo being elected president. Bonifacio was elected Director of the Interior but, after Daniel Tirona questioned his qualifications for that position, became angered and declared "I, as chairman of this assembly, and as President of the Supreme Council of the Katipunan, as all of you do not deny, declare this assembly dissolved, and I annul all that has been approved and resolved."(p178)
Execution of Bonifacio
Bonifacio refused to recognize the revolutionary government headed by Aguinaldo and attempted to reassert his authority, accusing the Aguinaldo faction of treason and by issuing orders contravening orders issued by the Aguinaldo faction.(p188) At Aguinaldo's orders, Bonifacio and his brothers were arrested and, in a mock trial lasting one day, convicted of treason, and sentenced to death.(pp189–190) After some vacillation, Aguinaldo initially commuted the death sentence. Andrés and Procopio were executed by firing squad on 10 May 1897 at Mount Buntis, Maragondon, Cavite.(p249)
On the same day as the execution of the Bonifacio brothers, the Spanish army launched an attack which forced insurgent forces under Aguinaldo into a general retreat.(pp249–250) On 24 June 1897 Aguinaldo arrived at Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan, and established a permanent headquarters there, located in Biak-na-Bato National Park in what is now known as Aguinaldo Cave.
In late October 1897, Aguinaldo convened an assembly of generals at Biak-na Bato, where it was decided to establish a constitutional republic. A constitution patterned closely after the Cuban Constitution was drawn up by Isabelo Artacho and Felix Ferrer. The constitution provided for the creation of a Supreme Council composed of a president, a vice president, a Secretary of War, and a Secretary of the Treasury. Aguinaldo was named president.(p183–184)
Emilio Aguinaldo with the exiled revolutionaries in Hong Kong.
From as early as March 1897, Fernando Primo de Rivera, as Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines had been encouraging prominent Filipinos to contact Aguinaldo for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. On 9 August, Manila lawyer Pedro Paterno met with Aguinaldo at Biak-na-Bato with a proposal for peace based on reforms and amnesty. In succeeding months, Paterno conducted shuttle diplomacy, acting as an intermediary between de Rivera and Aguinaldo. On 14 December and 15 December 1897 Aguinaldo signed the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, under which Aguinaldo effectively agreed to end hostilities and dissolve his government in exchange for amnesty and "$800,000 (Mexican)" (Aguinaldo's description of the amount) as an indemnity.(p252) The documents were signed on 14 December and 15 December 1897. On 23 December, Aguinaldo and other insurgent officials departed for Hong Kong to enter voluntary exile. $400,000, representing the first installment of the indemnity, was deposited into Hong Kong banks.
While in exile, Aguinaldo reorganized his revolutionary government into the so-called "Hong Kong Junta" and enlarging it into the "Supreme Council of the Nation".(p253)
Return to the Philippines and Philippine Declaration of Independence
On April 25, the Spanish–American War began. While the war mostly focused on Cuba, the United States Navy's Asiatic Squadron was in Hong Kong, and commanded CommodoreGeorge Dewey, it sailed for the Philippines, one of two Spanish colonies in the Pacific (the other being Guam). On 1 May 1898, in the Battle of Manila Bay, the squadron engaged and destroyed the Spanish navy's Pacific Squadron and proceeded to blockade Manila.(pp255–256) Several days later, Dewey agreed to transport Aguinaldo from Hong Kong to the Philippines aboard the USS McCulloch, which left Hong Kong with Aguinaldo on May 16. arriving in Cavite on May 19. Aguinaldo promptly resumed command of revolutionary forces and besieged Manila.(pp256–257)
On 24 May 1898 in Cavite, Aguinaldo issued a proclamation in which he assumed command of all Philippine forces and established a dictatorial government with himself as dictator.
The insurgent First Philippine Republic was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on 21 January 1899 in Malolos, Bulacan and endured until the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on 23 March 1901 in Palanan, Isabela, which effectively dissolved the First Republic.
Personifying the United States, Uncle Sam chases a bee representing Emilio Aguinaldo, the president of the Philippine Islands from 22 March 1897 to 1 April 1901. In 1901, two years after this cartoon's publication, at the end of the Philippine–American War, Aguinaldo was captured by U.S. forces.
Aguinaldo boarding USS Vicksburg following his capture in 1901
On 12 August 1898, American forces captured Manila during the Battle of Manila and on 14 August 1898 established the United States Military Government of the Philippine Islands, with Major General Wesley Merritt as the first American Military Governor.(pp110–112) On the night of 4 February 1899, a Filipino was shot by an American sentry. This incident is considered the beginning of the Philippine–American War, and precipitated the 1899 Battle of Manila between American and Filipino forces. Superior American firepower drove Filipino troops away from the city, and Aguinaldo's government had to move from one place to another as the military situation developed.(pp268–270, 273–274) Aguinaldo led resistance to the Americans, then retreated to northern Luzon with the Americans on his trail.
On 23 March 1901, Aguinaldo was captured at his headquarters in Palanan, Isabela.:507–509 On 19 April 1901, Aguinaldo took an oath of allegiance to the United States, formally ending the First Republic and recognizing the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines.(pp274–275) After Aguinaldo's surrender, some Filipino commanders continued the revolution. On 30 July 1901 General Miguel Malvar issued a manifesto saying, "Forward, without ever turning back... All wars of independence have been obliged to suffer terrible tests!"(p275) General Malvar surrendered to U.S forces in Lipa, Batangas on 16 April 1902. The war was formally ended by a unilateral proclamation of general amnesty by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt on 4 July 1902.
During the American occupation, Aguinaldo supported groups that advocated immediate independence, and helped veterans of the struggle. He organized the Asociación de los Veteranos de la Revolución (Association of Veterans of the Revolution), which worked to secure pensions for its members and made arrangements for them to buy land on installment from the government.
The display of the Philippine flag was declared illegal by the Sedition Act of 1907. This law was repealed on 30 October 1919. Following this, Aguinaldo transformed his home in Kawit into a monument to the flag, the revolution and the declaration of Independence. As of 2011[update], his home still stands and is known as the Aguinaldo Shrine.
Aguinaldo retired from public life for many years. In 1935, when the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established in preparation for Philippine independence, he ran for president in the Philippine presidential election, 1935, but lost by a landslide to Manuel L. Quezon. The two men formally reconciled in 1941, when President Quezon moved Flag Day to 12 June, to commemorate the proclamation of Philippine independence. During the Japanese occupation, Aguinaldo cooperated with the Japanese, making speeches, issuing articles and radio addresses in support of the Japanese — including a radio appeal to Gen. Douglas MacArthur on Corregidor to surrender in order to "spare the innocence of the Filipino youth."(p285)
After the combined American and Filipino troops retook the Philippines, Aguinaldo was arrested along with several others accused of collaboration with the Japanese, and jailed for some months in Bilibid prison. He was released by presidential amnesty.(p2)
In 1950, President Elpidio Quirino appointed Aguinaldo as a member of the Council of State, where he served a full term. He returned to retirement soon after, dedicating his time and attention to veteran soldiers' "interests and welfare."
He was made an honorary Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, by the University of the Philippines in 1953.
In 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal changed the celebration of Independence Day from 4 July to 12 June. Aguinaldo rose from his sickbed to attend the celebration of independence 64 years after he declared it.
Death and Legacy
The Philippine 5 peso bill depicting Aguinaldo.
Aguinaldo was rushed to Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on October 5, 1962 where he stayed there for 469 days until he died of coronary thrombosis at age 94 on 6 February 1964. A year before his death, he donated his lot and mansion to the government. This property now serves as a shrine to "perpetuate the spirit of the Revolution of 1896."
In 1985, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas made a new 5-peso bill depicting a portrait of Aguinaldo on the front. The back features the declaration of the Philippine independence on 12 June 1898. Printing was discontinued in 1995, when it was replaced with a 5₱ coin whose obverse features a portrait of Aguinaldo.
23 January 1899 was the date of Aguinaldo's inauguration as President of the First Philippine Republic. Previously, he held positions as President of a Revolutionary Government from 22 March 1897 to 1 November 1897, President of the Biak-na-Bato Republic from 2 November 1897 to 15 December 1897, Head of a Dictatorial Government from 24 May 1898 to 22 June 1898, and President of another Revolutionary Government from 23 June 1898 to 22 January 1899.
1 April 1901 was the date of Aguinaldo's capture by American forces.
The Mexican dollar at the time was worth about 50 U.S. cents(p126)
Quezon took 67.99% of the popular vote; Aguinaldo 17.54%
On 12 May 1962, President Macapagal signed "Presidential Proclamation No. 28, Declaring 12 June as Philippine Independence Day". There is no doubt that President Macapagal intended the proclamation to have that effect and sources commonly assert this as fact, however the operative paragraph of the proclamation declares a single day, "Tuesday, June 12, 1962, as a special public holiday throughout the Philippines ...". On 4 August 1964, Republic Act No. 4166 proclaimed the twelfth day of June as the Philippine Independence Day and renamed the fourth of July holiday to "Philippine Republic Day".
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Wikisource has original works written by or about:
CAUTUSAN: Gobierno Revolucionario nang Filipinas at the Wayback Machine (archived December 11, 2007) [in Tagalog] A decree dated 2 January 1899 signed by Emilio Aguinaldo establishing a council of government.
Aguinaldo: A Narrative of Filipino Ambitions at the Wayback Machine (archived February 13, 2008) Book written by American Consul Wildman of Hong Kong regarding Emilio Aguinaldo and the Filipino–American War during the early 1900s.
General Emilio Aguinaldo’s “Confession” at the Wayback Machine (archived May 27, 2008). [in Tagalog]