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Bonifacio on trial

(Concluded from Wednesday)

There are more engaging items on the Internet than porn. For example, the trial of Andres Bonifacio can be accessed online—the original manuscript preserved in the National Library of the Philippines from: http://nlpdl.nlp.gov.ph:9000/rpc/cat/finders/PI01/NLPPIMNRB020000001/home.htm; the prewar edition by T. M. Kalaw used in last Wednesday’s column from the University of Michigan: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/philamer/ADL9481.0001.001?rgn=main;view=fulltext; and a better translation from the original Tagalog by Virginia Palma Bonifacio used today from: http://malacanang.gov.ph/3330-transcript-of-the-trial-of-andres-bonifacio/.

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On May 4, 1897, Bonifacio answered questions put to him by the court. He narrated how he welcomed Col. Agapito Bonzon (“Kol. Yntong” in the documents) into his camp on April 22, 1897. They talked, shared a meal, and when Bonzon took his leave, Bonifacio sent him off with a pabaon of cigarettes. Despite receiving reports that some of Bonifacio’s men who had left their trenches were disarmed by Bonzon’s soldiers, that their houses had been searched, and that others were held prisoner, Bonifacio welcomed Bonzon when he returned to Bonifacio’s Limbon camp the next morning. Naturally, Bonifacio was surprised when their camp was fired upon, and this is what happened:

“On the following day [April 23, 1897] the men under Kol. Yntong fired five shots from Mauser guns at the trenches but there were no return shots by [Bonifacio’s] men. After a while, soldiers under the command of Kol. Yntong approached the trenches and surrounded them, but [Bonifacio] in a loud voice ordered Major Benito Torres to relay it to their men not to fire at the approaching men, because they were shouting that they were our brothers and that their respective officers should first confer: when [Bonifacio] allowed them to come nearer, they aimed their guns on the soldiers inside the trenches, disarmed them and then shouted loudly for the shameless Supremo who had robbed them of their money to come out (Ang  walang  hiyang Supremo na magtatakao ñg  aming  salapi).

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“[Bonifacio] came out and embraced the soldiers and told them, ‘Brothers, I have not committed any shameful acts nor have I taken your money from you.’

“The reply was a gun­shot ordered by a thin man who was said to be a Major, but the bullet missed him near the shoulder and instead hit in the breast a man in a brown shirt behind him.

“[Bonifacio] shouted at them, ‘Look whom you are killing, brothers, they are your own countrymen!’ Instead of heeding his appeal, they simultaneously fired at him and after he fell, an officer [Col. Ignacio Paua] stabbed him in the throat. This is all that he can say in the name of God and his native land, which could be confirmed by the inhabitants of the place and perhaps a few officers and soldiers under Kol. Yntong.

“Besides the acts committed, the soldiers confiscated his clothes and the little money he had saved for expenses; declarant further added that he saw Kol. Yntong forcing his wife [Gregoria de Jesus] to go up an uninhabited house with the intention of dishonoring her. Thanks, however, to the intervention of some of his fellow officers, this intention was frustrated. But the same colonel suddenly arrived in Indang later and tried to take his wife by force, notwithstanding the fact that she was nursing [Bonifacio]. The attempt was again frustrated through the intervention of Tomas Mascardo.

“Asked what firearms he and his brothers carried, he answered that he was carrying a revolver with the bullets unused and a dagger; but because of the confusion, he could not ascertain what weapons his brothers had.

“Asked if he and his brothers had fired their guns at the government soldiers, he answered that to prove he had not fired his revolver the bullets were all there unused; and regarding his brothers’ firearms, they were confiscated by Kol. Yntong before the exchange of fire took place.

“Asked if the declarant had any knowledge of the report that two soldiers of the government were killed by shots from the trenches guarded by his soldiers, he answered that he did not have any personal knowledge of it, but that he knew about two men who had died inside the trenches and from there had been brought to the hospital.

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“Asked if he remembered that he was one of those present at the Casa Hacienda in Tejeros to elect a President, he answered, Yes.

“Asked whether in that meeting at Tejeros, Emilio Aguinaldo had been elected President, he replied that because confusion reigned at the time, nothing resulted therefrom and the matters taken up were declared null and void, including the topics taken up by the Magdiwang ministers and the election of Artemio Ricarte as commander-in-chief of the Tagalog provinces, all of which resulted in proving that irregularities were committed and that anything taken up did not express the will of the people; thus, he was not in a position to say that General Emilio Aguinaldo had been elected President of the whole archipelago.

“Asked whether said Emilio Aguinaldo took his oath of office immediately after his election as President, he answered he did not know.”

Bonifacio did not recognize the revolutionary government formed and the leaders elected in the Tejeros Convention. For this he was deemed guilty of treason.

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Comments are welcome at [email protected]

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TAGS: Agapito Bonzon, andres bonifacio, artemio ricarte, Bonifacio, Bonifacio Trial, Casa Hacienda, gregoria de jesus, Kol. Yntong, Philippine history, tejeros convention, Tomas Mascardo
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