1. He could have saved Bonifacio’s life but didn’t. The execution of Bonifacio brothers. From the artwork “The Verdict” by Rody Herrera. Source: Fine Artists of the Philippines 1999 by Marlene Aguilar and Larry Bortles. We won’t go much into the convoluted details behind the bad blood between Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio. What we’d like to point out however, was that Aguinaldo had the power to stop his rival’s execution. To his credit, he initially did commute Bonifacio and his brother Procopio’s death sentences to banishment. However, his War Council and associates persuaded him to carry out the execution. They claimed that to let Bonifacio alive would be to endanger Aguinaldo’s life and the integrity of the revolution. Also Read: 11 Little-Known Facts About Andres Bonifacio Needless to say, the Bonifacio brothers were executed. If this terrible tragedy proves anything, it is that Aguinaldo had the power to save Bonifacio’s life if he really wanted to. 2. He did not investigate the (alleged) rape of Bonifacio’s wife. Family Portrait ca. 1900 – L to R: Daughter Julia, only son Juan, and Gregoria de Jesus holding her infant daughter Francisca on her lap. Photo courtesy of Roberto Tañada One of the lesser-known controversies surrounding the Aguinaldo-Bonifacio rivalry concerns that of the alleged rape of Gregoria de Jesus by Aguinaldo’s men shortly after they captured her husband. Although de Jesus herself never categorically said she was raped, General Mariano Noriel (a member of the War Council and ironically one of those who voted for Bonifacio’s execution) asked Aguinaldo to investigate the incident. Unfortunately for de Jesus, Aguinaldo never investigated nor punished the offending officers. What’s worse, this wouldn’t be the last act of impunity that Aguinaldo would allow his men to get away with… 3. He let Luna’s killers go unpunished. On June 14, 1899, the San Francisco Call came out with the news of Luna’s death, blaming Aguinaldo for the murder. Source: Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin. As with Bonifacio’s execution, we won’t discuss the controversy involving whether or not Aguinaldo ordered the death of Antonio Luna. Instead, we’ll focus on the aftermath, specifically the fact that not one of Luna’s killers was ever punished for the crime. Also Read: Antonio Luna’s Famous Last Word Instead, a commission designated by Aguinaldo cleared the killers (and himself) from any culpability. The commission’s report blamed Luna for openly insulting the guards and officers stationed to protect the president’s
house. Incidentally, Aguinaldo also had all Luna’s men disarmed and his officers arrested, tortured, or even killed in order to suppress any revolts by the deceased general’s troops. 4. He ignored Luna’s advice for guerrilla warfare only to use it in the end. Aguinaldo boarding USS Vicksburg following his capture in 1901. Via Wikimedia Commons.
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- Summer '19
- Philippine History, Emilio Aguinaldo, Philippine Revolution