Continued from Act 2 & 3

Act 4: Beginning of the end

On October 28, Aguinaldo called an assembly of field commander in Biak-na-Bato, this time to decide on what course of action to take the face of Primo de Rivera’s rejection of entertaining any Spanish reform in the country.

Gen. Mamerto Natividad, the head of the “war party”, voted to continue the struggle. But Aguinaldo and majority of his men approved the peace proposals, believing that it was “more advantageous for the country than to sustain the insurrection, for which it had but limited resources.”

Angered by the decision of his colleagues, Natividad organized a band of rebels and led an attack on the Spaniards in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija on November. 11. The general died in the encounter.


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Finally on November 5, Aguinaldo authorized Paterno “to enter into harmonious relations with the Spanish government, giving him full powers to determine, fix and receive the total sum of the funds or values which the Spanish government grants us.”

Act 5: The peace formula

On November 18, the governor-general approved Paterno’s peace formula as presented in his letter of November 14, which included among the terms “ to cease their (the rebels) hostile attitude , surrendering their arms which they used against their country, and submit themselves to the proper authorities, requiring their rights as Philippine Spanish citizens, which rights they desire to preserve.”

The last part of the “instrument of surrender” which became the basis of the final agreement, cited the hope of the rebels that the Spanish Government would “take into consideration the aspirations of the Philippine people in order to assure its peace and the well-being which it deserves.”

Paterno and Primo de Rivera met again on December 14 and approved the so-called “Programme,” a second document after the first agreement — the Truce of Biak-na-Bato” on November 18, which details in the steps to be followed by the rebels in the surrender of arms, the payment of P8,000,000 in indemnity to Aguinaldo and the keeping of the Spanish hostage in Biak-na-Bato pending the arrival of Aguinaldo and his associates in Hong Kong.

The document showed that Aguinaldo and his men would leave for Hong Kong on Dec. 25 and “as soon as armed men have surrendered over 700 arms half of at least of the same being modern one, Paterno would be given two checks, one for P200,000 payable in sight, and the other for the same amount which will be payable when the Te Deum is sung, and the general amnesty proclaims, which will just be a s soon as peace reigns in the Philippines.”

Then there was third document signed on December 15, which dealt with the distribution the total indemnity of P1,700,000.

On Christmas day, prior to his departure, Aguinaldo issued a proclamation:

“I lay down my arms because continuing the war will produce turmoil and evil, in place of happiness. This is not the end sought by insurrection. I lay down my arms because my expectations are one with the lofty designs of the noble Governor-General, His Excellency, Senor Don Fernando Primo de Rivera who filled with love for our dear country, inaugurated an era of peace from the time he took up the reins of government of this Spanish territory. I lay down my arms in accordance with the patriotic advice of the Arbitrator, the Maguinoo, Pedro A. Paterno, lover of the well-being of our native land.”

Aguinaldo and his men would later return to the Philippines, but after conferring with the Americans who brought him back to Cavite. He resumed the revolution with a “little help” from his newfound friends.

Biak-na-Bato

A tragedy indeed of a revolution triggered by the masses – the genuine Katipuneros, but later peddled by political opportunists whose successors would continue such treacherous tradition in modern-day Philippine politics.

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Joel C. Paredes

Joel briefly served government as director-general of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), although he has been a practicing journalist and writer for nearly 37 years. He led a team organized by the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB)  and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that worked on the book entitled “Protecting our Natural Wealth, Enhancing our Natural Pride.”