Monday, January 23, 2012

The Pact of Biyak-na Bato and the "Te Deum" of January 23, 1898

Signing and Singing for a Truce?

"Te Deum" such as this?

January 23, 1898- A "TE DEUM laudamus" was sang at the Manila Cathedral, it signaled the end of what the Spanish colonial regime labeled that time as "Insurreccion" but to the Filipinos a revolution (1896). The singing of the Te Deum was part of an agreement between Aguinaldo and the Spanish government known as "The Pact of Biyak na Bato". Among the points agreed in the Pact for a truce are the ff:

(1)that Aguinaldo and his companion would go into voluntary exile abroad;

(2) that Gov Gen. Fernando Primo de Rivera would pay the sum of 800,000 Pesos to the rebels in three instalments: (a)400,000 Pesos to Aguinaldo upon his departure from Biak na Bato, (b)200,000 when the arms surrendered by the revolutionists exceeded 700, and (c) the remaining 200,000 Pesos when "Te Deum" was sung and general amnesty proclaimed by the governor;

3) that Primo de Rivera would pay the additional sum of 900,000 Pesos to the families of the non combatant Filipinos who suffered during that armed conflict.

By the time the "Te Deum" was sung Aguinaldo was already in Hong Kong with part of the money. A sellout?.  I must say also, it was indeed a very expensive "Te Deum".

Aguinaldo with some of his men at Biak na Bato 1897, his right hand resting on the shoulder of  Spanish Colonel  Miguel  Primo de Rivera,  future Prime Minister and dictator of Spain. On the photo one can also see the young General Gregorio del Pilar (with a cane)

Aguinaldo and his men in Dagupan train station December 1897. On their way to exile in Hong Kong

Delusions of an attention seeker
The Pact of Biyak-na Bato would not come to existence if not for the eccentricity, craziness and the delusional ideas of Pedro Paterno. A true blooded "papansin" (attention seeker), who fashioned himself in Spain as a tagalog nobleman, Paterno was able to convinced Governor General Fernando Primo de Rivera that he had enough contacts to seek a armistice with the rebel revolutionaries and somehow find a way for peace. After months of shuttling from Manila to the rebels lair, convincing the Aguinaldo group and even at the point of bribing, Paterno was able to bring both rebel and Spain to sign what he termed as a formula for lasting peace; "the Pact Biyak-na Bato"

Pedro A. Paterno

Of course history would then reveal the flaws of the said pact, with both Spanish colonial government and the Aguinaldo group accusing each other of non fulfillment of the terms written and agreed upon.

Sing A Different Tune
In the end that "Te Deum" sang on the 23rd of January 1898 at the Manila Cathedral turned out to be the swan song of the Spanish power in Asia,  Months later Uncle Sam would  arrive and  take the position of the Iberians.  Filipinos would then sing a different tune.

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