|Emilio Aguinaldo (1869-1964)|
The President On the Run
Perhaps the biggest tragedy in the short lived Malolos Republic was that some names identified with it were either opportunist, fence sitters, or worst, turncoats. Not even the brilliant mind of Mabini could muster enough force to check that time the growing influence in the government of such personalities as Pedro Paterno et al.
"Collaborators"... that was how Emilio Aguinaldo labeled Pedro Paterno when he found out that the latter was favoring an American take over of the Philippines.
Months after the outbreak of the Filipino-American War, Aguinaldo was on the run and planning to direct a guerilla warfare in the jungles of Luzon. The sad reality was, most of the prominent Filipinos who were once part of his government had simply abandoned him or went to the other side. Aguinaldo then turned to his former Prime Minister, Mabini. He conferred upon Mabini the power to negotiate with the Americans. But negotiations were futile, the US would not recognize Aguinaldo and the independent Philippine republic.
August 15, 1900 Circular to Mariano Trias
On August 15 1900, five days after designating Mabini as negotiator to the Americans, Aguinaldo then issued a circular to Mariano Trias asking the latter to reorganize the old Katipunan..
Historian Teodoro Agoncillo in explaining the circular wrote: "It must have occurred to him that for his purposes the old Katipunan, which he abolished in 1898, would lend a magic touch to his guerilla campaign. Moreover, the organization of the Katipunan was such that it could be adopted to such circumstances as he was now in"
Part of the circular goes:
"It being absolutely necessary to reorganize the Katipunan for the defense of the country as well as to out an end to the gambling and other diversions with which our enemy attracts our brothers, causing them to commit immoral and even scandalous acts, making them forget duties sacred to the country and the family; the old Katipunan society constituting a powerful means to attract our brothers to the road of their duties, and in order to destroy completely these vices, which cause so much scandal to the country. I beg of you to send commissions to all your towns of your jurisdiction for the reorganization of said Katipunan society, taking care to appoint as commissioners or delegates persons of well known honesty and energy, and strictly prohibiting gambling and other vices, severely punishing those who violate this order."
The Ghost of Bonifacio?
How do we explain the circular? I would stick with Teodoro Agoncillo. The Katipunan was the "old organization" Aguinaldo wanted resurrect in order to bring the people to his side.(perhaps for a long guerilla war) . But then Aguinaldo could also be questioned that in doing so; he is also resurrecting the ideals and the memories of the Supremo?