Mabini: Who Holds the Course


I. We are tail end of long line of Spanish Revolutions: first, Mexico, last Philippines. We were the last gasp of Enlightenment- after us, came the 19th century Marxism Nationalism.

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p. 157

It was said that the Philippine Revolution was “anti-history”. It broke out when imperialism was at its noontide- when Victoria had been proclaimed empress of India, when Hawaii was asking to be annexed as a territory, when Egypt, Borneo and Sudan were begging for colonial masters. That was the current of history at the turn of the century, but the Philippine Revolution ran counter to this current- because it was following an older current, the one released by the French Revolution. Like a pebble thrown into a pool and creating ever widening circles, that revolution had spread first all over Europe, then all over Spanish America, and had finally reached the Philippines. In fact, one Mexican scholar, Don Rafael Bernal, calls the Philippine Revolution “the last of the Hispano-American wars of independence”. We belonged to that world then and were shaken by its tides.

II. Clashes of modernity in the formation of the first proto-state –Mabini’s own ambivalence over the Katipunan, ambivalence over representative government except to establish the basis for proclamation of independence– there doesn’t seem to be much discussion over 1896 or even 1897, the first two phases of the revolution, as far as Mabini is concerned.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 39; Split? Compare to Richardson

The assertion of historians that the Katipunan was organized by Bonifacio and others on July 7, 1892, soon after Rizal’s arrest for deportation to Dapitan, appears to contradict Mabini’s contention that the Katipunan was a radical offshoot of the revived Liga after its dissolution in October 1893. At the bottom, this discrepancy is only apparent and can be resolved in the light of the following hypothesis: After the original founding of the Katipunan by a small group on July 7, 1892, some katipuneros, including Bonifacio, joined non-katipuneros like Domingo Franco and Mabini to revive Liga Filipina, an event which took place in April, 1893. After a brief encounter between these two groups during which time Bonifacio was able to recruit a great number of followers, a split took place in the Supreme Council. Those ilustrados still committed to peaceful techniques refused to be assimilated by Bonifacio and his followers who favored another technique, and decided to form a distinct organization called Cuerpo, an organization still adhering to peaceful methods. The, other group, who were katipuneros in original membership or sympathy, then decided to keep their identity in accordance with the original revolutionary aims of the Katipunan. This explains why, according to Mabini, Bonifacio recruited members to the revived Liga without requiring them to accede to the peaceful means of the Platform. The fact might have been that Bonifacio utilized the Liga as a tool to recruit members for his own particular ends, or to lead the katipuneros to ride on the Liga and eventually swallow it up.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 59;            Plan The “Ordenanzas de la Revolucion”

The “Ordenanzas” is a complex document, for, besides a definition of and justification for the Revolution, it presents a general outline for the political, administrative, economic, military and judicial organization of a proposed revolutionary government. It even contains details as to the national language to be adopted, the kind of flag for the revolution, etc. It contains 89 rules of varying lengths. These later on served as the matrix for many of the organic laws penned by Mabini for the Revolutionary Government under Aguinaldo.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 47;

After writing the “Ordenanzas,” Mabini circulated a letter to revolutionists in the field. Stating that while the Revolution in 1896 was not without its deeds of valor, it failed to secure the desired results because there was no coordinated plan to bring these about properly. This was a lesson for all to profit from.

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p. 152

The 1896 Revolution had failed to win the support of the Creoles, of the native principalia, or even of the nationalists. It was repudiated by Rizal, denounced by Antonio Luna, rejected by Mabini. It was carried out mainly by the proletariat of Manila and the landed gentry of Cavite and it was confined to the eight Tagalog and Pampango provinces. The other provinces not only did not join but eagerly helped in suppressing the revolt, oversubscribing their quotas when the government called for volunteers against the Tagalog rebels.

  • Rewriting Philippine History, The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes by Alfredo B. Saulo p. 78; Assembly is akin to appeal of KKK & LIUS

Mabini, like Antonio Luna, was simply out of touch with the prevailing situation.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p. 217:                    check Laurel book on government

Among the leaders of the Revolution, Mabini was the one who was able more than anyone else to emancipate himself from personal and petty interests in order to will for what he conceived constituted the good of all Filipinos.

  • Rewriting Philippine History, The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes by Alfredo B. Saulo p. 40;   Personal grudge

Aguinaldo blames Bonifacio and Ricarte for the death of his elder brother, Crispulo, who had taken over command of the defenses in Pasong Santol, in Dasmariñas, Cavite, to enable the younger Aguinaldo to take his oath as the newly elected president of the revolutionary government that replaced the Katipunan secret society. Aguinaldo claims that Bonifacio and Ricarte had conspired to prevent strong reinforcements from reaching his brother at a critical moment during the Battle of Pasong Santol, resulting in the rout of the Filipino defenders and the death of Crispulo on March 24, 1897. (Aguinaldo, Mga Gunita, pp. 182-188)

III. The government was established in an ad hoc manner; policies after Mabini entered the scene involved the rectification of mistakes Mabini identified early on:

1. The premature proclamation of independence, in particular under the protectorate of the United States. (N.B. Mabini criticized it as unfounded on any binding agreement)

  • The Revolutionists by E. De Los Santos p. 77:  war began on August 24

The separation of the Philippines from the Spanish monarchy and the formation into an independent state with its own government called the Philippine Republic has been the end sought by the Revolution in the existing war, begun on the 24th of August 1896; and therefore, in its name, with the power delegated to by the Filipino people- interpreting faithfully their desires and ambitions-we, the representatives of the Revolution, in a meeting at Biak-na-Bato on November 1, 1897, unanimously adopt the following articles for the Constitution of the State.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 75;  Same as meui elections by Americans in 1901

The decree provided that as soon as a town was freed of Spanish military control, those “inhabitants most distinguished by their education, social position and honorable conduct, from both the towns and the surrounding barrios,” were to assemble, and by means of a majority rule proceed to elect a head for each barrio (cabeza de barrio). The town itself was to be entitled to a barrio head. Now, the different elected heads of barrios were to meet, and by the same rule of procedure, elect the chief of the town (jefe de pueblo).

  • The Philippine Revolution by T.M. Kalaw  p. 208-209:   aims

According to Mabini, the most advantageous ideal for the Philippines was absolute independence with neutrality guaranteed by the powers, “without prejudice to our acting as circumstances direct, should we realize the impossibility of attaining it, accepting the least possible limitations. This is another proof that it would be inconvenient for us to reveal now our wishes

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 228 – 230 open to protectorate

Facts To Be Considered

1st. Despite the conference that have taken place between the Commissioners of General Aguinaldo and those of General Otis last January, it is still possible to maintain a different stand, inasmuch as said commissioners were not appointed by the Governments of both sides and neither have they received from the Governments special instructions for the conferences. General Aguinaldo will not be in an embarrassing position, because he can allege that, in those days, the people had approved the propositions in order to avoid war; but that said propositions are no longer acceptable because the people have already shed so much blood and have suffered heavy losses.

2nd. The best goal for the Philippines is absolute independence with its neutrality protected by the world powers. This is not impossible to have, because many of them will think that inasmuch as not all of them can profit let no one else do so. I am trying to show in the press that the end of the Revolution will not be advantageous for the colonizing powers so that they will impose neutrality on us and they will guarantee it in their own interests, inasmuch as it is not possible to crush a revolution which is pressed forward by science and supported by the people, even if it is prejudicial to colonial interests.

This is the goal to which we must aspire; and when we see that it is physically impossible to obtain it, we yield to what is best under obtaining circumstances accepting the least of possible limitations. And this is another reason that shows the disadvantage of making our wishes known now.

3rd. It is true enough that our hope of defeating the Americans is problematical. But we can force them to come to an understanding with us, because neither to them nor to the world powers nor to anyone else would an indefinite war be favorable. The Americans cannot just leave us to the mercy of the other world powers after having spent much here and having shed plenty of blood. When the fight will no longer suit them, they themselves shall come for us, and that will be the time to talk of terms and conditions for a treaty, because then we may be able to obtain advantages. Insisting on talks now will make them believe that we are weak and make them press their advantage.

4th. This war is not recognize as an international war by the world powers.   They neither recognize our flag nor can we acquire arms from them openly like the Americans. As a general rule, a revolution doesn’t indemnify, because the recognition of the country’s independence means its triumph. If we obtain that independence as a favor granted to us, it is but natural that we have to offer indemnification.

Besides, a protectorate per se is a far heavier responsibility than indemnification. The protectorate of Egypt was at the beginning nothing more than a complete financial inspection or control which became, in fact, a sort of joint ownership between France and England. Now that it is overrun by English troops, Egypt is, in reality, an English colony.

A protectorate is not bound by any laws except the agreement between the protector and the protected. This is why there is always a danger of war, because the protector misuses its power and very often pays no attention to the treaty. For this reason, we have to wait until the Americans propose the protectorate to us, so that it will be, as much as possible, less onerous. Otherwise, the Americans would not accept it, unless it gives them greater advantages than a real indemnification.

The concession of naval stations should be looked into with utmost care, because if these naval stations are found among islands, the Americans could use them as points or centers of their machinations in fomenting discord or insurrection, in order to have a reason to intervene and insist on a military occupation under the pretext of insuring peace. I would concede the Americans only one in the Batanes Islands.

Lastly, one should look carefully into the concessions of privileges on industries, because the Americans are dangerous monopolizers. Any disagreement later on, may be a cause of future wars and, therefore, we would not, after all have insured our tranquility and prosperity. Before the termination of the time limit of the protectorate, the protector will not be wanting of pretexts to find fault with the protected and prolong the protectorate indefinitely.

With all that I have expounded, I believe I have sufficiently shown how pernicious it would be to enter now into treaties with a general who, in order not to promise anything, always gives the excuse that he is not empowered by his Government to make statements. When they see that we are as diplomatic as they are, they will not have any cause to attempt to take away from us the direction of our foreign affairs in the future. But if they find us stupid and ignorant, they will say, with reason, that we are incompetent and that we might seriously embarrass them.

When the occasion comes, I offer myself to form part of the Commission taking charge of drafting the conditions of the Treaty of Peace.

Rosales, October 17, 1899.

A. M

2. The formation of a constitutional regime –versus what Agpalo in an early essay described as a “Pangulo” Regime (McCoy description of an authoritarian strain: Laurel, Marcos etc.) Mabini seems in an ambiguous place here, viewing a caudillo as more urgent than a constitutional regime; then, once his own constitutional program was thwarted, warning of oligarchy versus the antidote as he proposed it, of the man on horseback.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p. 61;          1776 vs 1789 model, USA

Consequently, the aims of the Philippine Revolution were:

1. To forcibly expel the Spanish government and the religious corporations from the Philippine Islands and expropriate all properties usurped by them.

2. To make accessible to the masses of the people the truths contained in the True Decalogue, to serve as a solid base and the fundamental principles for the moral education of the Filipino as man and citizen.

3. The triumph of the Revolution, to implant in the country a constitutional regime based on the Constitutional Program of the Philippine Republic. (“Ordenanzas de la Revolucion,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume I, p. 110)

  • The Revolutionists by E. De Los Santos p. 98:  codes

The Verdadero Decalogo of Mabini is therefore the third of the decalogues. The first was Andres Bonifacio’s and the second Emilio Jacinto’s.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 57;            Rousseau

Mabini’s decalogue is a veritable civic code that was, in effect, propounding a civil religion in the spirit of Rousseau.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 51; Ponce, Bautista, Mabini

Aguinaldo brought with him a constitutional program penned by Mariano Ponce, but he dropped this aside in favor of a dictatorial form of government framed by one of his advisers, Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista. The Dictatorship was proclaimed on May 24. According to Mabini, a copy of his plans for the organization of the revolutionary movement (probably the “Ordenanzas”) fell into Aguinaldo’s hands, leading him to invite Mabini (La Revolucion Filipina,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume II, p. 307.) to come to Kawit and help in the movement that was dramatically accelerating. However, it appears that Aguinaldo had previous information about Mabini for during his exile Felipe Agoncillo had already briefed him about Mabini.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 62; Note: Alfonso XIII Regency

The importance of a study of Mabini’s constitutional program is that it evinces all the liberal gains in Europe which he desired to flourish in the Philippines.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 62-63: Law Center: Constitution of 1876 never extended the PH

The constitutional program consists of 130 articles of varying lengths grouped into ten titles arranged in the following order: citizenship and individual rights, the territory and general structure of the Republic, Congress, the Senate, Provincial and Local Governments, the Executive (President and Cabinet), the Judiciary, Taxation, the Military, and Public Instruction.

The provision for citizenship (Title I, Article I) takes over the formulation of Article 1 of the Spanish Constitution of 1876 and elaborates it to suit Philippine conditions. Resident foreigners are given opportunities to gain Philippine citizenship by virtue of marriage to Filipinos, for having offered their services to the defense or well-being of the Republic, or simply on account of their worth in the economic life of the country.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 68;            Local: Interesting

Mabini’s specification of the relations between the President and the heads of provinces, strengthening the powers of the President and that of the central government are of purely local character and they do not appear to have been borrowed from any other constitution.

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 105 – 107;


Malolos, January 24, 1899



The National Government of the Republic has received the messages and documents on the events that had taken place over there and is now informed of the constitution of the Federal Council, which you worthily preside and which was formed on motion of Mr. Francisco Villanueva, who allegedly had received verbal instructions from the President of the Republic, Mr. Emilio Aguinaldo. The Government, disregarding said instructions, which have not been confirmed by the President, and limiting itself to the rulings of the Constitution of the Federal Council, fully believes that this system, aside from being the most perfect within the republican form, is the most suitable to the geographical setup of our beloved country. For this reason, our Government hopes that, in the long run, it will predominate. However, the fact that we still have to fight for our independence and that the political Constitution of the Philippine Republic voted by Congress has been promulgated, even if only provisional in character unit it could be ratified by the legitimate representatives of the Bisayas and Mindanao, would seem to point out a form of government that would result in greater cohesion and solidarity among the interests of the different Islands that compose this beautiful Archipelago and the establishment of a central Government that would synthesize them. Thus, our union would be more patent to foreign eyes, and this will be our best shield against the ambition of the strong. And, while I leave the explanation of the next instructions for a later time so as to be able to do it better, inasmuch as the boat is about to sail and I have no time to write longer, I shall limit myself for the present to transmit to you, on the order of the President, the following resolutions:

1st. The Federal Council shall designate special delegates who will preside over he elections of the Provincial Councils and Popular Boards, and of the Representatives of each province of the Island of Panay in accordance with the Organic Decree of the 18th of June, last, and who will administer the oath to those who will be elected in accordance with the formula adopted by this Government. Immediately after the oath-taking, those who have been inducted shall take possession of their offices temporarily and exercise their duties in the same manner until they receive their corresponding titles as approved by this Government.

2nd. The elected representatives of each province shall take advantage of the first opportunity to come over to this capital and take part in the work of the National Assembly.

3rd. The contributions and taxes in force during the Spanish regime, inasmuch as they constitute the only and indispensable source for the support of the State, shall be continued. The collection shall be administered to the satisfaction of the contributors and taxpayers, until a plan which is less burdensome to the citizens can be adopted.

4th. The Federal Council, in collaboration with the military Chiefs, shall take special care of all that refers to the defense and security of the Bisayas. It shall not, at any cost, allow any foreign invasion that would endanger the security of the National Government and shall not tolerate any transgression against any integral part of its territory.

5th. The Federal Council shall enjoin all civil and military authorities to do their utmost to protect individual liberties; and interests, to repress strongly all kinds of abuses, and to take care net indulge in the vices and excesses of the old Spanish administration.

6th.    The Federal Council[2] shall send a copy of these instructions to the Cantonal Government of the Island of Negros so that the latter will enforce them within that island.

This is all I have the pleasure to inform you. I am trusting to the good sense and the patriotism of the Bisayans. May God guide you for many years to come.

By Order:


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini: p. 107;                        Use of Excellency




Mr. Ambrosio Moxica, in a letter dated the 17th of this month addressed to His Excellency, the President of the Republic, gave an account that on such date he assumed office as politico-military governor of Leyte. He was appointed to this position as per decree dated 27th of last December.

This is for your information and guidance.

May God be always with you.

Malolos, January 26, 1899.


To the Secretary of Interior

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 68;

Mabini’s conception of the three divisions of the powers of government was closer to European jurisprudence than to the American one. He viewed the division of power more in the sense of specialization of functions rather than a practice based on the doctrine of the balance of powers. The interpretation of laws remained with the legislature and the main functions of the courts were to deal with civil and criminal cases and to see to it that no one was a victim of injustice.

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 141;



Enclosed is a copy of the minutes of the Council of Government on the 10th. If you have not yet answered the telegram of General Malvar regarding the prisoners, please let me know. I shall answer him in accordance with the minutes, if you agree.

In the meeting of the Council of Government last Saturday, we agreed with the Permanent Commission of Congress to establish the Audiencia in the capital of the Government. The Audiencia, in turn, will establish the courts in the provinces and municipalities of the whole of Luzon in the meantime that the Supreme Court has not been constituted. The need for the Audiencia is great because the cases are piling up for lack of judges to try them.

We have carefully considered the lawyers who will compose the Audiencia. They are:

President of the Audiencia            ………………………………            Don Leandro Ibarra

Chiefs of Court         ………………………………            Don Juan Arceo

Don Aguedo Velarde

Don Pablo Tecson

Don Mariano Crisostomo

Magistrates               ………………………………            Don Cecilio Hilario

Don Anastacio Pinzon

Delegate-Fiscal       ………………………………            Don Francisco Icasiano

Attorney-Fiscals                   ………………………………            Don Juan Tongco

Don Cayo Alzona

Secretary of Government   ………………………………            Don Simplicio del Rosario

Clerks of Court         ………………………………            Don Isidro Paredes

Don Ramon Salinas

If you approve of these persons, I shall prepare the decree.


  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 78;          Concession on Legislative Powers?

Evidently, Mabini did not intend to make the Revolutionary Congress a truly legislative body. He conceived of it more as an advisory body than anything else. According to him, he judged it indispensable to have it formed “in order that the provinces would not be distrustful of the dictatorial powers of Señor Aguinaldo…” However, it was not to have “legislative powers since war conditions required a concentration of powers to expedite action.” (“La Revolucion Filipina,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume II, p. 309.)  If these were Mabini’s intentions, it is difficult to find out why Mabini in Article 15 of said decree explicitly provided that the Revolutionary Congress could discuss and vote upon revolutionary laws. Possibly he did not mind this concession, considering the further provision that any act of Congress could be nullified by the President’s exercise of his absolute veto power.


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini


January 14, 1899

Honorable Mr. President:

Don Baldomero informed me that you would like to see the Tagalog translation of the amendments I have written . . .[4]

We conferred and debated the attitude of Congress with regards to the Council last night and we decided unanimously that the veto on the Constitution should be availed of, for the following reasons:

1.  If the amendments are not accepted, no secretaries will be appointed except those sponsored by Congress. What will happen is that, although you have the power to choose your assistants, you will have to consult Congress first to see whether it will approve them.

2.  In these critical times, if the Government cannot act without first consulting Congress, it will be very difficult to save the country from danger because we will first have to face defeat before we start taking preventive measures.

3.  If the amendments are admitted, I am afraid Iloilo and Negros, which have established a Federal Republic, will oppose the military Republic founded by the Constitution. One thing more: if our Constitution becomes effective, the Americans will be cautious about giving recognition to our cause because our desire for independence will be very evident to them.

We cannot tell whether this is a political move of the annexationists, who desire our Constitution to take effect so that the Americans will lose their confidence in us and have every reason not to recognize us because we have prevented them from tampering with our Constitution.

You can say that these reasonings are vague, and that they spring from my displeasure towards Congress. I leave them to you to ponder over and decide what is best to do.

I am at your orders,

Ap. Mabini

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 88;          Infographic, See outline for structure of government

It will be recalled that the decree establishing the Revolutionary Government provided for the establishment of four departments, one of which was that of Foreign Affairs. This department was subdivided into those of Diplomacy, Marine, and Commerce.

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 70;


Malolos, October, 18, 1898

Mr. President:

In accordance with the agreement with Arellano yesterday, I shall deliver to Pardo today, inventoried, all the papers in my possession.

I was trying my best to make Don Cayetano join the others resolutely so as to give unity to the progress of affairs; but he answered me that we shall talk the matter over some other day.

I am relaying it to you for your information.

Ap. Mabini


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 70 – 71;


Malolos, October 28, 1898

Mr. Galicano Apacible

My dear Friend:

I acknowledge receipt of your pleasant letter of the 16th inst. It is true that Messrs. Arellano and Pardo[5] have taken over, and from now on may, perhaps, be the, ones to communicate with you, although., according to the present provisional Constitution, you should address your correspondence to the President. With reference to the Constitution, a copy of which I have the pleasure of enclosing herewith, it is now under discussion in Congress. I decline to make any comment.

I cannot inform you with certainty of the diplomatic policy of the new Secretary. Yesterday, I handed over to him the papers of the Department. I believe, nevertheless, that there will be some modifications in the sense of leaning towards the Americans. I suppose Messrs. Arellano and Pardo will communicate with you.

It is true that our priests still acknowledge the authority of Nozaleda. I am trying to convince them little by little that they should ask earnestly the Roman pontiff to appoint Filipino bishops in the Philippines. I do not know whether I can finally convince them, they being obstinate.

I shall ask Arsenio, editor of the Heraldo de la Revolucion, to send you copies of the paper if he has not yet done so.

I have just moved to a house within a short distance from the Government building to give rest to my mind, which is somewhat harrowed by the continuous work of the past days. I beg of you to keep me thoroughly posted, by private means, of what is going on over there so that I can form an idea of the state of our relations abroad and, thus, would be able to advise the President in my own modest way.

Albert told me that he wrote you about the incidents that we had with the Americans in these last days. Dewey captured four of our launches, I believe, and immediately General Otis asked for the recall of our forces from the old line of defense of the Spaniards. The idea of giving in to everything to avoid conflicts prevailed, although there were preparations and moves on both sides that showed strained relations. I suppose that Albert has given you a detailed account of the events.

It is not true that we are divided; so far, there is no division among us. Neither is the news about Perfecto Poblador true. Finding himself threatened by the wrath of the Spaniards on account of his influence among the Visayans and lacking arms to declare open hostility, he pretended submission. Those thousands of people that the Consul says are a pure invention of the Spaniards.

Until now I have not yet been able to answer your official letters because Mr. Arellano does not believe in pushing forward any work abroad that does not tend to bring an understanding with America.[6] He believes that any tendency to deal with other world powers would be dangerous, which belief I do not share. I refrained, therefore, from dispatching anything to avoid a disapproval on his part that might turn out unfavorable to us.

Should you write to Naning, please tell him that I was not able to answer him at once because I have been swamped with work, and besides I have not as yet found out the whereabouts of the friend of Dr. Betances. I intend to answer him in a few days.

You know that you can ever count on your affectionate and humble servant,

A. Mabini

  • Rewriting Philippine History, The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes by Alfredo B. Saulo p. 39;  President must always balance factions

(2) Out of delicadeza, Aguinaldo remained neutral during the controversy between the “absolutists” in Congress led by Mabini and the “constitutionalists” led by Calderon, Paterno, and Buencamino. Mabini was in favor of giving Aguinaldo absolute powers in carrying out the tasks of the revolutionary government without any legislative impediment. (Agoncillo, Malolos, 373-408.) Consequently, Mabini was trounced by the “constitutionalists.”

(3) Although he was personally against the Hay autonomy proposal, Aguinaldo chose not to intervene in the cabinet crisis in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, which led to the downfall of Mabini and the rise of the “autonomists” (Paterno, Buencamino, and company). Mabini tendered his resignation afterward, but he was bitter and resentful obviously against Aguinaldo. (Mabini’s Letters, pp. 175-176)

  • The Revolutionists by E. De Los Santos p. 41: How can you secretly issue a manifesto?

On Christmas Day of 1899, he secretly issued a manifesto wherein he appealed to the people to relieve him of the presidency as a token of gift that day.

  • Rewriting Philippine History, The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes by Alfredo B. Saulo p. 39;  Aguinaldo’s resignation

The facts show that Aguinaldo never lifted a finger to gain the presidency; and when he attempted to resign on Christmas day of 1898, Mabini secretly ordered the seizure and burning of the printed copies of the documents, fearing that Aguinaldo’s resignation would mean the death of the revolution.

3. Central question of Reason –Science—in nation-building; tying him to the Katipunan, and in contrast to the principalia who were more comfortable with recognizing territorial barons; no surprise, then, that at the end of his regime, without Mabini, Aguinaldo reverts to proposing the creation of nobility in a last gamble to shore up support for the Republic. If Jim Richardson’s newly-identified Katipunan documents is a guide, there is more of a continuity of thought and aspiration in Rizal-Bonifacio-Mabini: it is Aguinaldo who is the outlier. While Pardo de Tavera, with Buencamino and Legarda (Federalistas), are closer in synch with Propaganda Movement than, say, the Nacionalistas who hewed to Mabini’s program of the inevitability of independence, so long as Filipino leadership was united and thus could confront Americans with blunt political reality that it could not be divided and conquered.

  • The Philippine Revolution by T.M. Kalaw p. 243-244:   interesting note – tie into Mabini

The Amnesty Banquet.– The idea of Paterno, according to Rafael Palma, was to take advantage of the Amnesty Proclamation for the presentation to the commission of a conciliatory formula which, in Paterno’s opinion, would be acceptable to the Filipinos still under arms, to the end that hostilities might cease. So the picture of Aguinaldo appeared on the triumphal arches in the streets of Manila as well as the Philippine flag and inscriptions in favor of Philippine independence under an American protectorate; but the military authorities, noticing the turn events were taking, ordered that the picture of Aguinaldo and the inscriptions on independence be removed from arches.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p. 40-41;    Compare to Richardson, 1892 1st KKK doc

In retrospect, Mabini reflected that were Spain willing to allow the existence of political parties in the Philippines (and he desired to have the Liga and the Cuerpo serve as such) the Filipino educated and influential class would have been more free in its activities, enabling them to calm the popular resentment – thus arresting the growth and development of the Katipunan. The reason was that such a “middle-class” was committed to and had “decided for the program of the Liga, in spite of having experienced cruel torments, and even after the Pact of Biak-na-Bato.” (“La Revolucion Filipina,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume II, p. 299.)

This reflection of Mabini reveals what he always stood for: the attainment of social betterment by peaceful and legal means whenever possible and his disinclination against any form of violence or illegality.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p. 41;          Richardson 1892 KKK doc

Note: Compare to Richardson note on Sakay 1907 surrender

I never had, in reality, enough courage to disturb my countrymen, as long as they desired to live peaceably. I was working with enthusiasm together with Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar and others, who, after having been exposed to the evils that an arbitrary administration can cause to the Filipinos, asked formally for the political assimilation of the Philippines as a province of Spain, to avoid precisely that which many other Filipinos would find in separation [from Spain] as a remedy for said evils. (“La Revolucion Filipina,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume II, p. 272.)

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p. 214;  see Richardson, it is at end, not start, that special charge was put forward

In the belief that the Revolution expressed the popular will, Mabini claimed that he had earlier decided to play a role in directing the Revolution in order to destroy what was reprehensible in the old regime and to build a new social order more adequate to meet the necessities of the Filipino people. He joined the Revolution, believing that he was merely heeding the voice of the people, and for this very same reason he was now abandoning the armed struggle. Since peace had been attained in the country, he was not going to prepare or suggest new uprisings by rather propound means for averting these in the future. For in times of peace this was the duty of every citizen who truly loved his country. Mabini then contended that he had tenaciously upheld the rights of the individual during his negotiations with American military authorities solely because he believed that only by recognizing these rights among the Filipinos would the Americans succeed in establishing peace in the Philippines and in eliminating all threats of revolution.

  • The Philippine Revolution by T.M. Kalaw p. 239:  conditional

“I asked that I be permitted to take the oath of allegiance imposed by the amnesty proclamation only after the American authorities had promised to respect the rights of the Filipinos as free citizens. I added that in all civilized and liberal countries, the constituted authority has the right to exact obedience from the citizens once it had promised to respect their individual rights. I remarked, further, that I limited myself to individual rights because I was merely a private citizen, without power to represent or act for the revolution.

IV. Mabini’s point was not independence at all costs (he has been member of La Liga Filipina after all), but the minimum demand of recognition of the government; a treaty of peace between equals rather than a protectorate government  which would end up not only imposed, but representing a break from the evolution of regimes from 1896, 1897: furthermore even after the defeat of the First Republic,   in debates over whether to have either an outright protectorate or an autonomous government, the question was not one of peace or commonwealth status but the end goal of Filipino government –a question he raised again, long after: he wanted to gauge for himself the sentiments of his people, first as to the end of hostilities, and second, as to the end goal of independence. Interesting is his prescription for the way forward after the defeat of the Republic –a point interesting as he himself viewed the Republic as extinguished with the capture of Aguinaldo- previously warning (see Kalaw) that there was a difference between the Americans negotiating with government and negotiating with Aguinaldo personally –yet he shows that he did not consider, much less recognize, a successor- government to Aguinaldo.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 89;          Protectorate

Possibly, Mabini was toying with the idea that should there be different nations developing conflicting interests in the Philippines, they might all agree to its neutrality. Mabini is reported to have once remarked that should independence for the country be impossible, he would not have minded, as a last resort, allowing the Philippines to become a protectorate under two nations whose interests were antagonistic with each other; for a protectorate under a single nation could lead to pure colonialization and therefore, slavery. (“Letter of Arcadio Rosario to Rafael Palma,” [September 4, 1914], Informes sobre Mabini, p. 4.)

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 74 – 75;



Honorable President:

I had thoroughly studied the instructions you entrusted me, but I could not take them quite correctly.

I have determined the state of our relations with the other powers, but it changes from day to day. At first I thought it was from America alone that we should seek advice; now it seems Germany wants to meddle; and we cannot predict what is going to happen in the future. We will spend the money of the country so that America will know our condition; and yet it may happen that we cannot be friends with America after all, because the wishes of the other powers will prevail.

Since the beginning, my political belief has been to send men there [to America] and spend our money on anyone who is willing to give us arms. Once we have attained a certain degree of strength, we can then have more than just confidence. What I want is for us to hire foreign officers who might teach us the art of warfare and form, the nucleus of a corps consisting of new soldiers having high educational attainment and recruited from different provinces. These officers will compose the General Staff and, when the time comes, take command of the troops.

I insist on this because, once the powers realize that we are ready to fight, they will be forced to come to terms with us, especially if they learn that the country that supplied us with officers and arms greatly sympathizes with our cause. Nonetheless, because those who offered you the decision are counselors and some of them are going there, no one else should sign the instructions but themselves. It is but proper that, before they leave, the Council must come to an understanding as to what they are going to do — which will be their instructions. They should, however, take note that not America alone will take an interest in us; other powers too will meddle; therefore, it is perhaps not wise that all should side with America.

Another thing; if you are going to give assignments to those who will go abroad, you must extend the same to those who were there previously; to those in Hongkong, Japan, and Paris. If you do not do this, there will be resentment and the work might be jeopardized.

It is also necessary that those who will leave for abroad have no definite destinations. It is preferable that they go to Paris first, and there determine where their presence is badly needed, depending on the circumstances.

Above all, there should be one among them who must provide harmony and co-ordination in the work. To effect harmony, someone whose political belief is attuned to the wishes of the Government should take charge of the office. This office should be manned by a staff of linguists who would have knowledge of what is happening in the international scene. They should, likewise, be aware of the changes taking place domestically, so that they can suit their policies to the circumstances. If this office is not established, we will be wasting money sending people abroad.

The person who will take charge of the office must have complete freedom of action if you find that his political plans are worth supporting. He should give the instructions; he should inform foreigners of what is taking place here in the Philippines; he should receive all telegrams and forward them to you and decide in a conference with you what action to take. He must be given the freedom of action of a General so that he can execute his plan in the way he sees fit and in accordance with the circumstances. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance that he should be aware of what is taking place, not only domestically but also internationally, thru the foreign papers.

It is not of the utmost importance to go to America immediately. The Spaniards have not given us away yet; and no one knows with certainty the other power which might want to meddle and the power to approach and court. We must, however, organize the office as soon as possible, as this will form the trunk of the tree which we will climb.

I had occasion to meet with Sandiko and he told me that he was offered by the Americans the position of Chief of Police at a salary of P200. He, likewise, mentioned that you had offered him the position of Police Director. He said that he would accept it if his services were badly needed, as he did not relish serving the Americans despite the big salary. If you really intend to give him the position, he should be informed at once so that he could issue the instructions that would best suit his plans.

It is necessary that whoever will take charge of the diplomatic work should make out the program schedule so that the desired goal will be realized and no demoralization or luke-warmness of spirit sets in. It is also necessary that he appear before the Council before anything definite takes place.



  • The Philippine Revolution by T.M. Kalaw p. 243: communications with the Federalists?

Mabini write the following letter to Paterno:

“You want to know my opinion and I give it to you frankly and sincerely: I believe that you should first ask the American authorities to recognize the freedom of the press and of peaceful lawful gatherings, in order that the state of public opinion, uninfluenced by either fear or expediency, may be known. It is not a question of organizing a party, for there is always time enough for such things, but for finding a formula which would restore towns not only material, but also, above all, moral peace. Even granting that Aguinaldo side with your, if the masses of the people are dissatisfied, at most you will have found a palliative, not a cure.”

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin Pre-1935 mayor: “Presidente” (where from?) Bonifacio as “Presidente” p. 131

The momentous point here was not the June 12 Kawit proclamation but the transfer in July of Aguinaldo’s headquarters to Bacoor, within sight of Manila. In a month he had advanced along the old Camino Real from Cavite port to the very gates of the capital city. A June 12 wire from Dewey notified Washington that Aguinaldo already had Manila encircled and was punishing it without cease.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p. 186;                   3 Conditions

However, he was willing to state the principles under which the war might be stopped, principles which might serve as the bases upon which the “political edifice of the Philippines could be built” later on. The first was that the Filipinos were to be allowed to enjoy all individual rights (natural and political) then being enjoyed in all free countries. The second was that the Filipinos were to have the same rights as Americans in Filipino territory. The last was the immediate formation of a government that guaranteed the above two principles. (“Contestacion de Mabini,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume II, pp. 194-199)

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 249: Jones Act!


Anda Station, June 22, 1900

Owing to the preceding letter, General MacArthur honored me with a summons to his office in the Ayuntamiento at four o’clock this afternoon.

He informed me that he had not said anything to Mr. Canon about my freedom; but that he was ready, of course, to grant it to me as soon as I accept the amnesty that he had just published.

In answer to all of this, I requested that I be allowed to postpone the oath-taking required by the amnesty until such time as the Americans have sworn to respect the rights of Filipinos as free citizens. I added that in every cultured and liberal country, constituted authority is entitled to the obedience of the citizens after it has bound itself to respect the individual rights of the latter. I made the observation, besides, that I was limiting myself to individual rights as I was just a mere private citizen without being a representative of or having a commission from the Revolution.

General MacArthur told me that, after taking the oath, I would enjoy complete freedom; to which I replied that I would not believe him as long as the freedom to which every citizen was entitled to was not decreed by law.

He then, read to me some provisions on freedom taken from the Constitution of the United States, emphasizing to me that he was authorized to implant them in the Philippines when those who were in the fields had laid down their arms.

I told him that the trouble lies in that the President of the United States is the arbiter of those provisions, and, because of this, he can give them and withdraw them at will, and that we, the Filipinos, do not want freedom under a precarious title. “We want,” I added, “a law that would insure our freedoms in a way that neither the president of the United States nor any other authority could destroy, such as the Constitution of the United States; and we want besides that said law be passed and promulgated now, to calm the anxiety of the people, even though it should not be implemented until after the signing of the treaty of peace.”


  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 179; Basis of campaigns for 1916 and 1934

This article openly questioned the principle enunciated by some Americans that the Filipinos could not govern themselves; a principle that Mabini claim served as a mere rationalization to prevent the realization of Filipino aspirations. He further claimed that the Americans did not really know the Filipinos for they could not know in 300 days what the Spaniards failed to know in 300 years,

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 180; Is Mabini quoted by Twain?

Mabini’s analysis of the political situation led him to conclude that there were only two alternatives left: either to make the Philippines a state of the American Union or give the country its independence. Completely disregarding other possible alternatives and maintaining that being a state of the union was a chimera. Mabini insisted that independence could serve as the only solution to the Philippine question. (See “El gobierno de los Estados Unidos en Filipinas,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume II, pp. 156-167.)

  • The Philippine Revolution by T.M. Kalaw: p. 259:                    BOER – what was this?

In a memorandum he prepared for General Mac Arthur, dated September 29, Mabini said that independence is the ideal nearest to the hearts of the great majority of the Filipino people, “with the limitations imposed by the Americans and accepted by the Filipinos”. What these imitations might be was a question which he was ready to discuss in detail as soon as the Americans should accept as valid the power which General Aguinaldo had conferred upon him.

During the conference, Mabini expressed the belief that the Filipinos in arms and the people in general would accept a government similar to that of the Republic of South Africa before the war.

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p: 224 – 226: Mabini Plan for Negros


Rosales, October 17, 1899

My dear President Aguinaldo:

I have read the conferences between General Alejandrino and Otis, according to the memoir signed by the former and his’ companions and I still remember the previous conferences.

From said conferences, we get the conclusion that the Americans maintain the same attitude that they had when I resigned from my position in the government, to wit: They are not ready to recognize the Philippine Government and they will only admit a commission formed by General Aguinaldo as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and not as President of the Republic.

The petition of General Alejandrino that Otis be the peacemaker of the Philippines has completely destroyed the good effect that the spontaneous pardon of the American prisoners should produce.[8] Otis can say with reason that the remission of a few American prisoners was a gift to him to make him a partisan of peace, which shows weakness and is very damaging to our cause, because the triumph of our ideals consists in making the Americans believe that we are strong and tenacious. If our cause has won sympathies abroad and in the United States, it is because the people of those countries marvel at our resolute attitude and all weakness, therefore, is harmful to us.

Now, then the Americans do not admit Commissioners of the Government but only Commissioners of General Aguinaldo. I ask: Is General Aguinaldo ready to answer all alone for the good or bar result that the work of that Commission may produce on the country? The Government will not answer for it, inasmuch as Otis does not recognize it. General Aguinaldo alone can answer it, because he is the only one recognized by the said American general. It seems to me that the glory and the prestige of General Aguinaldo should be well guarded by every patriot and should not be exposed to any failure, because once that glory and that prestige are destroyed, our unity will be seriously threatened.

I will prove that the way the Commission intends to carry on its work can be considered treacherous by the country. May the President forgive my language, which is inspired by my very loyalty to him, much more so when I shall expound the reasons with the greatest clearness’ possible.

The policy of the American Government, if we pay close attention to the Treaty of Paris and to this conduct here, also in Cuba and in Puerto’ Rico, is nothing but a policy of deceit. Everything tends to show that Americans seek to find that we want, so that, once the terms of our claims are made public, we can no longer turn back even if circumstances favorable to us should turn up. They are cleverly trying to shy away any compromise with us, so that they can avail themselves of all the advantages that the fortunes of war may bring them.

If the Commissioners of General Aguinaldo can state their terms, they do so only by virtue of the instructions that they receive from General Aguinaldo and not from the Government. General Aguinaldo in his capacity as General can only ask for the suspension of hostilities in order to be able to consult the will of the provinces through their lawful representatives, who are the only ones who can talk in the name of the people. If Otis would accept a Commission appointed by the Government, General Aguinaldo could carry out what the Cabinet would decide, which, in accordance with the Constitution, is the body responsible; but as long as Otis does not, let General Aguinaldo consider the terrible responsibility that he has to shoulder in the eyes of public opinion and of history.

Should General Aguinaldo deal with an American General who admits that he is not vested with ample powers by his own Government on the terms of pacification that the present Cabinet wants, he will exceed his attributes as General. Those terms can only be agreed upon by: the President of the Republic and his Government, and these are neither recognized nor accepted by the Americans. When the Americans shall recognize the Philippine Republic and the Philippine Government, then the discussion on said terms will be in order. If General Otis declines to act on the ground of lack of powers from his Government and Congress, then, let General Aguinaldo excuse himself likewise, alleging that, as a simple general, he is not empowered to discuss anything concerning the future of the country. But should they accept his rank as President of the Republic, he will talk things over with his Government.

When the Americans shall come to recognize the Philippine Government, I shall try to go there to cooperate in the preparation of a treaty which is advantageous to the country under obtaining circumstances. While the Americans refuse to do this, I consider my presence unnecessary, because, over the uncertainty of these negotiations, I also want to save my prestige.

This is my answer to your courteous letter of the 16th instant, being deeply grateful for the honor that you do me in asking to hear my humble opinion.

I am always your respectful and obedient servant.

Ap. Mabini


should you interpose your valuable influence with your Government so that it would recognize our independent Republic and may your Excellency be in this way the peacemaker of the Philippines.’  ”

” ‘ I do not think I have such influence. ‘ ”

” ‘ On the contrary, General, I believe that your opinion would be of great weight in Washington, and it can influence in the termination of this unfortunate war. ‘ ”

“Among the witnesses present at this conference who are still living, I can cite Col. Ramon Soriano and Ex-Magistrate Fred Fisher, who was then acting as interpreter of General Otis ” — Excerpt from a letter of General Alejandrino to Teodoro M. Kalaw.



Preliminary Requirements

1st. Work for the official recognition of Commissioners appointed by the Philippine Government, and not by General Aguinaldo, for reasons already expressed in the letter.

2nd. Ask for the suspension of hostilities in order to convoke all the provinces to a special meeting. Said provinces shall be advised beforehand to appoint Representatives who will expound their wishes on the future of Philippines. In this way, confusions that would arise as a result of the nonconformity of some on the ground that they have not been properly represented shall be avoided; such confusions would tend to give cause to the world powers to dominate us.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p. 216;                   Peace as means for independence

In this second letter Mabini stated that: “It seems to me that at the present time we should endeavor to secure independence through the path of peace. Let us cease that the people may rest, that it may work to recover from its recent proprietary losses. Let us conform to the opinion of the majority, although we may recognize that by this method we do not obtain our desires… This is, I believe, the surest and most fit method in dealing with the welfare of all.” (Fourth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission, 1903, Part I, p. 26.)

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 255


Wednesday, August 1, 1900

At four o’clock in the afternoon I was taken to the Ayuntamiento and introduced to the North American Commission. Present were the President of the Commission, Mr. Taft, two members of the same, the interpreter, and a stenographer. I asked for this conference so that it would not be said that I have shut myself up to appear self-important doing no effort to find means for solution an/1 understanding under obtaining circumstances.

When the session opened, I said the following: “I have been a prisoner since last December and I am denied my freedom unless beforehand. I acknowledge American sovereignty. In international law, the word sovereignty has no precise and fixed definition, so much so that in the South African question England still claims to have sovereignty over two Republics, notwithstanding the fact that she has recognized the complete independence of the same regarding the interior administration of the government. My efforts in favor of my country have no other purpose than to obtain the most solid guaranty for the freedoms and the rights of the Filipinos. If, therefore, the American sovereignty offers more or less the same guaranty that a proper government could offer, I would, then, have no difficulty in acknowledging it in the service of peace.”

I ended by saying that I had solicited the conference in order to find out up to what point the Americans would limit the sovereignty Which, by nature, belongs to the Filipino people.

Mr. Taft, after listening to the observations of his companions, answered as follows: ”’American sovereignty has for its purpose to give the Filipinos a good government. The sovereignty that the United States of America claim is the same that Russia or Turkey would claim if they were to occupy the Philippines, with the only difference that, in the case of the United States of America, the exercise of this sovereignty shall be inspired by the spirit of the Constitution. The Commission shall try to 

1 Wm. H. Taft’s letter to MacArthur dated Aug. 1,1900 (see Appendix) B) indicated Taft’s willingness to hear Mabini’s views.

p. 256:                        NOTE

establish a popular government in the Philippines within the moulds of the one which has been recently voted for Puerto Rico.”

To this I replied that the principles on which the American constitution is based declare that sovereignty belongs to the people by natural right; that the American Government, therefore, in wanting not only to limit but to annul completely the sovereignty of the Filipino people, commits an injustice that sooner or later will exact a reparation or an expiation and that there can be no popular government where the people are not given real and effective participation in the constitution and in the running of that same government.

The members of the Commission answered that they were not authorized to discuss abstract matters, as they had orders to make their opinion prevail by force, if needs be, after hearing the opinions of the Filipinos.

I said then that I considered the conference over, because I believe it useless, to debate with force and to give my opinions to one who did not like to listen to the voice of reason.

Mr. Taft asked me if I wanted to help in the study of the taxes that could be imposed on the people, I answered that, considering unjust all taxes imposed without a concourse of the representatives of those called upon to pay them, I could not take part in said study without the representation and the mandate of the people.

I see all too clearly now that the Americans are set on reducing us to the cruel alternative of dishonor or death. Since this is so, I shall try to conduct myself as an honorable man who places his duties and his honor before everything else. Between dishonor and death, it is our duty to prefer the latter.


Note: I limited myself to writing down the substance of the talks although in the actual conference the expressions were softened by the accepted forms of courtesy and culture.


  • The Philippine Revolution by T.M. Kalaw p. 179:  A government of opinion

“First – The Filipino Government is compelled to ask for armistice and for the suspension of hostilities, as the only way to peace; firstly, in order to justify itself before the people that it had done everything to prevent the country from being utterly ruined, and, secondly, in order to give to the Commission a means to end the war in a manner most honorable to the American army and most glorious to the Government of the United States.


V. “Nationalism” through both “reform” and “revolution” Mabini identified that independence could no longer be suppressed; that it would be impossible to ignore either by Filipinos or Americans: the last showdown of this would be the Dominion proposal of 1938 and in 1946.

  • The Philippine Revolution by T.M. Kalaw: p. 245-246:   autonomy and rights

 “When the meeting began I said: I have been a prisoner since last December and I shall not be set free unless I swear allegiance to American sovereignty. The word ‘allegiance’ in international law has no precise and exact definition; in the problem of South Africa, Great Britain still pretends to exercise sovereignty over the two republics, notwithstanding the fact that she had recognized their complete independence with reference to their internal administration. My efforts in behalf of my country have no other object than the institution of an enduring guarantee for the rights and prerogatives of the Filipinos; if, therefore, American sovereignty offers, more or less, the same guarantee as would be offered by a government of our own, I shall have no hesitation to swear allegiance for the sake of peace. I ended saying that I asked for the conference in order to know in what degree American sovereignty would limit what naturally belongs to the Filipino people.

  • The Philippine Revolution by Apolinario Mabini: p. 176-177:   why obsession with South Africa?

Since the Boers ruled in Orange and Transvaal by virtue of conquest and might over the natives, they did not have a reason to complain against the English, who by law of mighty, took hold of the said territories. If the Boers has at least permitted the natives the gradual access to political and civil life of free citizens, their triumph would have interested and benefited humanity. But this could not be expected of a people who believe to be God’s chosen ones because Jehovah himself ordered Joshua the extermination of the Canaanites. Perhaps, that is why, President Kruger, for having not considered himself called to undertake any extraordinary mission for the future of humanity, opted, as a prudent and wise general, for the dissolution of his army and abandoned the conquered country under the hands of a stronger conqueror. Later it would be said that civilization has erased from international law that word “conquest” as a means of acquiring the right to own persons and things!

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p.158: ordenanza

And there’s an echo of this in Mabini’s “A revolution is always just, if it tries to destroy a government that is foreign and an usurper.”

But did Mabini extend this ordenanza to mean any government with interests foreign to those of the masses and which usurps power that should belong only to the people? Was he in Malolos already fighting a counter-revolution against a possible tyranny of the “clase ilustrada y rica de Manila”?

  • Rewriting Philippine History, The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes by Alfredo B. Saulo p. 67; Find this speech

Then in a speech on May 1, 1912, he told Americans that the “Filipino people would unhesitatingly prefer to be poor but free rather than be rich but subjects!” (Manuel L. Quezon)

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul: p 213;                    Defeat, Does not consider Sakay, etc.

What Mabini then emphasized was that the struggle of the Filipinos was initiated to enable them to enjoy what they deemed constituted to their natural rights; for if they did not enjoy these rights, they would once again be living in an atmosphere of social inequality. But the scanty resources of the Filipinos were no match against that of the Americans. Consequently, defeat became inevitable. Thus, “the war became unjustifiable and untenable the moment that the great majority of the population preferred to submit themselves to the conqueror and many of the revolutionists joined their ranks; for not being able to enjoy their natural rights, since the American forces prevented them from doing so, and not having the resources to remove such impediments, they judged it prudent to yield and hope in the promises made to them in the name of the people of the United States.” According to Mabini, it was while the last of the guerrilla bands were surrendering that, amnesty was proclaimed and repatriation offered to the exiles.

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 200 – 206;


Rosales, July 25, 1899



My dear Friends:

I acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 25th and 26th of June which I got only two days ago, not knowing what could have caused the delay. I sent “Puno” the translations of the foreign news, with the copy of the treaty between Spain and Germany, and your letters to him. I wrote Mr. Buencamino, telling him that you are complaining of his silence and that of the President of the Council of Government, and requesting him to inform you of the decision of the Government about Ilustre’s request for 800 gold pesos for his return expenses, an amount which, to me, seems somewhat excessive, unless he has to meet some obligations. I told him also that you already know about the change of the Cabinet, that is why I am of the opinion that you should also write to him about the general progress of the affairs over there, so that the members of the Cabinet will not think that you are not with them. The welfare of the country and our goals demand that you do this.

The autonomists of Manila are very much discredited in the eyes of the country, and in those of the Americans themselves who believed that the former could be of great service to them with the revolutionists. Even the present Cabinet has to change its opinion and program very soon and to continue our previous policy, because it has seen that if it would not lend itself to this change, it could not remain long in power, as “Puno”, backed by the Army and by the people, is decided to fight for independence. “Puno” wanted a suspension of hostilities only for a short time to afford the troops a much-needed rest and to gather pills.[11] Otis refused out of distrust, but “Puno” has partly obtained his wish, because the rains are forcing the enemy almost to inaction and the soldiers are disheartened. “Puno” tells’ me that the Government is ready to receive the Serge[12] any time, but it is necessary that it be soon.

                        “Puno” = Aguinaldo?

The news about dissensions and formation of factions is not true. There are only the autonomists and the partisans of the war. The first are very few and they are within Manila and, even among these few, it seems to me that many show that they are so only for the sake of convenience. Among us, although I deplore and condemn the violent death of Luna, his demise has warded off a threatening tempest. Luna aimed high, convinced maybe that he was more cultured than “Puno” and, if he had not done anything as yet, it was because he had not yet acquired the necessary prestige to challenge “Puno” openly. That is why he aspired to the Presidency of the Council with the portfolio of war. “Puno’s” weakness before Luna has contributed much to rouse Luna’s ambitions. Because “Puno” allowed him to do what he wanted, Luna thought that he could manipulate “Puno” like a puppet. But, knowing “Puno” as I do, it is safe to suppose that had Luna obtained what he wanted, a cleavage would have taken place that may have destroyed us all. Despite everything, however, I frankly admit that, until now, I am yet in the dark as to the real motives behind Luna’s death, which I still cannot determine whether it was casual or premeditated.

I do not know if it is true that Paterno has asked to be allowed to return to Manila. It may be true, but the request may have been made before his coming into power, and after robbers have entered his house in Mejico, robbing him of plenty of money and jewelry. The news about General G. del Pilar is not true either; so much so, that “Puno” had appointed him one of the commissioners who went to Manila to ask for a suspension of hostilities, after Arguelles had failed and following the scandal stirred up by Luna against Buencamino and Paterno right after the formation of the present Cabinet

“Puno” has just written to me about the appointment of Antonio Regidor as envoy to America. He tells me that Regidor’s power is limited to asking for the recognition of our independence. Would to heaven that he be more luck than “Kita.” As long as he would not allow himself to be flatter by the Americans, like the political acrobats of Manila, he can be of some service to us. The trouble with Regidor is that because he does not know our people well he may be guided by the information that he may receive from those of Manila. It will be up to you to put us on guard if needs be. On the other hand, the Americans know by now that the truly influential men in the Revolution and in the country are not those who are on their side.

It seems that the friars do not really stop resorting to every means, however, inhuman, in order to save their interests from being lost. But let us see if they can do it. While I have an atom of strength and influence left, I shall use them to destroy their plans and calculations. Their expulsion from the Philippines for our tranquillity is becoming indispensable. McKinley, Otis and their followers are falling under those leeches. On the other hand, the campaign in Cavite failed to yield the result that the Americans had expected.

With my last letter of July 21st, I enclosed a narrative, which I signed, of the events or of the behavior of the Americans towards us. Please translate it into English so that the American people shall know of such behavior. If you think it is necessary, you can give the lie to an interview which is attributed to me, because there has been no such interview, and much less have I said that we are awaiting foreign intervention, that is, a European one.

August 11th

Up to now, I have not found an opportunity to send this letter. Neither can I add other news, because there has been no remarkable occurrence. Military operations are paralyzed. The roads are almost impassable because of the rains. However, a rumor is going around that the Americans will renew their attacks on the 15th and that the Government is contemplating to move to Bayambang. I do not know how much truth there is in this.

Congress has voted a foreign loan of twenty million pesos in order to give formal authorization to “Kita” to negotiate for it. I am against any other world power, aside from America, to be our creditor nowadays because I am afraid of a dangerous intervention. That world power will get back her money either by siding with us or by forging an understanding with the enemy to divide us between them. The means that I consider safest is that America herself, upon recognizing our independence, should lend us the money. However, if that loan is badly needed I consider it indispensable that the world power which will be our creditor should recognize our independence or, at least, our belligerence.

September 13, 1899

I have already sent this letter to Manila by a messenger, but he had to return it to me because he could not cross the American lines. On the other hand, as in my letter of July 21st, I had already announced many of the things that I repeated here, I did not consider its sending very necessary and urgent and, hence, the delay.

As of today, I have just received the very pleasant letter of “Ikkis,” dated July 25th, last, with the translations of clippings and of foreign news, which I sent to La Independencia together with the letter and the news for this newspaper.

Our communications are in truth, very slow; but I have already previously written; to “Puno” about your wishes that he arrange a faster means of communication. I am now going to reiterate this request, “Puno” has just told me that you have retained the credentials of Regidor and that he has approved said retention, and ordered the sending of said credentials withheld until further orders, because of certain inconveniences that you have found and which he considers reasonable. I answered him saying that, in my opinion, Regidor has the disadvantage of knowing our country only very slightlly, as he has been away from here for quite along time. If to this is added the consideration he has kept no connections with, the Philippines except with the rich people of Manila, particularly, may be, with Pardo de Tavera, the leader of autonomism and political “acrobatism,” I cannot lay aside the fear that he would represent in, America said pernicious element, disregarding our legitimate aspirations.

Note: Assertions he is up?

On the 23th of last month, Congress and the Government elected me President of the Supreme Court of Justice which, according to our Constitution, carries with it the office of the Vice-President of the Republic, “Puno” sided by, Doctor Barcelona, Don Gracio and others, worked for my election; but the Council of Government, backed by Tio Bosiong, the actual President of Congress, and Ferrer, opposes my appointment tenaciously. I is being said that they are working hard to annul my election on the ground of physical disability and, for this reason, I have not yet been informed of my election. But I do not know if they would succeed, because “Puno” appears to be firm in his wish that I be the one to occupy that position. It is also being said that Paterno is set on being elected to the post because he sees that “Puno” does not have much confidence in him and he may lose his position any time; that is why he wants to insure an honorable exit. Besides, if these people did not like me before, they like me less now that I have published articles describing graphically some errors and blunders that, in my opinion, would be fatal unless they are corrected. You know well enough, that I am often harsh in my language, and, besides, I purposely called aloud to make sure that I would be heard. Result: a warning from the Department of the Interior which considered my article antipatriotic, because they, the persons in power, say that I am giving the foreigners cause to think unfavorable of our capacity to govern and of our union. I had to convince the editor of the paper that to point out our own errors is patriotism and it will, at the same time, show the foreigners that we have definite nations of the art of governing: that polemics are not discords, and they cannot harm us, unless they weaken or break our union in our efforts to attain our final goal, which is independence. In the beginning he felt certain scruples; but now, in the last issues of the paper, he himself wrote two editorials against the politics of deceits and lies which our politicians and employees, copying the Spanish model, seem to pursue. This is why certain elements who are fond of ostentation, but who pay very little attention to the Constitution and to the laws, hate me so much.

We have started here the campaign of the Filipino clergy, owing to the excommunication launched against P. Aglipay by the noted Nozaleda. I am sending you herewith the answer in the form of manifesto, of said priest. I do not know if I could send you other works that have been published, to show that Nozaleda has no longer eclesiastical jurisdiction over the Philippines. I have not yet received the copies that I was promised, but if they do not come on time to go with this letter. I shall send them to you when I receive them.

                        Note: Buencamino & Nozaleda

Buencamino wants also to assure for himself of an honorable exit. He is working on the clergy so that they will appoint him ambassador to Rome. But his intentions are not good, because he says that he will earnestly try to obtain from Nozaleda the appointment of an Ecclesiastical Governor, I do not understand what this man thinks. But I told the clergy that should they allow themselves to be taken in and come to an understanding with Nozaleda, they will become the enemies of the county and of the truly patriotic elements. I feel ashamed of having to inform you of these internal problems, because I consider them ugly; but I trust in your discretion and, besides, I believe it convenient that you should, know what is going on here.

Fortunately, these things do not prevent our army from becoming more and more animated, neither do they detract from the enthusiasm of the people, despite the sorrows caused by certain abuses and burdens. The Americans can hardly move forward despite all their efforts; that is why the Government has decided to stay in Tarlac. There are very persistent rumors that the volunteers and some American officials in Manila are very much displeased, and that, over there, there is much fear of a sudden attack by them in combination with the native police. Hence, our communication with Manila has become more difficult, because the American authorities have taken certain precautions.

I received with great satisfaction the news that my answers to the foreign traders and to the questions of the Oceanic had contributed to the formation abroad, of a favorable opinion about our aptitudes, and I am deeply grateful for your congratulations, although I do not deserve so much, because very few are really free from this childish weakness.

A Spanish Commission, working for the freedom of the Spanish prisoners, has been here a short time ago to confer with the Government, and our Government has asked for six or seven million pesos as indemnification. I can understand that, maybe, the penury of our Treasury and the expenses which the maintenance of the prisoners occasions in our towns, could have forced the Government to this decision; but I am afraid that the payment may be interpreted as a ransom and other people may form a very poor idea of our culture. I am of the opinion that you should hear “Kita” and Naning on this particular matter, and you should advise “Puno” on what is most convenient to do, just in case said demand may be harmful to our reputation, because the Spanish Commission which has been authorized to offer one million, promised to come back.

I have just read La Independencia of the 11th, which says that according to news from Manila, General Wheeler has just arrived to relieve Otis, who, owing to some last-minute communications with his Government, has succeeded in retaining his post, leaving the newcomer in an embarrassing position. If this is true, the dissensions between the two will be favorable to us. Enclosed herewith is a number of La Independencia that carries one of my articles. I do not know whether its publication is advisable or not, because some people may say that it means putting the colossi on guard. But I say to myself that the latter already know, without our saying so, that our Revolution is injurious to them. And in this supposition I believe that it would be to our advantage that they should understand that we possess some knowledge. If being reserve was convenient to us at the beginning, I do not anymore consider it necessary today, because the question now is to show our capability. It is up to you to decide whether it is advisable to send this article to “Kita,” so that he can see whether or not it is suitable for publication in European papers. It seems to me that you should work over there so that the Pope will appoint a Filipino Bishop, inasmuch as to appoint a foreigner would result into schism, because the clergy has established its Chapter for the government of the Philippine Church and appointed a Commission to Rome which sails as soon as it can. Of course, I am talking of work in the press and not of other kinds of efforts which are not possible nowadays. This would help our aspirations for the expulsion of the leeches with cowls.

If you have not received my article of July 21st, which I sent you with my letter containing an exact and faithful narration of the conduct of the Americans towards us, please tell me so that I can send you another copy.

I am still as before, waiting for relief that may never come. Regards to all from your affectionate.

Ap. Mabini

P. S.

Is the loss of many grains[13] which have been loaded for that place due really to the recent storm, true? It seems that the obstacles which are trying our dedication to the cause are not yet through. Fortunately, the stormy weather has to pass and, by force or by the unavoidable law of Nature, better days will come in which, with a stroke, we shall make up for our losses and gain much more.


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 209;              See p. 204 on Buencamino one month later


Rosales, August 12, 1899


My dear Friend and Colleague:

I received your last two letters, that is, the one of July 1st and that of August 6th. I am grateful not only for your offers but also for the news that you are so kind to impart.

I congratulate you for the improvement that is taking place in our foreign relations, and I congratulate myself also, because said improvement indefinitely prolongs my rest. Even if I consider the present Cabinet patriotic to the utmost, I cannot free myself of the misgiving that, when the tempest and the dangers increase in violence, it may find itself hard-pressed enough to shift the weight to other shoulders as it had happened to me. It would not be so bad if, you should have the luck that I had in finding stronger ones.

I agree with you. We have to try all means to make the American people put down McKinley or force him to change policy. It is in this way alone that we can obtain our independence with less danger for the integrity of our territory. Any negotiation that may result in a foreign intervention is very dangerous, because the world power that may intervene can forge an understanding with America if in so doing it can get greater advantages than by helping us.

I am afraid that, despite your best wishes, the plan of establishing schools would entail a useless expenditure. Until we can have the certainty that the Americans will not attack, I do not believe that opening schools is advisable.

You know that you can always command your affectionate and and respectful

Ap. Mabini

p. 253-254:                 all sub historians pick up on Kalaw


July 20, 1900


My dear Sir and Friend:

In inviting me to a meeting of the Filipino people I see that you have overlooked the fact that I should not attend it because I am neither the people nor have I have been authorized by the people to represent them. I beg you, therefore, to excuse me and accept my thanks and not to misuse so much the name of the poor Filipino people.

You say that one of the purposes of the meeting is to make known the peaceful aims of General MacArthur, which is completely useless. In the articles published in the newspapers and signed by you, copies of which you have so kindly sent me, you quote the above-mentioned General as having said these words: “It is a mistake to believe that something can be obtained by force from the United States; but, on the other hand, it is true that any concession can be expected from the generosity of the American people.” You could not have found a better and a clearer way of expressing the thought than this. I believe, however, that it would be more practical and positive that you tell the General that to believe in their generosity, it is necessary that we first see justice. A generous act costs the doer more than any act of justice, because in the latter case he does nothing more than pay or give what is due, while in the former case he has to make a present of something which is his very own. If the Americans begin by taking possession of the sovereignty that belongs to the Filipino people, you are more than sagacious to understand that it is useless to expect gifts from one who, not content with what is his, takes possession of what belongs to another.

Another purpose of the meeting, according to you, is to make the people see the necessity and the advantage of peace as a basis of freedom. It seems to me that instead of making the people see the necessity of this, it should be treated as something which is already known or understood. We all want peace1 and there are those who suffer and fight, just to obtain it. I grant that the masses may, perhaps, believe that once the armed fight is over we shall have peace. But you are not the masses; you who have grown grey hair in the struggle of life will not allow yourself to be fooled by appearances. You know perfectly well that there cannot be real peace, which is the only basis of freedom, etc., where there are ignored rights, outraged justice, and crimes.

A humiliating peace is tolerated only in uncivilized countries. Do you mean that those who believe us lacking in all culture are right — you, who, because of your learning and experience, are the ones most called, upon to honor our culture in the eyes of the world?

I am your courteous and respectful,

Ap. Mabini


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p.259 – 263:


Manila, P.I., August 31, 1900

General J. F. Bell

My dear and distinguished General:

The reading of your personal letter of the 28th instant1 has made me very happy. After having considered closely the points treated in it, I cannot but acknowledge the loftiness of your intentions and the nobility of your sentiments. I shall try to match your kind attention and courtesy and give you, with the greatest clearness and frankness, my private opinion on the subject under consideration, with so much more pleasure, as I am no less anxious to find a satisfactory solution of the same.

You bewail that the Filipino people do not know how to appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of the Americans. May I take the liberty to tell you that until now all the efforts and sacrifices of the Americans tend only to show their devastating strength, and this fact the Filipino people understand. When the American authorities turn back their eyes to reason and justice, making less use of force, I can assure you that the Filipino people shall at once know how to appreciate the change of procedure.

You yourself corroborate my estimate of the situation when in your letter you set up this principle: “The only justifiable condition of war under whatever circumstance is the possibility of success.” Were this principle true and were it constantly put into practice, the solution of all international and civil questions would have to be sought in force, and men would have to blot out with a stroke of the pen the eternal principles of morality and justice, written with the blood of many generations, and bring back mankind to its primitive state.

You could not invoke the words “humanity” and “civilization” without demolishing your principle. If in real life the strong nations so easily make use of force to impose their claims on the weak ones, it is because even now civilization and humanitarian sentiments that are so often i principle, it has to be admitted that the war which the Americans are waging- in the Philippines is just and humanitarian, because the Filipinos are weak, which trend of reasoning not even the most ignorant Filipino will believe to be true.

I am the first to deplore deeply the guerrilla and ambush system of warfare which, the Filipinos have been forced to adopt, because I have always considered the fight that offers equal risks to both combatants more noble and more worthy of men. But the laws of war that authorizes the strong nations the use of their powerful weapons of combat in their fight with a weak people who lack said weapons, are the very laws that persuade the weak people to make use of the guerrilla and ambush system, especially when it comes to defending their homes and their freedoms against an invasion. In this extreme case, those very laws implacably order the weak people to defend their threatened honor and natural rights under pain of being called uncivilized and incapable of understanding the responsibilities of a proper government. I agree with you in this: force as the only factor used in the solution of all kinds of questions among rational being is not only crim-nal in itself but it is also the cause of all the miseries and ruin that have afflicted humanity and the peoples of all ages, For the reasons that I have stated in the previous paragraphs, the Americans and not the Filipinos should be reminded of this lesson from history.

The Filipinos knew only too well that by force, they can expect nothing from the United States. They fight to show to the United States that they possess sufficient culture to know their rights even when there is a pretense to hide them by means of clever sophisms. The Filipinos hope that the fight will remind the Americans of the struggle borne by their ancestors against the Englishmen for the emancipation of the colonies which are now the free States of North America. Then the Americans were in the same place which the Filipinos are; in today. If at that time the justice of the American cause found defenders in France, the Filipinos hope to have on their part the very Americans when the latter will realize that the fight is not motivated by hatred of race, but by the same principles: sealed with the blood of their own ancestors.

The Filipinos: know also that the art of governing, like all other practical knowledge, is acquired through experience and that, in order to be good citizens and to be able to conduct rightly a republican form of government, it is necessary that they know how to appreciate honor and defend justice. This does not destroy the natural disposition of peoples to learn the art by themselves as the American people learned it


1 See page 265.    (Letter dated Aug. 28, 1900)

Page 261:                 Preloging la Revolucion, Note

without the help of any other men. If the Filipinos, giving up the faculties that by nature belong to them, would let the Americans govern the Islands by themselves as the latter claim to do, the Filipinos would never learn the art of governing, and they would give the Americans a cause to say that the Filipinos are by nature incapable to govern. The Filipinos cannot believe in the promised help because the conditions required for the granting of said help make the realization of the promise impossible.

I hope the Americans will understand that the present state of culture of the Filipino people shall not put up with subjugation by force as a permanent condition. The Filipinos may be vanquished now and again, but as long as they are denied every kind of right, there will not be lasting peace. The Spaniards were able to rule the Islands without great troubles for three centuries because the Filipinos were then sunk in the most complete ignorance and they lived without consciousness of national solidarity. Today it is different; today the Filipinos share in the life of other nations and they have tasted, even if only for a short time and in an incomplete manner, the joys of an independent life.

I can understand that its impossible, nay, even pernicious, that the Americans should abandon the Islands to the mercy of other ambitious world powers. The Filipinos know likewise that the union between the two peoples is the only thing that can undo and avert the dangers of the future. Mutual convenience demands the prompt cessation of hostilities; because as the war drags on, it will necessarily engender hatred and make it impossible for the Americans and the Filipinos to lead a common life together. In the Revolution of 1896, the Filipinos were only asking of Spain the concession of certain privileges which the Spaniards enjoyed, but the Spanish Government refused to grant them their request; had those privileges been granted, the Revolution would not only have been stopped, but the Filipinos would have made common cause with Spain in the war against the United States.

The Filipinos are ready for an understanding as long as said understanding would not demand as a condition an unconditional submission to the claims of the Americans, but the acceptance of a formula in the advantages and disadvantages of which both sides would equally share. The Filipinos would not have faith in the promises of the American authorities while the latter pin them down to the cruel alternative of dishonor or death. In the meantime that American sovereignty is not content with limiting the prerogatives inherent to the Filipino people, and would go so far as to claim the complete annulment of the same, such sovereignty shall be hated by the

p.262:             Impt. Definitions

Filipinos who will see in it the origin of all their humiliation. If the war does not prevent the organization of municipalities, much less can it prevent the creation of a constitutional project that will lay the cornerstone of the political future of the Philippines. When the Congress of the United States shall become convinced that the completion of said project will paralyze the fighting, it will make it into law. Any reference to the just claims of the Filipinos far from weakening among them the prestige of the Americans, would make it more firm to serve as a base on which the solidarity, of interests, which is the best guaranty of union and peace, would stand.

For my part, I shall do everything that I can to facilitate such understanding. The one branded as uncompromising will give a clear and practical proof of the greatest adaptability, because he knows that he who lives in this world has to undergo the inconveniences in it. Hence, I shall not advocate absolute independence, knowing that I cannot obtain it now. Neither would I talk about independence with protectorate nor of autonomy, because both are purely theoretical. Protectorate is a limitation the nature and importance of which depends upon the mutual agreement, tacit or expressed, between the protector and the protected. Autonomy, on the other hand, involves in itself the idea of independence more or less restricted. To discuss these formulas, therefore, is to waste time on abstract questions.

I shall go direct to the point as is commonly said, following the example of the Americans who are a very practical people. I shall limit myself to point out the bases on which, in my opinion, the political edifice of the Philippines should stand, to wit:

1st. The enjoyment by the Filipinos of the same individual rights, natural as well as political, that the citizens of cultured and free nations enjoy;

2nd. Complete equality between the Americans and the Filipinos within the territory of the Philippine Islands; an

3rd. The organization of government which would offer the best guarantees for the realization of the first two conditions.

I should like to see a project of the Constitution that would fix the rules which shall serve as basis for the solution of the questions that may arise from the three capital points which I have just specified; and should I find it acceptable to the majority of the Filipinos, I would not have any inconvenience in advising my countrymen the acceptance of the same. My uncompromising attitude has no other1 purpose but the assurance of a real peace; hence, I cannot accept conditions which, in my opinion, will not lessen the unrest of the minds.

Please forgive me if I have written long and if, involuntarily, I have expressed myself with more frankness than courtesy. I wanted to have these poor lines reflect faithfully the sentiments of the majority of the Filipinos, and I hope I have achieved it. Many maybe cannot or will not like to express their real thoughts on these questions; but it does not matter. Everything that I have said beats to the core of the hearts of all Filipinos.

I have the greatest pleasure to be your most attentive servant.

Ap. Mabini


P. 265-267 :

[Enclosure]  letter from general bell*

Manila, P.I., August 28, 1900

My dear Mr. Mabini:

In view of what you have told me in our last conversation, it seems that it will not be difficult for the Americans and the Filipinos to come to an understanding more definite than the one that exists between them now, as long as the latter would be willing to recognize clearly the wisdom of the policy which I shall try to explain to you.

In this compromise, the Americans do not constitute an enemy people. They only want as any other nation would want, that their good intentions shall be recognized. They need to see a. sign that the Filipino people appreciate the efforts and sacrifices that the Americans have done for the benefit of the same.

It will probably be impossible that the Americans would feel inclined to concede anything to an ungrateful people, especially while the latter continue to be at war with the former.

The Filipino people should understand that they cannot obtain anything from the Americans by force. Those who are familiar with the customs of the Americans should also understand that, under favorable circumstances, almost everything can be expected from their generosity. But this generosity cannot be put into practice for lack of an object, while the American soldiers are being killed under conditions that (according to the laws of war respected by all civilized nations) make their death, in reality, a murder.

The only justifiable condition of war under whatever circumstance is the possibility of success. As soon as this possibility disappears with the fluctuations of the fortunes of war, civilization demands that the defeated side, in the name of humanity, should surrender and accept the result, although it may be painful to its feelings. That is what civilization


* This letter of General Bell to Mabini and the answer of the latter [dated August 31] were both published in the local press, and they caused quite a stir in those days. The nationalists, in the fields as well as in the cities, expressed approval and pure joy. — T.M.K.

p.266: Deal of USA

would expect, and combatants who would stray, from this principle place themselves in a separate classification among civilized peoples and show themselves as incompetent in the management of civil affairs to the extent of their ignorance of the demands of humanity.

The Filipinos have been clearly defeated in the battlefields and, in my opinion, in this stage of the war, the only wise thing to do is to admit what is inevitable, suspend hostilities, surrender the arms and cooperate with the United States in the regeneration of the Islands. This is the only road to the sympathy of the people of the United States and, after the lapse of a few years, fifteen or twenty at most, it is probable that the government shall have been well adjusted in the whole Archipelago, functioning smoothly and with all the questions and disputes satisfactorily settled. If, by that time, the people of these Islands, having already shown their capacity for self-government and self-control, and their fitness in the management of their own affairs, would come to the American people and express their aspiration for a more ample self-government and ask for the indulgence of the same, in my opinion, there is almost no doubt as to the outcome. I consider too probable that the people of the United States would grant every reasonable petition made unanimously by the Filipino people.

The logic of the situation, therefore, places the fate of the Filipino people in their very hands and points out to the fact that with the acceptance of peace and the cultivation of the arts of civilization, they would, in due time, become the masters of their own destiny. Under the present circumstances, the use of force as a factor is not only criminal but it is also daily shoving the natives of the Archipelago headlong towards a deeper attitude of semicivilization in which they will become completely incapable of appreciating and understanding the responsibilities of civil government. The Filipino people can only show their fitness in this matter by laying down their arms and stop forcing the United States to grant any concession which, at present is utterly impossible for anyone in her position.

The fitness to establish and run a republican form of government in accordance with the upright principles of the American people is not an inborn gift. It is a matter of cooperation and it is acquired through experience. The people of the United States have been studying and learning this problem tor more than two centuries. They cannot, therefore, believe that the Filipino people will be capable of developing all at once such a government. The Americans, however, have no doubt that they can help the Filipinos learn this art in a short time.

I should like you to understand that I do not speak here in my official capacity as Provost-Marshal, not even as an American official, but simply in my personal status as an American citizen, expressing my own private convictions to a personal friend whom I have always respected for his frank and friendly confidence in me and for the sincerity of his intentions.

It would please me very much if, after a personal discussion, we could come to an agreement over a definite proposition that would be feasible, with which we would be doing a service to the people of these Islands who now live in a deplorable condition of doubt and uncertainty.

Yours very sincerely,

J. F. Bell



October 1, 1900

General J. F. Bell

My dear General:

I have the honor to send you the enclosed Memorandum for General MacArthur regarding the authority granted me, which document I delivered to you on the 24th of last month.

If there is no urgency for the conference and it can be indefinitely postponed, I shall, with your permission, start my preparations to move to another place.

Deeply grateful for your attention, I am, with the greatest consideration,

Your most respectful servant,

Ap. Mabini


memorandum to general macarthur

The power signed by Aguinaldo in my favor shows that the armed forces, notwithstanding the recent reverses, persist in the ideal of Independence maintained since before the war. Likewise, I am convinced that this is the same ideal cherished by the immense majority of the Filipino people.

From this it can be inferred that the most effective remedy to calm the minds of the Filipinos and to make them consider peace as a blessing is Independence, with the limitations that the Americans may impose and that the Filipinos may accept.

But I see that the word Independence is as distasteful to the hearing of the party in power in the United States as the word control, in the sense of American domination, is dis-

p. 270: Note: What does he mean?

pleasing to the ears of the Filipinos. If the Republicans do not like to hear Philippine Independence, let them not talk either of American domination in the Philippines as, otherwise, they shall never become friends with the Filipinos.

Can a state of relationship be found which would not imply either domination on the part of Americans or independence for the Filipinos? This is the real problem and its solution in the affirmative sense is the key that would unlock the doors to peace. The bases which I proposed in the answer[15] to the letter of General Bell may be considered as an expressed equation in the search for that unknown state, which is the real formula of salvation.

If such a state does not exist, the Republican party of the United States, unless it modifies its program with regard to the Philippines, can never solve the Filipino problem. History, which is the only infallible guide in this world, teaches that force only begets misery, never the welfare of peoples; that the Americans cannot destroy the Filipino people without, at the same time, attempting the destruction of the very people of the United States.

The future of the United States is magnificent, flattering, secure; that of the Filipino people, sad and uncertain. The policy of expansion claimed by the party in power will doubtless produce great advantages; but it has the misfortune of binding two peoples to a common fate, making the strong participate in the miseries of the weak. Should the Philippines be annexed to America in the cense which the party in power claims up to now, the future of the United States will, not be in the hands of the Americans alone; it will also be in the hands of the Filipinos. If the latter are not happy, the former cannot be happy either. Can all the advantages put together make up even for this inconvenience alone? Let the American politicians reflect well on this and may they not be dazzled by their strength and their triumph! Let them look not only at the present but also towards the future, since they take pride in being practical.

In short, the Filipinos offer the Americans two roads to peace: one straight and safe, the one proposed by Aguinaldo in the authority he had conferred on me; and the other, tortuous and uncertain, the one I have proposed. I say that the bases I have proposed will not lead directly to peace, because, coming as they do from a private individual mediator, they need the approval of public opinion and of the armed forces.

Let the American authorities, therefore, decide whether they accept the authority which General Aguinaldo conferred

p. 271: Note: Quote

on me or the terms which I have proposed. It is only after this preliminary question has been solved that I can come to the principal problem and go into the details. The Americans have shown only too clearly their excellence as soldiers; what is now lacking is for them to show the virtues proper to politicians and rulers, so that they can rightly say that they are worthy sons of a country destined by Providence to regenerate the world.

Manila, September 19, 1900.


In the conference between Mabini and General MacArthur, the latter wanted that Aguinaldo should surrender unconditionally and yield himself to the generosity of the Americans. The Filipino representatives could not, of course, accept negotiations based on that condition; hence the conference failed. –T.M.K



Manila, November 12, 1900

Mr. [Name erased]

My dear Friend and Colleague:

I owe it to our old friendship to inquire after your health and that of your family and to let you know, at the same time, of my freedom and the important things that have happened to me.

After you had left, I had a conference with the American Commission, a conference that bore no result, as said Commission assured me that the sovereignty that the United States claims to establish is the same that Russia or Turkey would claim to establish if they were to occupy the Philippines, but softened only by the democratic spirit of the American institutions and customs. And when I was trying to show the great advantage that could be gained were they to recognize, even if only in part, the rights of the people, the members stopped me flatly saying that they had orders to carry out the instructions they received from their Government by force, if needs be.

But afterwards you may have learned of the letter of General. Bell and of my answer, both of which were published by the newspapers here. As a private mediator who wants to exhaust all means to prevent the prolongation of the war, I proposed three bases for peace, trying to give the Americans the widest latitude possible, so that they could be familiar with the different ideals and make easier the bargaining and the exchange of impressions.

Shortly after the receipt of the letter, I unexpectedly received the notification that I could move to any, other house in Manila, but that I could not leave the capital without the permission of the American authorities. Availing myself of this authorization, I left the station on Anda Street on October 3rd last and I am staying temporarily in a house on Nagtahan Street, No. 21, Sampalok, where you have me ready to serve you in what means I can.


1 The above letter reached the camp of Aguinaldo on March 6. In the original, the address appears erased.: It is believed that it i’s addressed either to a person in the confidence of Aguinaldo, or to Aguinaldo himself, or to one who was in Aguinaldo’s company. — T.M.K.

p.277: Note: WB

Lately, I had another conference in which I was asked to specify the wishes of the armed elements. I said that I had no definite and ample instructions from General Aguinaldo, who is the only one accredited to formulate said wishes. Nevertheless, I told them of my private opinion, that not only the armed element but the whole people of the country would receive with pleasure a system of government similar to that which the South African Republics had before the war, supported by an agreement on terms that would definitely avoid a war like the one that broke out between the Englishmen and the Boers. The Americans told me that they cannot agree on the independence of the Philippines; that in order to avert the great evils that come with the prolongation of the war, Aguinaldo should lay down the arms, yield himself to the generosity of the Americans and come to Manila, with the assurance that General Bell would himself go to meet him at any place that he, Aguinaldo, may designate and that General MacArthur would welcome him as a guest in his palace and treat him like a real brother. I promised, of course, to relay the message.

Do not ask me about the terms that I proposed, because there is nothing that I can say. The Americans are silent about them; they do not say whether they accept them or not. I told them frankly that any stipulation I may make is useless without the approval of the armed element and of public opinion. I told them also that, although I am looking for means of rapprochement, my allegiance is still with the Revolution, and that I continue to acknowledge that the right to stipulate the terms belongs to the leaders of same.

McKinley has repeatedly said that he cannot concede us independence, and McKinley has been re-elected. Nevertheless, if the revolutionists insist on independence, I will be with them. If, however, they should lack the strength to go on defending said ideal and they should authorize me to ask for another thing, I would still be with them in everything that would not be prejudicial to our honor.

Allow me to say that you can always command your affectionate.



VI. Mabini bridged these gaps: Propaganda to Malolos,  and Malolos to the autonomy movement leading to the independence in 1946; within that, he represented ideas of a strong presidency that would arise in the 1930s, World War II and even Martial Law; also: the idea that constant referenda –the plebiscitary elections in 1922 and 1933 in particular– meant he was the first advocate of (Quezon’s) articulation of a government of public opinion that was the central referendum question in 1922.

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin: p. 153

Malolos synthesizes a society, a culture, a history, a nation. Here, come together at last, after 300 years of movement towards this point, stand the Creole (Calderon, Pardo de Tavera) and the principalia (Paterno, the Aranetas, the Legardas) and the ilustrado (Mabini, Luna, the Guerreros), standing side by side with native clergy and peasantry. It is as if, with the American intrusion, the diverse elements of Philippine society, hitherto so strange to one another, had suddenly realized what they had in common- vis-à-vis the alien presence.

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin: p. 154

Superficially, Malolos can be viewed as a struggle between two caps to “capture” Aguinaldo. In one camp were Paterno, Calderon and the wealthy Manileños. In the other were Mabini, Luna and the peasant army. What Paterno represented is clear enough: property rights. But what did Mabini represent? Though born a peasant, he can hardly be said to represent the peasantry. He had a great distrust of it as any Creole; he believed in the leadership of an intellectual elite; he didn’t think that any Juan, Pedro, or Pablo could handle the portfolio of foreign affairs; he wanted an Arellano or a Pardo de Tavera. When he could no longer turn to clergy or gentry or Creole or ilustrado, having antagonized all of them, he began to identify himself more and more with “the people”, but he was a main with little emotional need for people. Ultimately, we have to grant that he was moved by noble abstractions

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p. 157: Caesarism or Bonapartism (Marx)

It’s curious, but in his campaign for an absolute military dictatorship, this frail invalid, this champion of law and republicanism, verged on Caesarism. (The story goes that on being appointed to the Supreme Court his first query was what division of the army he would have under him.) Had events been otherwise, he might have found a Bonaparte in Luna.


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 131 – 132;


March 6, 1899

Mr. President:

Many complaints have been directed to us here against the abuses committed by General Luna. People say that he published an edict a few days ago threatening1 to shoot without process of law those who would violate his orders. In Bocaue, he ordered a Chinese shot without due process of law; and published his edict even in the province of Pampanga.

Soldiers usually shoot people summarily, it is true. But only in barbaric countries, not in civilized ones, do military chiefs order such a thing by means of an edict. Besides, Luna has jurisdiction only in Polo, where his headquarters stands, and in the towns comprising the Manila zone.

I find it strange that Luna does not understand this. He cannot be giving orders in Bulacan and Pampanga except through the military chiefs of these provinces.

While he is acting as Chief of Operations, he stops being the Director of War, and even if he does not he can only have powers within the office and, at most, only when he takes the place of the Secretary of War in the absence of the latter.

If an educated person cannot understand what powers he has, how much less an ignorant one?

Please make him understand these things so that we shall have no conflicts.

Command me.



If you can put another in his place, it would be much better.


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 135;


Malolos, March. 7, 1899

Mr. President:

Do not offer Luna the undersecretaryship of war, which was formerly the directorship, because we need for that post someone who understands office work, the organization of the army, and the laws governing war. He might tangle up the organization, which will be worse.

If he insist on retiring to his hometown, do not mention to him the undersecretaryship of war, and feign to be ignorant of the matter.

If he is not good for the army, the less he will, be for the office, because he is a despot.

This is a sort of warning. I have already given you to understand long ago that he does not know the organization and the function of a war office.

He is a chemist and knows something about trenches, but he will not do for politics and law.

Command me.


  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 62;            Was 1876 constitution in govt n 1898? 7 NB

However, this does not eliminate the fact that it draws heavily from two Spanish constitutions, that of 1812 and 1876. (The entire “Programa constitucional de la Republica Filipina” is found in La Revolucion Filipina, Volume I, pp. 130-165. The entire texts of the Spanish Constitutions of 1812, 1869, and 1876 are found in Diccionario de la administracion Española, Volume III. Ed. D. Marcelo Martinez Alcubilla, Madrid.) It will be recalled that the Spanish Constitution of 1812 was greatly inspired by the French Constitution of 1791.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 103;  Is this point relevant in context of the times?

Consequently, it can be seen that theoretical and practical considerations were intimately connected, if not confused, in the discussions in Congress. If Calderon had in mind a conflict between Congress and the Cabinet in a parliamentary system based on European models, then he was technically correct when he maintained that a loss of confidence by Congress in the Cabinet was enough for the latter to resign. However, if he intended to apply the above principle to what was happening at the Malolos Congress, the question could be raised as to whether or not Congress actually directly represented the people. The fact was that, as had been mentioned more than once, not more than one fourth of the representatives were at any time elected, and if they were elected, the evidence was that the electorate was a restricted one. This was a fact Mabini must have been aware of. In any case, Calderon’s clear hints for the Cabinet to resign did not produce the result desired although they were seriously discussed by the Cabinet.


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 78;



Mr. President:

There is heated discussion in Congress over the question of religion. If you take the side of one group, the other will keep away from the government.

It is necessary that you request a Department Secretary to tell Congress that, while the situation has not come down to normal, such matters should not be discussed.

This is just a warning for what may happen in the future.

Command your old servant,

Ap. Mabini

P.S. If you accept one religion, you will lose the people on whom you can count more during critical times.


Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 94 – 96;


January 14, 1899

Mr. President:

I have read and understood the letter of Buencamino. He says that if you do not approve the Constitution, you will lose your prestige. On this we differ in opinion.

Should the Constitution be approved without the amendments, no one could be appointed a Department Secretary without the approval of Congress. In my case, for example, because Congress doesn’t like me, I will be censured for anything I do until I will be forced to resign and, if I do not resign, the members will say that I am a despicable weakling who can swallow all insults. In short, no one can stay in the Department except the one who knows how to regale the Representatives, do what they want, and be in cahoots with them, even to do such as that will be against the interests of the country and justice. Such Department Secretaries, even if they should do badly, would be in the good graces of Congress, while the good ones would not be.

What will you do if the Secretaries you appoint be not acceptable to Congress? You will have to change them. And should the new ones be neither acceptable, change them again, of course. When this happens, no fright-thinking person will accept the position except the one who has an understanding with the Representatives. For this reason, you will find yourself forced to choose their men, whether you like them on not; and since you cannot govern without a Council of Government, you will have no ether way except to please the Representatives.

You cannot dissolve Congress because, in accordance with the Constitution, this cannot be done without the former’s consent. You will have to follow whatever they want because you do not have the veto power. Neither can you indict any Representative, because to do so you will need the permission of Congress. And, should you do it by force, the Representatives will say that you are violating the law. If now that you are acting strictly within the law, they are finding so many faults with you, what will they not do when you will be out of it? In short, when the people see that the Government and Congress work together against their welfare, they will have no other recourse except to revolt and destroy the Government and Congress, as it is happening in South American republics. I want to avoid all of this not primarily for your prestige, but because it will hurt the people.

With regard to responsibility and the decree that Mr. Buencamino cites, all of those are true, as it is also true that the loan was approved by Congress when it was forced to do so. What I do not like is that the loan would be wasted when there would be neither Constitution nor Congress. The loan will simply be squandered when the people in the Government are rascals.

Buencamino says that you should stick to the law and not to any particular opinion. This is true enough; but there is no law that can bind you to follow the agreement of Congress, because Article 24 gives you the veto power. When the Constitution is enforced, then that will be the time when you will be forced to follow what Congress says.

Finally, Mr. Buencamino says that the law orders you to promulgate the Constitution and, afterwards, you can dissolve Congress. This is not true, because Article 27 of the above-cited decree, dated June 23rd, give you the veto power. But once the Constitution is in force, you can no longer dissolve Congress without its consent, as it has been foreseen in Articles 36 and 70 of the Constitution, which is enclosed herewith and signed by the Representatives.

You can see, from what I say, who is right. I already anticipated something of the kind to you at the end of the translation of the amendments that I sent to you this morning.

In my opinion, if you approve the Constitution without the amendments, you will be contributing to the failure of our country and of our ideals. I can see it all too clearly now. That is why I find no other solution except to do one of the following:

1.   Change the Representatives appointed by the Government.

2.  Veto the Constitution.

3.  Accept the Constitution and change the Council of Government.

Before accepting the position that you offered me, I called your attention to my shortcomings and I did not yield to your wishes until I saw that you really needed me.

I cannot resign, come what may, because I believe that the people will blame me in the future should I not fight now for the good of the country. But as my strength lies with you, should you withdraw your confidence in me, I cannot do anything more. If you accept the Constitution without the amendments, you will show that you have no longer faith in me and that consequently, I have no more power. But even if this should happen, I want you to know that I will always be your loyal servant. It is possible that I may be the one who is wrong.

Please do not believe in the promises of the Representatives to the effect that when the Constitution should be in force, you can do whatever you want, because what will happen will be the opposite—you shall have to do what they want. If now that we have as yet no Constitution they are already pushing you down, what will they not do when you are tied to them?

May God enlighten you in these times of serious crisis.

Ap. Mabini

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 107;  Nick Joaquin, Calderon was right

When Calderon used the argument that during times of war, since the military element would come to the fore and its abuses might remain unchecked, it was necessary to give Congress extensive powers, Mabini retorted that the abuses of the military could only be checked by its leaders. Since at that time, Aguinaldo was the military leader, Mabini deemed it necessary to give all powers to Aguinaldo, who, in the first place, would be the most competent to check the abuses of his subordinates. Regarding this point, Mabini well demonstrated his pragmatic considerations.


VII. The period of premiership for Mabini is remarkably modern: telephones, telegraph, public opinion, mass media, all elements of governance; his critique of Aguinaldo –personal feelings taken into consideration—remains a useful prism for looking at the weaknesses of Philippine leaders and society.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 181; Good insight into Paterno. See book of Ceb…

Mabini was once invited by Paterno to one of these meetings but he declined with the sour remark that according to Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista it was out of place for a sick man to be present in formal reunions. More seriously, he blunted told Paterno that what should be done before holding meetings was to work for the freedom of the press and assembly in order that public opinion, unrestrained by fear or expediency, may be better known. (“Carta de Mabini a Paterno,” La Revolucion Filipina, Volume II, p. 180.)

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini  p. 78 – 79;


Malolos, December 8, 1898

Mr. Galicano Apacible

My dear Friend:

I received your pleasant answer to my letter.

We have just received your last letter of the 5th instant with the letter of Mr. Lozada. Luna is to blame for the misunderstanding about the codes. He left here the codes for Hongkong, Japan, Paris and America, and it is clear that he made a big mistake: he did not leave with you the Hongkong code from which we based the composition of the first telegram. It is obvious that he also made a mistake in the formulas, because we decoded the telegram of Buan[16] and your telegrams that followed with the formula for Japan and not with that for America as he says. In the first telegram we simply added 135, which is the code number for that place. I am telling you this, but you should not use it anymore. Continue using the previous formula.

It is better for you not to pursue further the contract you have been negotiating over there because the President wants the funds to be used for another operation in Japan, as he ordered in his last telegram.

Please tell Lozada that the separation of the Church and the State and the freedom of religion have been agreed upon with an overwhelming majority. The Americans are now winning over our men, as they have recently offered positions in the Audiencia to Messrs. Araneta and Arellano, after having offered another lucrative one to Sandiko.[17]

Should you receive, henceforth, telegrams that you cannot decipher, please transmit them literally to us here as you have not been properly acquainted with the formula.

Mr. Lichauco will return at once. I am thoroughly informed of the telegrams from Paris and Japan, and of your own.

Affectionately yours,

Apolinario Mabini

P. S. The President has asked me particularly to send him quarterly a detailed report of your entries and expenses to properly account for the funds of the State. He wants, besides, that you advise us in particular every time that you receive any remittance of money or of anything, sending us the corresponding receipt.


  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p. 157

(Aguinaldo was somewhere quoted as complaining that Mabini, jealous as a woman, wanted the President all to himself.)

Calderon wanted a Congress and a Constitution powerful enough to curb the excess of the army, excesses that were alienating the country folk. There would be sneering afterwards at the impotence of a Constitution author of which (Calderon) had to flee for his life after threats of a revolutionary general (Malvar). But this was precisely the sort of thing that Calderon feared would happen unless the army was placed under a strong law, a law the strength of which Mabini vitiated with his insistence that it was a military dictator, and the military chiefs, who could best curb the army. Apparently, Mabini later realized his mistake. In retrospect- and so much of the man’s sublimity is in his retrospects! – he allowed that the Revolution had failed partly because of the abuses of the army. But the Revolution failed when Congress and Constitution had long ceased to function and power rested solely on the military dictator and the military chiefs in whom Mabini had reposed his faith.

  • Rewriting Philippine History, The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes by Alfredo B. Saulo p. 33:                   Opposes Majul

Here again is another instance disproving the claim that Mabini was the sole “Brains of the Revolution”. For the second time, Aguinaldo simply ignored Mabini and went ahead, taking another momentous step to show the world that the Philippines, with a Congress and a Constitution written by delegates elected by the sovereign people, truly deserved to be included among the free nations.

If Mabini had his way, the chances were that there would have been no Malolos Constitution at all, and without this constitution the proclamation of the First Philippine Republic would have been untenable. Thus one cannot see, contrary to the words of his hagiographic biographer, “Mabini’s form and guiding hands in shaping the course of the Filipino nation in the making.” In short, Mabini’s “intellectual leadership” of the revolution a myth.

One more blow to Mabini came shortly after the Malolos Congress opened. at the outset, eight standing committees were constituted, including the committee to draft the Constitution.

  • Rewriting Philippine History, The Truth About Aguinaldo and Other Heroes by Alfredo B. Saulo p. 41;                   Ricarte + Mabini

But historical research shows that Ricarte was Mabini’s principal informant in his book La Revolucion Filipina, in which Mabini condemned Aguinaldo for the deaths of Bonifacio and Luna–a kind of “disinformation” swallowed hook, line, and sinker by some uncritical Filipino intellectuals.


VIII. It is difficult for contemporary Filipinos, increasingly ignorant either of the Enlightenment, Classical thought, or basic principles of law and political science, to grasp the fundamental, nation-building approach of the Revolutionary and Independence (1901-1946) generations.


  • The Light of Liberty: Documents and studies on the Katipunan, 1892-1897 by Jim Richardson p. 474:                 Mabini

The baleful consequences of reprinting these bogus documents, however, persist to this day, and can readily be found even in cyberspace. An edition of the Manila Bulletin Online, for example, relays the nonsense that Apolinario Mabini “played a vital part in the establishment of the Katipunan…. Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto frequently consulted Mabini, and, at their request, Mabini wrote the political platform of the Katipunan”.

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p. 146:            How can be he a “sphinx”??

Of our heroes, Mabini was the sphinx- a verbose one, but a sphinx nevertheless; and he may have carried his secret with him to the grave.

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p. 165

Like Mabini, who, as he fled northward, saw the people turning away from the Republic, Alejandrino, too, saw his “popular masses” abandoning the lost cause. Yet, again like Mabini, what he saw apparently did not influence what he thought; and he could later argue that it was the middle class who abandoned the Republic, though he himself, left alone in Mangatarem but still determined to continue, is the best proof against his argument.

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majulp. 215;                    Hence Mabini Cedula: “Writer? As Profession?”

He merely wanted time to write for the newspapers.

  • A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin p. 148:

There is no parallel here with Rizal. Rizal, a more robust character, shunned involvement too, but because he knew he did not have the qualities of leadership. Mabini did, and he knew he did; but he was the type who could lead only as pure mind, not as will. He had the intellectual equipment; he did not have the emotional power. He could project his mind, make Mind encroach on Will- but on somebody else’s will.

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini

p. 185 – 186;                        Sustain same ideals by previous Cabinet



Balungaw, June 18, 1899


My dear Friend and Colleague:

I am deeply grateful for the news that you are so kind to give me, and I sincerely regret your hardships which happen in these times of confusion and war. I do not doubt that your unalloyed patriotism will give you strength to bear them up with resignation.

I beg you in all sincerity that you should not lay on my ailing shoulders a heavy burden that requires exceptional strength in these calamitous times. I am now decided to live away from politics, inasmuch as by a proclamation of the Government, I see that you all sustain the same ideals upheld by the previous Cabinet. The welfare of the country depends on the efforts of many and I can well understand that you need to carry out your plans of Government. I would not like to find myself in the position of having to refuse what the President may offer me, and I could not accept anything unless my assistance, which is so limited, is indispensable. I have tasted the sweetness of a peaceful life, after one that has been burdened with care, and I prefer to rest. My character is not suited to the restless life of the politician — a life that I have led only out of necessity.

Please do me the favor to express my most cordial regards to Don Severino and Don Hugo. I am also sending sincere ones to Fr. Aglipay, and please tell him that I am at his orders in whatever capacity I may be of use to him. I cannot leave this place until the first days of next month, and I still do not know where to go because of the bad state of the roads. I am grateful for your good wishes.

I am enclosing herewith two letters from Cebu concerning the prisoners, one from Mr. Regidor and the other from Mr. Centurion. Please propose to those who may be concerned the most convenient solution of the matters and kindly tell the said gentlemen, when you may find the opportunity to write to them, to excuse me at present for my inability to answer them because I am on vacation.

I reiterate my thanks. Command as you wish your affectionate and respectful true servant,

Ap. Mabini

P. S.

I have just received foreign newspaper clippings for the President. I am not sending them to him because according to news, he is in Angeles, and it is faster to send them to him there. According to said clippings, public opinion in America asks for the prompt suspension of hostilities and the recall of the troops, as the imperialistic policy of McKinley is meeting with serious opposition.


p. 192 – 193;                        Luna: Why are they sad?


Balungaw, July 3, 1899


My dear Friend and Colleague:

I have in my possession your pleasant letter of June 30th in which you talk of the proposals made by Maxilom. I cannot also understand the cause of the delay of my letter of the 18th, which was brought along on the same day with others addressed to my colleagues, Don Cayo and Don Gracio, by tenants of Don Juan Mananquil, the nephew of Dona Maria, owner of the house which was used as headquarters of the President of the Government Council in Cabanatuan.

My colleague, Don Cayo, who arrived here yesterday from there, tells me that he has not received my letter, due, maybe, to an oversight of the above-mentioned Don Juan Mananquil, because the other leters were received in Talavera on that very day, the 19th.

I know nothing either about previous records concerning Don Arcadio Maxilom or any of his proposals. The only thing I know is that said Maxilom has been the leader of the revolutionists since the start of their movement in Cebu and continues to be so until now. None of the so-called generals of lloilo and Cebu has an appointment from the Government for the simple reason that the letter does not recognize the aptitudes of the former. We have, however, tried to give them the title of General so as not to displease them, with the promise to determine their respective ranks when we could send arms and duly organize the forces over there. Settle the matter as well as you can. The few records on this subject must be in the office of the President and in the Department of War.

If the sons of Mr. Centurion have been given their freedom in return for the efforts of the father in favor of the Filipino exiles, it is but just, it seems to me, to grant Don Julio del Rio and his son-in-law their freedom which is persistently solicited by Dr. Calvo, who is getting married to a daughter of the former. Dr. Calvo is one of our trusted agents in Manila who has taken charge for a long time now of coursing our correspondence abroad. That is why I believe we should please him. I have already had an occasion to say as much to the President.

Having found no relief in these thermal baths, I am making preparations to go to Rosales. I may not find it possible to go over there, since I made the resolution to get away nowadays from the political life which is too exciting for my little strength. I need to rest because I have noticed that continuous work, like the one I have done from Cavite until a short while ago, will end up in my complete annihilation. Nevertheless, in what little I can, I shall contribute my share, publishing now and then short articles which, although pitiful, due to lack of proper training and excess of love of country, are the only means I have in order to help.

I share your sorrow for the death of your son. You may, at least, take the comfort in that his was an honorable death, worthy of a punctilious soldier. I also deplore with you the tragic death of General Luna.

I am glad to learn of your happy hopes of a coming peace. Everyone desires peace as long as it is honorable.

Thank you so much for your generous offers. Kindly give my respects to the President and his family, and command your affectionate and respectful

Ap. Mabini


  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul  p. 211-212  Oath

On February 26, Mabini arrived at Manila on the American transport “Thomas.” Before disembarking, he took his oath of allegiance in the presence of Customs authorities and Ricarte, who signed as one of the witnesses. When told that he was at liberty to go anywhere he desired in the country, he requested that he be conveyed to his old home in Nagtahan. Thus was his exile for a little more than two years terminated.

Book: The Letters of Apolinario Mabini p. 304;



Apolinario Mabini, native of Tanauan, province of Batangas, single, 38 years of age, writer, resident of No. 21 Nagtahan Street, of the district of Sampaloc, requests that he be issued a personal residence tax, without requiring him to sign it in your presence, because his ailment prevents him from personally appearing in your office.

He has no residence tax to show for last year, because he was then in Guam as a political deportee.

Manila, May 12, 1903.

p. 305 – 306;


About the end of August of last year, I requested that I be brought to Manila and be allowed to find out, in, the first place, the state of public opinion in the Philippines before taking the oath of allegiance and loyalty to the supreme authority of the United States, in the conviction that this claim is in conformity with the paragraph of the Proclamation of Amnesty, which orders that the oath-aking be administered by any authority in the Philippine Archipelago.

Five months later, on February 9th of the current year, I received a communication from the Governor of Guam in which the latter, carrying out the “instructions of the Government in Washington, informed me that I was free to go anywhere, except to the Philippines, where I would not be allowed to land without taking the above-cited oath. Afterwards, in answer to consultations, the Governor said that the authorities of Guam, as well as the United States consuls abroad, are authorized to administer the oath.

It now appears clear that the intention of the President of the United States is that the oath may be taken before any Government official authorized to administer it, whether he be in, or outside of the Philippine Archipelago. I have to put on record that I never had any intention to put off signing in order to evade the oath, no. Right from the beginning, I considered it the same, to take the oath either in Guam, or in Manila or anywhere else. All I wanted was to ascertain, before taking it, whether the circumstances now obtaining in the Islands justify my taking it or not, so that I would not be taken for a rash man who places very little value on his word.

In the full conviction that, in order to know what is useful and necessary for my country, I have, before doing anything else, to find out what the majority of my countrymen think and want. And, fully convinced also that I could not effectively find out what I wanted to know with the greatest possible certainty, without coming back to the Islands and finding it out for myself, I took the oath, hoping as I have said to the Governor of Guam, to be still able to convince the American authorities that they have wrongly interpreted the independent criterion with which I judged the political questions of the Archipelago.

After an absence of two long years, I come back, so to speak, utterly confused, and, what is worse, almost annihilated by ailment and sufferings. Nevertheless, I hope, after some time of tranquility and study, to be still of some usefulness,[20] unless I have just returned to the Islands, with the sole purpose of dying.[21]

  • Book: Apolinario Mabini Revolutionary by Cesar Adib Majul p. 217:   Rizal – Mabini on civic virtues ends up with 1940 code of citizenship

His funeral on the sixteenth was arranged by his admirers and civic and labor associations like the Union Obrera and the Partido Nacionalista. It was one of the biggest funerals witnessed in Manila and various persons were asked to speak during the ceremonies. Among them was Felipe Calderon. Most of the Manila newspapers gave him the highest praises. The Spanish press was aware of Mabini’s fierce hatred for the Spanish regime and it appears that its eulogy for Mabini was partly due to the fact that the Spaniards had still to adjust themselves to the new American rule which Mabini also greatly opposed. El Mercantil called him the most excellent man born on Filipino soil, El Noticiero de Manila characterized his death as a national misfortune, while El Comercio spoke of his profound convictions and love of the soil that saw his birth. Most of the American newspapers delineated Mabini’s role in the Revolution. The Manila Times wrote that he was the brains behind the Revolution, while The Manila American went as far as to assert that were it not for the role played by Mabini in the Revolutionary Government, the revolution would have fizzled out at the very start. However, a nasty note on Mabini’s death was registered in The Manila Freedom. Needless to say, the newspaper run by Filipinos were full of sorrow on the passing of what they considered a patriot par excellence. La Democracia  called him the greatest product of the Philippine Revolution while La Patria commented that Mabini “had decided to return to the beloved land of his dreams to die in it and have his sepulchre lay under the eternally smiling and sapphirine skies of the Philippines.

[1] The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Bisayas was changed to Federal Council on December 12 [1898], for the purpose of turning the Visayas Islands into a sort of a federal state subordinated to the Central Government. The Council was composed of:

[1]Roque Lopez, President of the Council of State; Vicente Franca, Vice-President and Secretary of the Interior.

[1]Members for Iloilo: Jovito Yusay, Secretary of Justice; Ramon Avanceña, Secretary of State; Julio Hernandez, Secretary of War; Magdaleno Javellana, Secretary of the Treasury.

[1]Martin Delgado and Pablo Araneta, members of the Army and exoficio Counsellors.

[1]Fernando Salas, member for Cebu and Secretary of Public Instruction and of Communications

[1]Members for Negros Occidental: Agustin Montilla for the Southern District; Juan de Leon, for the Northern District.

[1]Juan Caballo, member for Negros Oriental.

[1]Vicente Gella, member for Antique.

[1]Venancio Concepcion, member for Capiz.

[1]Numeriano Villalobos, member for the District of Concepcion.

[1]Raymundo Melliza, member for Leyte.

[1]Francisco Soriano, member for Samar.

[1]Francisco Villanueva, Secretary General of the Council of State.


[2] This Council was dissolved by the decree of April 27, 1899, and from then on the same system of local government in force in the Island of Luzon was implanted in the Visayan provinces.

[2]— T.M.K.

[3] March 12 [1899] according to T. M. Kalaw. See Cartas Politicas, Manila, 1930, p. 173.

[4] The Tagalog translation, rendered into English, is in the following two pages.

[5] Cayetano Arellano and Trinidad Pardo de Tavera were appointed Chiefs of the Foreign Affairs Department, changing the national policy to favor the Americans.

[6] Cayetano Arellano and Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera did not stay long in their office. They accepted important positions in the American Occupation government.

[7] 1 Answer to Aguinaldo’s letter dated Oct. 15, 1899.

[8] 2 “ I am not trying to discuss, much less to defend myself against the opinion expressed by Mabini in his letter dated October 17, 1899, from Rosales, Pangasinan, and addressed to President Aguinaldo, on my actuation as special envoy of the Philippine Republic. My only aim is to state the historical truth, leaving it to posterity to judge us.

[8]“After the official conference with General Otis, the latter asked me:

[8]“‘What can I do for you, General?’”

[8]“’Officially, there is nothing I want nor I can ask for you, because I have not been authorized to do so by my Government, but I thank you for your offer, and, personally, I would be grateful to your Excellency


[9]                       See footnote:


[9] Although retired from power, Mabini continued writing to the Committee in Hongkong and to his friends to inform them of the progress of the national politics with its varied incidents. It is a pity that the whole correspondence of this period has not been saved. — T.M.K.

[10] Dr. Isidoro de Santos

[11] Munitions

[12] Arms

[13] Written by Mabini. It is in the book, “The Philippine Revolution,” by him.

[14] This letter clearly shows that in those days, in Manila and in the eyes of the Americans, two tendencies were at odds, the very same ones that cause the change of the Cabinet in May 1899: one, radical, which is that of Mabini; and the other, peaceable and temporizing, which was supported by Paterno and Buencamino.—T.M.K.

[15] 1 See letter of Mabini dated August 31, 1900, p. 259.

[16] Juan Luna

[17] The Americans started their policy of attraction offering tempting positions to some Filipinos.

[18] This is Mabini’s last writing – a short note to the corresponding authority requesting that he be issued a cedula certificate…

[18]– T.M.K.

[19] Mabini, together with Ricarte, arrived at the Manila Bay on February 26, aboard the transport Thomas, after an exile of 25 months. He was courteously attended upon by the Customs authorities and, in general, by all the American officials in the Government who had anything to do with him. The Governor of Guam, W. E. Sewell, whom we already know, in a letter to the Commander of the Division of the Philippines, said: “On account of the helpless condition of Mr. Mabini, and of the high opinion of his character held by all those who have known him here, I recommend that he be given every possible consideration.” — T.M.K.

[20] Of some usefulness to his country, working to obtain the longed-for freedom, looking for satisfactory solutions to the Filipino problem, showing the culture and the capacity of the Filipinos for an independent life: that was what Mabini wanted to say. The Americans offered him, a few days after his arrival, the position of Register of Deeds, but Mabini refused it. Before his deportation to Guam, the Americans vainly tried to lure him with seats in the Judiciary.—T.M.K.

[21] Only a little time was left to Mabini to serve the cause of his country in time of peace. His presentiment that he was to die soon came true. He died at eleven o’clock on May 13, 1903, two months and seventeen days from his return from Guam. — T.M.K.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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