by Murat Halstead
An Official Copy of the Manifesto of the Junta Showing the Bad Faith of Spain in the Making and Evasion of a Treaty - The Declaration of the Renewal of the War of Rebellion - Complaints Against the Priests Defined - The Most Important Document the Filipinos Have Issued - Official Reports of Cases of Persecution of Men and Women in Manila by the Spanish Authorities - Memoranda of the Proceedings in Several Cases in the Court of Inquiry of the United States Officers.
The pages following, showing a cynical disregard of a solemn treaty by the Spaniards, a complete exposure of the reasons the Filipinos had for renewing the war, and the particulars of cases of individual wrongs suffered, as they were made known in the course of legal investigation, have been received direct trom Manila, and enable us to complete the story of the Philippines with the testimony that the depravity of bad faith in regerd to treaties, end incidents of personal cruelties in Spanish colonial governments, have illustrations in the Philippines an in Cuba, and demand of the American Nation in the hour of victory that Spain shall lose now in forever all her possessions in the East and West Indies, and be restricted to the peninsula and islands - the Canary and Belearic groups - that is, in two words to home rule. The cirumstances of the treaty between the Philippine Junta - the treaty of Biyak - and the Spanish authorities, are of great notoriety, but the Philippine story has not until not reached the English speaking peoples. We give it from the official paper:
"On signing the Treaty of Biyak na bato, we, the natives of the Philippines and the government of Spain, agreed that between our armies be established an armistice which was to last three years from the date of the mentioned treaty.
'"The natives were to lay down their arms and turn them over to the Spanish authorities with all their depot (maestranza, a manufactory of ammunition, for repairs of rifles, etc., etc.) their ammunitions and forts.
"The Spanish authorities, on the other hand, bound themselves ta consent to the reforms (of public opinion amongst) the natives of the country claim; reforms, which, according to the text of the decree of 9th August, 1897, the Captain and Guberno General assured us were granted and the execution of which was suspended on account of the insurrection.
'"The reforms asked for and granted were the following:
"The same Spanish government agreed to pay the liberating government a war indemnity, reduced to the limited sum of 600,000 pesos, in payment of the arms, ammunitions, depots and forts which were surrendered, and in order to indemnify those who were to be obliged to live abroad during the term of the armistice, as an assistance to stay out of the Philippines while they were trying to establish themselves and looking for legitimate and decorous means of existence.
"It was agreed in like manner that General Don Fernando Primo de Rivera,
Goberno General of the islands, should remain in his post during the time
of the armistice, as a guarantee that the reforms be established.
"Contrary to what was stipulated, the mentioned General was removed from his post shortly after the agreement was signed; and although the liberating government had fulfilled the laying down and delivery of the arms, ammunitions, depot and forts of its general encampment, the reforms were not established, only part of the offered indemnity has been paid and the amnesty remains a project only, some pardons being given.
"The government of Madrid, deriding the natives, and with contempt of what had signed as a gentleman the General Commander of their army in the field, tried, instead of carrying out the expulsion or exclaustration of the Priests, to elevate them more, nominating at once for the two bishoprics, vacant in the colonies, two Priests of those same religious orders that oppressed the country and were the first cause of the insurrection, the disorder and the general dissatisfaction in the islands; thus ridiculing the virtue, knowledge and worth of the numerous secular Spanish elergy, and especially of that of the Philippines.
"Not contented with this, they have raised and rewarded those Peninsulars who in the Philippines, as in Madrid, more cowardly and miserable still, because they abused their position and the protection of those same authorities who signed the treaty, insulted at banquets, assemblies and though the press, with epithets and jokes offensive and vulgar, the patient natives; as happened with the Peninsular Rafael Comenge, the protege and farcical table companion of the Priest, who amongst us performs the duties of the Archbishopric of Manila; the Minister of War has just conceded the said Comenge the grand cross of military merit, for shouting against us and imputing to us eaery kind of basenees and vices, knowing that he was lying, and for exacting from the gamblers of the Casino Espanol of Manila, as their president, the contribution of 30,000 pesos, to present General Primo de Rivera with a golden statute of that value, and, a curious coincident, this brave was one of the first who escaped from Manila, full of fear when the news arrived there that an American squadron would attack that port and that the risk he would run was real.
"You have seen before now, how that insect Wencesto Retana was rewarded with a cooked up deputyship to the Cortes, that salaried reptile of the Philippine convents, who, with the aid of that tyrant General Weyler, his worthy godfather, the despotic incendiary of the town of Calamba, of ominous memory amongst us, does nothing but vomit rabid foam, insulting us by day and night with calumnies and shrieks; in that paper whose expenses the Procurators of the Manila convents pay.
"Prepare yourselves also for seeing that a titled nobility be given to the well known 'Quioguiap' (fecer y Tempredo), writer in the 'El Liberat,' of Madrid, who, to be in unison with the priests, does not cease to call us inferior race, troglodytes, without human nature or understanding; big boy; the same who, in order to deprive the rich 'Abellas' (father and son) of Carnarines, of the position they had conquered by their industry, economy and intelligence as almost exclusive purchasers of the Abaco (Manila hemp) of that region, tried and succeeded villainously in having them accused and shot in the camp of Bagumbayan; the same who afterwards sought in vain the reward of his criminal attempts, although conscious of his perverseness, to deliver to himself the produce of their harvest and thei labor.
"Peace was hardly made, when General Primo de Riviera denied the existence of the agreement and shot day after day those same persons whom he had promised to protect, believing foolishly that, the nucleus of the revolution once destroyed, the insurgents would need thirty or forty years in order to reunite themselves; but he accepted freely the pension of the grand cross of San Fernando, which, as a reward for the peace, he was given.
"The same happened with bloodthirsty Monet, the anthor of the hecatomb of Zambales, who was promoted to the rank of a general and honored by a grand cross; also with his competitor in brutal deeds, General Tejeirs, the assassin of the Bisayos, and with the Vice Admiral Montojo, so severely punished later on, by whose orders the city of Cebu was destroyed and demolished, to revenge the death of an impure Recoleto Priest.
"In eloquent contrast with what the natives had to expect, there has not been one single concession or reward for the credulous Pedro A. Paterno, a Filipino, the only real agent of the.miracle of the Peace, to whom they have denied even the modest historical title 'Maguinong' (Don).
"Add to all these infamies and indignities the removal of General Primo de Rivera, who, we repeat, was bound to remain in Manila during the three years of the armistice, and the nomination in his stead of another governor, General Augusti, who, completely without knowledge of the country, brought with him as his counsellor the unworthy Colonel Olive, the same who had proceeded with tbe utmost haste and greatest partiality and passion against the pretended chieftains, authors, protectors and followers of the sacred movement begun in August, 1896; who had, as military prosecutor for the 'Captain General,' exacted with insolent cynicism, and with the knowledge and consent of his superior officers, considerable sums of money from those who wished to be absolved, in order to imprison them again when they did not comply with all his extortions; the same who, with shameless partiality worked and used his influence all he could towards the shooting of the immortal Tagalo martyr, Dr. Jose Rizal; the same finally, who, during the command of weak General Blanco and of bloodthirsty and base General Polariyi demanded coutinually the imprisoning of the so-called 'Sons of the Country,' the descendants of the Europeans, that is, who had amongst us any importance by their learning, their industry, their fortunes or their lineage, and who were not willing to bribe him so as to be left in liberty.
"In view of this series of acts of faithlessness, of contempt, of insults, of crimes, and before all, the forgetting of the treaty, so recently as well as solemnly entered upon, those same who signed the treaty of Biyak na bato, have considered themselves free of the obligation to remain abroad and of keeping any longer the promised armistice.
"And, taking advantage of the Providential coming to the Philippines of the revenging squadron of the Great Republic of the United States of North America, they come back to their native eoil proud and contended; to reconquer theirliberty and their rights, counting on the aid and protection of the brave, decided, and noble Admiral Dewey, of the Anglo-Saxon squadron which has succeeded in beating and destroying the forces of the tyrants who have been annihilating the personality and energy of our industrious people, model of noble and glorious qualities.
"The moment has come, therefore, for the Filipinos to count themselves and to enter into rank and file in order to defend with zeal and resolution and with a virility of strong men, the soil that saw their birth as well as the honor of their name, making publicly and universally known their competence, ability and their civic, political and social virtues.
"Let us all fight united; seconding the revenging and humanitarian action of the North American Republic; and let us learn from her, accepting her counsels and her system, the way of living in order, peace and liberty, copying her institutions, which are the only adequate ones for the nations who wish to reconquer their personality in history, in the period we are passing.
"On going to battle, let us inscribe on our flag with clearness and accuracy the sacred legend of our aspirations.
"We went a stable government, elected by the people themselves; the laws of which are to be voted for by those same who have to keep them faithfully, conserving or modifying their present institutions in the natural times in the life of nations, but modeling them and taking us their own, the democratic ones of the United States of North America.
"We want the country to vote its taxes; those necessary for public services and to satisfy (pay in full) the assistance North America and the corporations, organizations and individuals who help us to rise out of our lethargic state, are rendering us; taking care at the same time to abolish all those which have for basis a social vice or an immoral action, like the lottery, the tax on gambling dens, on galleras (arenas for fights of game/cocks) and the farming out of the sale of opium. But before all, may there nevermore appear again that repugnant tax levied on Pederasty, which, to get two thousand pesos offended the universal conscience and the chaste name of 'Chinese Comedies.'
"We want plainest liberty in all its bearings, including that of ideas,
association and the press, without arriving at lewlessness and disorder;
just as it is established in that great, so well regulated Republic.
"We want the maintenance of this clergy to be effected as tbe different
regional governments may see fit, or, as the city councils or popular
elective institutions established in every locality may determine.
"We want the possessions of these land holders to be respected without their being obliged to pay any canon, lease or tax whatsoever of religious character, depressive or unjust, ceasing thus their detainment, anti-juridicial and anti-social, on the part of monarchial orders, rapacious orders whom, on the strength of their being a 'necessary evil,' the ignorant functionaries of Spanish administration, like themselves insatiable extortioners, have been aiding, in disdain of right, reason and equity.
"We want in order to consolidate the property, the ominous 'Inspection de Montes,' to disappear and cease in its actual functions, as a disorganizing and fiscalizing center of the titles of property of the natives, which on pretense of investigating and discovering the detainment of State lands, had the custom of declaring the property of the State or of others, such as was already cultivated and producing by the improvements made by the poor peasant, awarding such to their friends or to those who bribe them if the legitimate proprietor refused to give them, in shameless auction, what they asked for as a remuneration for what they called 'shuttting their eyes,' as has happened lately, amongst other scandalous cases, in Mindoro, when staking out the limits of the new Hacienda adjudged there to the Recoleto Priests.
"We want public administration to be founded and to act on a basis of morality, economy and competence, in the charge of natives of the country or of such others who by their experience and learning can seve us as guides and teach us the basis and the system of those countries who have their economical, political and administrative offices and proceedings simplified and well organized.
"We went the recognition of all the substantive rights of the human personality; guaranteed by judicial power, cemented in the principles in force in all the cultured nations; that the judicial authorities, when applying the laws, be penetrated by and identified with the spirit and the necessities of the locality; that the administration of justice be developed by simple, economical and decisive proceedings; and that judges and magistratas have their attributions limited by the functions of a jury and by verbal and public judgment, making thus disappear the actual state of affairs, of which prevarication and crooked dealings are the natural and necessary mark.
"We want sensible codes, adapted to our manner of being without
differentiation of races and without odious privileges contrary to the
principle of equality before the law.
"We want liberty of banking business, liberty of mercantile and industrial societies and companies, commercial liberty, and that the Philippines cease to be shut up amongst the walls of its convents, to become again the universal market, like that of Hongkong, that of Singapore, that of the Straits, that of Borneo, that oF the Moluccas, and that of some of the autonomous colonies of Australia, countries which surround us; and that capital may with confidence develop all the elements of wealth of this privileged soil, without more duties or charges on import and export than those the circumstances of each epoch may require for determined purposes.
"We want roads, canals and ports, the dredging of our rivers and other waterways, railroads, tramwags and all the means oF locomotion and transport, on water and earth, with such help and assistance as may be needed to carry them out within a certain time and develop them conveniently.
"We want the suppression of the so-called 'Guardia Civil,' this pretorian and odious institution in whose malignment aud inhuman meshes so many Philippine martyrs have suffered and expired; that center of tortures and iniquities, those contemptible flatterers of small tyrants and of the concupiscense of the priests, those insatiable extortioners of the poor native; those hardened criminals animated constantly in their perverseness by the impunity with which their accomplices, the representatives of despotism and official immorality, covered them.
"In their stead we want a judicial and gubernatorial police, which is to watch ever and oblige the fulfillment of existing laws and regulations without tortures and abuses.
"We want a local army, composed of native volunteers, strictly limited to what order and natural defense demands.
"We want a public instruction less leviticel and more extensive in what refers to natural and positive sciences; so that it may be fitted to industrate woman as well as man in the establishment and development of the industries and wealth of the country, marine and terrestrial mining, forestal and industrial of all kinds, an instruction which is to be free of expenses in all its degrees and obligatory in its primary portion, leaving and applying to this object all such property as is destined to-day to supply the sustainment of the same; taking charge of the administration of such property a Council of Public Instruction, not leaving for one moment longer in the hands of religious institutions, since these teach only prejudice and fanaticism, proclaiming, as did not long since a rector of university of Manila, that 'medicine and physical sciences are materialistic and impious studies,' and another, that 'political economy was the science of the devil.'
We want to develop this public instruction, to have primary schools, normal schools, institutes of second degree, professional schools, universities, museums, public libraries, meteorological observatories, agricultural schools, geological and botanical gardens and a general practical and theoretical system of teaching agriculture, arts and handicraft and commerce. All this exists already in the country, but badly organized and dispersed, costing the contributors a good deal without practical results, which might have been expected, by the incompetency of the teachers and the favoritism employed in their nominations and remunerations.
"We want laws for hunting and fishing, and teaching and regular vigilance for the faithful carrying on of pisciculture, well-known already to the natives, for the advantageous disposing of their marine products, such as conch shell, mother of pearl, pearls, bichi de mer, ray skins, fish lime, etc., and for the raising of all kinds of animals useful for agricultural and industrial purposes and as victuals for the natives and for export.
"We want liberty of immigration and assistance for foreign settlers and capitalists, with such restrictions only, when there be an opportunity, as limit actually Chinese immigration, similar to legislature on this point in North America and Australia.
"We want, finally, anything that be just, equitable and orderly; all that may be basis for development, prosperity and well being; all that may be a propelling element of morality, virtue and respect to the mutual rights of all the inhabitants, in their minor relations and in those with the foreigner.
"Do not believe that the American nation is unbelieving or fanatically protestant, that it take to the scaffold or to the fire those who do not believe determined principles and practice special religious creeds; within that admirable organization, masterly and living model of perfection for the old nations of Europe and Asia, lives and prospers the Roman Catholic Church.
"here are some seven million inhabitants who profess that religion directed by natural clergy with their proper ministers, taken from that fold of Christ.
"Then there are bishops, archbishops, cardinals of the Roman Church, American subjects, beloved faithful of the Pope Leo XIII.
"There then is Temporal Apostolical Delegate representative of the legitimate successor of St. Peter; there are parsons; canons, dignitaries and provisors, who live and teach in order peace and prosperity, respected by one and all, as you yourselves will be the day the American flag will influence in the spiritual direction of the Philippine people.
"Then there are cathedrals, parish churches, temples and chapels, sumptuous and admired, where they adore the same God of the Sinai and Golgotha, where severs and ostensive cult is rendered to Immaculate Virgin Mary and to the Saints you have on your altars and none dare to destroy, attack or prostitute them.
"There then are seminaries, convents, missions, fraternities, schools, everything Catholic, richly furnished, well kept up and perfectly managed to the glory of the religion.
"There resides His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons, a wise Roman Catholic prelate, American citizen, who recently and on occasion of the present war, has ordered, with consent of His Sanctity, that all the catholic clergy of the American nation raise daily prayers to the Most High to obtain the triumph of the arms of their country, for the good of religion and humanity, which cause, in the present conflict legitimately and unquestionably represents that government.
"And just as Christ, to be Messiah, had to be according to the prophecies, Jew and of the Tribe of Judah, that is: By right of his political fatherland, as by that of his native soil, of the chosen people, thus amongst you who ever wants to be a clergyman or merit being canon, dignitary, provisor, bishop, archbishop and cardinal, must as an indispensable condition, have been born on your proper soil, as is occurring absolutely in all the civilized nations of the old and new world, with the only exception of the Philippines.
"There may be priests, religious congregations, nuns and convents, but submissive to the laws of the country and obliged to admit in their bosom as formerly happened in these isles, as estimable and superior members of such institutions, those feel a vocation for a conventual life, as the noble and generous people of North America will demand, and will, do not doubt it, recognize these your legitimate rights.
"The protection of the great American Republic will make you respected and considered before the cultured powers, legitimately constituted; and your personality will be proclaimed and sanctioned everywhere.
"We, have the duty to exact the rights we have just proclaimed and the 'natives' in all the isles and in all their different races, as well as the 'Mestizo Sangley,' as the 'Mestizo Eapanol,' and the 'Son of the Country,' we alI have the honorable duty of defending ourselves against the whip and the contempt of the Spaniards, accepting the protection and direction of the humane North American nation.
Hurrah for Iiberty and right.
Hurrah for the Grand Republic of the United States of North America.
Hurrah for President McKinley and Rear Admiral Dewey.
"Hongkong, April, 1898."
Under the authority of the United States there have been inguiries by a court into the causes of the imprisonment of the inmates of the penitentiary and common jail at Manila, and others who have suffered from the enmities of the members of the government that ceased when the Spanish flag was taken down and the American flag raised. The memoranda following were made in the court proceedings, and state the facts as judicially established.
This lady was confined in Bilibid seven years ago (though the record shows July 11, 1898,) by order of the Governor-General, on a charge of selling counterfeit stamps. She was tried, and sentenced to six years' confinement; but the Judge accepted a bribe of $900 and released her about a week after her trial. A year aftwards she was again arrested by a new judge on the same charge, and $3,000 was demanded as the price of her liberty. This was refused, and imprisonment followed. She claims to have bought the stamps (which were telegraph stamps), from the Government.
This young lady, who was a school teacher in her native province, Montinlupa, Manila province, was confined in Bilibid, August 8th, 1895, charged with "sacrilege and robbery," and insurrection. She came to Malate to see about her license as a school teacher, and was arrested by the civil guard on the above charge. She claims her arrest was instigated by a priest who had made overtures to her to have carnal intercourse with him, and had attempted the same, and had been repulsed and refused. To cover up his ill-doing he caused her arrest on the charge of having stolen part of the vessels used in the communion service of the Roman-Catholic church. She has never been married and the Alcalde says, "Her conduct in prison has been very good."
This woman was born in Santa Cruz, in 1838, and has been confined in Bilibid since 1890, though the record shows that she was imprisoned July 11, 1898, by order of the Governor-General. This date, however, is admitted to be an error by the Alcalde, without any explanation of the error. The record shows that she was imprisoned because she objected to the Government taking wood off her property without paying for it. She claims that since her imprisonment, the Government has confiscated $40,000 worth of her property.
This prisoner was confined in the year 1889, when only 12 years old. At that time a revolution was in progress in the province in which he resided, and he was "captured" by the Spanish forces and sent to Bilibid Carcel. He did not know with what he was charged, and while he was tried, he never received any sentence.
"I was put in here June l3th, 1898. Am a civilian and a 'Katipunan.' Was tried, but never sentenced." The foregoing is the testimony of the prisoner Jose David, and is quoted here as an example of the testimony of some hundreds of others, which is almost identical. Large numbers of the natives seem to be members of the "Katipunan" society, which appears to be a revolutionary brotherhood of some kind. They have seen imprisoned for terms varying from one or two months to several years (in some cases ten or twelve years), upon the charge of belonging to this society; in very many cases without trial, and in the majority with no sentence whatever, and, very largely, simply "on susupicion".
This man was arrested by the Civil Guard, in July, 1889, in his own house, end was tried but not sentenced, or rather did not know what his sentence was. He was told that his sentence was served out, but he could not be returned to his own province of Negros because the Governor had no ships available for that purpose. He had no idea why he was arrested and tried. There are several other cases similar to this one, in which the charge is "resisting armed forces" - most of which were tried by court martial, and never sentenced.
This prisoner was confined in Bilibid Carcel on the 25th of November, 1896, the entry on the prison record against his name being "no se espresa" - "no charge expressed." He was, of course, neither tried nor sentenced, but had been in prison almost two years, with absolutely no reason attempted to be made for his confinement. This case is also cited as an example of many similar ones.
This is the case of a man who was a member ot the Katipunan society, but who was tried and sentenced. He was imprisoned in Bilibid Carcel, May 5th,1898, his sentence being confinement "cardena perpetua" - "in chains forever." He was one of five men who received the sentence for a like offence. He, with the others, was set free August 31st,1898.
In this caae the prisoner; who was formerly employed as a clerk in a grocery store, was imprisoned in Bilibid Carcel on the 25th of December, 1897, charged with having stolen $4.50 (Spanish, which represents about $2.25 American). His story was that he was sent out to collect a bill, but lost the said bill, and was therefore accused by his employer of stealing the money, and was imprisoned. He was tried, but never received any sentence.
The prisoner above named is a full-blooded Spaniard, thirty-eight years of age, married, and has one child, three months old. He was confined in Bilibid, May 28, 1893, for "insulting" a civil guard, while drunk, and was tried and sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment. He had already served over five years of this sentence, when he was released September 2nd, 1898.
This man was confined in the Carcel De Bilibid, the "common prison," May 4th,1898, and his offense was that he was "suspected of being an American!" For this heinous crime he was neither tried nor sentenced.
In this case the prisoner was confined in Bilibid; March 25th, 1895, after having been in prison one year in his province on suspicion of being implicated in the killing of a civil guard at a place colled Balauga. He was tried by a sergeant of the civil guard, who caused him to be tortured in order to wring a confession from him. This torture was inflicted by means of a thin rope or cord, tied very-tightly around the muscles of the arm above the elbow (cutting into the fleeh deeply), and left there in some instances for thirty days. In some cases the men were also hung up, the weight of the body being sustained by the cords around the arms. Several of the prisoners have deep scars on their arms caused by the torture This man was never sentenced.
The charge against this man was that he had stolen a pig, and he was confined in Bilibid, March 2lst,1893, after being tried and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment. He had already served over five years when released Sept. 3,1898.
This man was confined in Bilibid Carcel, December l5th, 1894, charged with "insulting the armed forces of Spain." His version of the reason for his imprisonment is as follows: His cousin and a lieutenant in the guardia civile were very close friends, and the said cousin, wishing to present a cow to the lieutenant, applied to the prisoner for one, which was given to him. Later on the cousain thought he would like to present his friend with another cow, so applied to the prisoner for cow No. 2, and was this time refused. In order to take vengeance on the prisoner, the cousin denounced him to the civil guard lieutenant as a "bandit," and he was arrested and imprisoned as above. The prisoner was sixty years of age.
The story of this prisoner seems to be particularly sad. He was a chorister or sacristan in a Roman Catholic church, with several others, and was arrested, with his companions, by the civil guard, charged with "sacrilege." The truth of the matter, however, seems to be as follows: The prisoner had a sweetheart with whom a lieutenant of the civil guard, named de Vega, appears to have been infatuated. After imprisoning Anastacio de Mesa and his companions upon the above charge, which seems to be without foundation entirely, de Vega took the girl, and compelled her by force and against her will to live with him as his mistress. The girl soon died, her end, no doubt, being hastened by the brutal cruelty of de Vega. These young men, hardly more than boys, were imprisoned on August 3, 1895, after having been tried by court martial, but not sentenced. They have now been liberated. It should be stated that de Vega himself constituted the "court martial" before which these boys were tried.
Note. - There are several cases of arrests for "insulting and resisting the armed forces of Spain." In the case of Pedro Javier, the accused was over seventy years old, and in that of Miguel de la Gruz, he was seventy-five years old; while in one or two other cases boys of ten or twelve years of age were arrested on the same charge.
updated: March 28, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger