The Philippine Revolution

by Apolinario Mabini
1969

        Contents

Copyright 1969
By Leon Ma.Guerrero

 

Permission to post this text on the Austrian-Philippine Website is provisionally granted by the estate of Leon Ma. Guerrero. It is intended for academic use. Commercial exploitation of this is explicitly prohibited. Copyright Estate of Leon Ma. Guerrero. All rights reserved.

 

Scanning and proofreeding of the text by Robert L. Yoder

CHAPTER VII

The Liga Filipina and the Katipunan

It is undeniable that in the Philippines the desire for improvement was great and widespread; it is not possible to explain otherwise the mistrust and hatred that the Filipinos, from the most ignorant to the most cultured, were beginning to feel toward the friars in the measure that they realized that the latter tenaciously opposed all reform. Time there was when the friars were wont to defend the natives against the rapacity of the encomenderos for in those days, the friars being in want and the Catholic religion not deeply rooted, they had great need of the confidence and love of their parishioners, whose trust and candour once exploited, they then became rich and arrogant. How was it that they forgot those sweet and gentle accents that had worked such miracles? It was because whoever, acts in bad faith corrupts himself, and the corrupt hearkens not to the voice of reason but to that of passion.

The love and respect that everyone professed for Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar and all the other patriots who collaborated with them in the great work of national regeneration manifested clearly and openly the political aspirations of the Filipinos. That La Solidaridad had faithfully interpreted those aspirations was likewise shown by the fact that its expenses were met by Filipinos residing in the islands, who were thus risking their personal safety and interests. From the start of the periodical's publication a number of Manila residents, calling themselves propagandists, distributed the issues which were smuggled into the city, and collected the subscriptions and contributions given by patriots in Manila and neighbouring provinces. At such times as they had occasion to visit the capital, well-to-do and educated persons from distant provinces were also wont to give their help. If the rich men of Manila contributed very little it was because they mistrusted the persons in charge of the funds, and feared for their own interests.

When he realized that these disorderly and ill-coordinated efforts yielded little, Rizal thought of organizing a society called Liga Filipina, which was inaugurated a few, days before his rustication to Dapitan in Mindanao. The statute of this association was limited to the establishment by the votes of its members of people's councils in the towns, a provincial council in every province, and a supreme council for the whole archipelago, but did not define the objectives of the association. I do not know if these objectives were defined in the inaugural meeting over which Rizal himself personally presided because I was not present and because I never had close relations with the illustrious doctor. I can only say that the society was dissolved a few days after its inauguration because of the banishment of its founder, and that, when it was reorganized later on the initiative of Don Domingo Franco, Andres Bonifacio, and others, they gave me the post of secretary of the supreme coun cil. We then fixed the objectives of the society in a short program couched in the following or equivalent language: to contribute to the support of La Solidaridad and the reforms it asked; to raise funds to meet the expenses not only of the periodical but also of the public meetings organized to support such reforms and of the (Spanish) parliamentarians who would advocate them; in brief, to have recourse to all peaceful and legal means, thus transforming the society into a political party.

The association did not have a better fate this time for it had to be dissolved after a few months of life. However, it had promising beginnings: the majority of the members of the supreme council were persons known for their learning, patriotism and social status; thanks to the efforts of Andres Bonifacio and others, people's councils were soon organized in Tondo and Trozo, and others were being organized in Santa Cruz, Ermita, Malate, Sampaloc, Pandacan, etc. Subsequently a small monthly contribution was required from every member, the proceeds of which were applied to the expenses of La Solidaridad, which were the most urgently to be met. The members paid their dues at first; later they stopped doing so on the pretext that they did not agree with the society's objectives because the Spanish government paid no attention to the periodical nor in fact would do so to any lawful activity. Upon investigation it then transpired that those commissioned to organize the people's councils had not required previous assent to the society's program as a condition for membership in the society; and that, on the contrary, Andres Bonifacio, who had recruited more members for the society with his tireless activity, was firmly convinced of the uselessness of peaceful means. The supreme council, which was more of an organizing committee because its members had not been elected by vote, saw clearly that, as soon as the rank and file elected their leaders according to the by-laws, the program, would be changed. The council understood f or the first time that the masses, whom the Spaniards believed to be br utish or at best indifferent, were in the vanguard where political aspirations were concerned. Realizing that the work of conciliation and compromise was bringing no results, the council declared the dissolution of the society so that the disagreements among its members should not lead to its discovery by the authorities. Those who were in favour of keeping up the fortnightly publication formed one group, called the Compromisarios because each one engaged to pay a monthly contribution of five pesos to meet its expenses. Andres Bonifacio, for his part, reorganized the society under the name of Katipunan ng manga Anak ng Bayan (Association of the Sons of the People), already with independence as its objective.

The Katipunan grew very rapidly because the insolent and provocative way in which the friars carried out their campaign (against reforms) had exasperated the masses. But if the organization of political associations had been permitted in the archipelago, and if the middle class, which was the most educated and influential, had been able to move freely, it could have undoubtedly calmed the people's anger and obstructed the growth of the Katipunan since that class was resolutely in favour of the Liga's program, even after having endured most cruel sufferings, and even more after the Pact of Biak-na-Bato.

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