Monday, September 19, 2005

Bonifacio, Andres. "Letters to Emilio Jacinto." In The Writings and Trial of Andres Bonifacio, trans. Teodoro A. Agoncillo and S. V. Epistola. Manila: Antonio J. Villegas; Manila Bonifacio Centennial Commission; University of the Philippines, 1963. 13-22.


Letters to Emilio Jacinto*

[*The following translations are those found in The Philippine Review, January-February, 1918, pp. 42-46.]


Don Emilio Jacinto Pedernal,
Chief of the Army of the North.

Dear Brother: --

I have received all your letters and with them the money, powder, and saltpeter. Our brethren here are congratulating themselves and are grateful for what you have sent, which is of peremptory necessity in the battles, and for the aid which you say you have rendered.

The trouble of which you speak, which occurred in Manila on account of the proclamation of the carabineers and engineers, has greatly helped our brethren here. However, our enemies here are not growing less and these pueblos are still in danger, so we ask you there not to let up, and we will not rest, either, until we have rescued the pueblos they have taken from us, as you already know.

It is urgent necessity that you gather up all the guns there, even if you have to pay for them, but they must become the property of the Association so that we may have a real and proper fighting army. If you succeed in effecting this shortly, it will be an easy thing to invade any pueblo and fortify ourselves there in such a way that it will not be easy for the enemy to reconquer the place.

The occupation of pueblos is really necessary, as it will give us time to prepare ourselves properly and establish an ordnance depot and will be feasible at any time; besides it will give us an advantage over the enemy, as we would otherwise have to take the offensive not having any arms.


I also received a letter from Brother M. Rogelio who asks me to send implements and experts for making cartridges. I thought of this necessity a long time ago, so I had the implements mentioned prepared at the same time as the thing I sent you together with the workmen.

Here there is a lack of empty cartridges, because the enemies "have already found out, too, that there were useful to us" (nabalid na naman din na ito'y ating nagagamit); hence they "pick them up again" (pinupulot); send us whatever you can spare there.

You will receive herewith a lot of percussion-caps which, when they will pass through "Noveleta" (Nobeleta), will total 1,000 instead of 500.

The brethren here have received from the "deceased" (namatay) "Sr. Dimas alang" (M. Dimas-alang) a letter from "Hong-kong" (Hongkong), sent by a cousin of his who resides there, reporting the arrival of our two messengers "Jocson and Alejandrino" (Jocson at si Alejandrino); that both are unable to show any "power" (poder); also that no "silver" (pilak na) has been received there and that for this reason they used the "money deposited" (salaping nalalagak) there by "Rizal and asked, besides, for power and money" (Rizal at humihingi tuloy ng poder at salapi). This astonishes the brethren of Magdiwang very much because everything requested has already been sent there and they are unable to find out why it has not arrived at its destination; they suspect a "miracle" (hiwaga) on the part of the brethren of "Magdalo" (Magdalo) or, perhaps, of "our agents" (ng ating mga inutusan) there. For this reason the brethren of "Magdiwang" (Magdiwang) together with ours there, will pay for everything, because they will "no longer allow those of Magdiwang to take a part" (papakikialamin ang mga taga Magdiwang). The "power" (poder) I send you in order that you may sign it with Bro. Nakpil. The "power" (poder) was made out in the name of the "Committee" (Komite) organized there, as requested in the letter. This notwithstanding, we have hopes to obtain "arms" (armas) shortly and this is expected by the compatriot "Sr. Paciano" (M. Pasiano) at the "landing place" (aahunan) agreed upon.

The men who know how to set "spear traps" (balatek) for whom you ask I have already summoned from "Marigondon" (Marigondo'g), but they have not yet arrived; as soon as they arrive, I shall have them go to your place.

In my first reply to your letter I overlooked your inquiry concerning V. Fernanclez. As you already know, he has committed a great crime against the people, the association, and ourselves,


and I therefore hope that you will soon apply to him the proper punishment, I think he is a spy there of the "envious ones of Magdalo, in order to seduce our men and enter here" (maingiting taga Magdalo at ng maupatan diyan ang ating mga tao at maipasok dito) the rifles. When the one left here, "M. Natividad" (M. Natibidad), who, I believe, has been "commissioned" (tinungkulan) "first, to induce" (una, umupat), arrives there you must proceed with circumspection and act as prudence may advise.

Here "the enmity between the two factions is very great" (lalong malaki ang pagkakaalit ng dalawang Sb.), because "those of Magdalo want" (Magdalo ay hinihiling na sila) "to rule all and the entire Philippines" (ng mamahala sa lahat at sa buong Katagalugan), because they say nothing but the "Government of Imus" (Gobierno ng Imus) is recognized there and throughout Europe. This happened three days ago, when they came to "Malabon" (Malabon), accompanied by "P. Dandan" (P. Dandan), who is one of their faction.*

The government they try to establish here is as follows: President and General-in-Chief "Magdalo" (Magdalo); Director of Military Work "Baldomero" (Baldomero) and those of "Magdiwang" (Magdiwang) will simply act as subdirector or subminister.** This plan truly "disgusted" (ikinapuot) the "ministers of Magdiwang" (Ministros ng Magdiwang), who saw through their "game that if Imus is elected" (politica na kung napipili ang Imus) "they will govern here in Malabon" (mamahala dito sa Malabon). The selfishness of "Magdalo" (Magdalo) is truly "disgusting" (nakasuklam) and has been the cause of their many reverses.

There is a brass foundry here and better cannon is cast than on the other side; neither melting pot nor coke is necessary; a resident of Manila makes them very well. Hunt up some brass there and I shall send you cannons and lantakas immediately.

Your poem was translated by Binong, but has not yet been printed, owing to the lack of Spanish type.

The musical play of Nakpil has not yet been performed, because the fighting leaves us neither rest nor repose here.***

I can not yet return there, because I am expecting the arrival of our "arms" (armas), in order that we may have our share; even if it be no more than those introduced here by Luciano which I can not take away from here on account of their being very necessary here.

Luciano is already strong and able to walk; his repeating rifle is in his possession and I have not yet taken it up. The Mauser is the first weapon we used in the war. Only ten pesos were sent to your mother; the balance was used for gratifications and


our expenses here. It is necessary that you send me more, for gratifications to the person who makes cannon and other implements, such as arrows and others. I paid the expenses of the bearer of this letter and those of the families of the two cartridge makers.

As regards my brother Ciriaco, he was the bearer of all you sent here and and [sic] is unable to leave here for the present. For my part, if any person dares to use my name for illicit purposes, you are free to deal with him as may be just and proper. As to Nonay who has remained there, I ask you to look after her for the time being; I have not considered it prudent to have her come here on account of the great danger here.

I ordered the arrest of Nicolas de Lara and had the proper investigation made; it is of urgent necessity that you forward the report of the persons who know what happened with the money.

Receive the affectionate embrace of your
Andres Bonifacio

*Father Pedro Dandan, a secular priest. -- TAA.
**Baldomero Aguinaldo. -- TAA.
***Julio Nakpil, who later on became Mrs. Andres Bonifacio's second husband. -- TAA.


Bro. Pedernal.

As regards the person from whom, according to you, the revolver will have to be taken, nobody knows him here; and the Captain "Mariano" (Mariano) whom you mention has perished in the engagement of Aromahan (napatay na sa labanan sa).

If you have to write me anything secretly, we must use the key of the second degree, because I usually receive your letters open here.

It has been possible to get only 800 ready cartridges, though we are allowed 1,000 and even 2,000 here in Magdiwang, in exchange for your aid there, because since the fighting here shows no sign of abating, we are running short of cartridges, and nothing has as yet been done than that.

As soon as you have signed the power, have the bearer take it immediately where it must go.

Your brother,
Andres Bonifacio

8-3-97 [March 8, 1897]



Sr. Emilio Jacinto Pedernal.

Mr. Chief of the Army: -- The disturbances here and the entrance of the enemy in the pueblos of Silang, P. Dasmariñas, Bacoor, Imus, Kawit, Noveleta, Malabon, Tanza, and Salinas* have not left me any leisure for writing you and replying to your letters; however I shall endeavor to do so and the bearer of the letter shall be our brother "Sr. Antonino Guevara" (Antonino Guebara), who has most important things to communicate to you.

I received what you sent me: two cans of powder, a bayon of cartridge shells, and thirty pesos. The letter says 50, but only 30 were delivered to me, as I am informed that Brother Nakpil took the 20 pesos again.

The frequent attacks by the enemy on the pueblos above mentioned are due to the lack of unity and the customary dissension among the leaders, who remain obstinate, although the people are having a terrible time to it.

Capitan Emilio has received a letter sent by a Jesuit called Pio Pi and a Spaniard by the name of Rafael Comenge**, this was before the capture of Imus, and in the letter the revolutionary chiefs are invited to lay down their arms and are promised a general pardon. Capitan Emilio made several conditions: expulsion of the friars, Deputies to the Cortes, and others, and endorsed the matter to M. Alvarez, requesting his assent. Alvarez consulted me, and as we did not assent, those of Imus had Aguinaldo write secretly to the chiefs of the pueblos under Magdiwang.

When President Mariano learned of this, he called a meeting of the people and asked them what was the general desire, and at that meeting it was resolved to continue the war against the Spaniards and not to admit any terms of conciliation. At said meeting it was further decided to establish a revolutionary government, but the thing resulted in a fiasco, because they all discovered the game of the Magdalo people and the convention accomplished nothing.

Owing to the turmoil and the defeats, the inhabitants here became terror-stricken, and Tirana, Cailles, and Jose del Rosario, who were Minister of War, Lieutenant General, and Director of War, surrendered to the Spaniards, and were followed by many officers and inhabitants of the pueblo of Tansa, all Magdalo men.

On account of these defections, of which the host of Captain Emilio had knowledge, nearly all the brethren asked men on their knees to take them away from there, to which request I gave no heed, as I was moved to compassion by the sad plight of so many


citizens who, without being guilty, would suffer untold hardships and death.

The Batangas people have placed themselves under the orders of the Supreme Council, recognizing our authority; they will within three days begin to invade eight pueblos. For this undertaking they requested my assistance, and I gave them 20 riflemen and 20 bolomen, under the orders of Brother Artemio Ricarte.

A provincial government has already been established in Batangas; its general is called D. Miguel Malvar and he is a very intelligent man, better, perhaps, than the general we know here, of Tanway.***

In case they should be successful in taking the pueblo of Lipa, one of the 8 pueblos to be invaded, they wish me to establish myself there, in order to be able, as they say, to carry the war into Camarines. For this reason I wish to know from you whether I am more badly needed there, because then I shall go there; otherwise I shall remain in Batangas.

It is really necessary for us to agree upon the movements for the purpose of generalizing the war and carrying it everywhere. I therefore desire to know whether you have already gone to Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, and if not, I shall leave somebody in charge here and we shall go there; because if we do not bestir ourselves, you know that "Mamerto Natividad" (Mamerto Natibidad) is there, who will be doing what he did here: talk ill of us.

The arms have not yet arrived, and this delay is one of the causes which retain me here. Your mother is at Marigondon with a relative of hers there, and no mishap whatever has occurred to her.

Receive my affectionate embrace,

The C. Sup.,

Andres Bonifacio

*Revolutionary name of the town of Rosario. -- TAA.
**President of the Casino Español. -- TAA.
***Obviously referring to General Emilio Aguinaldo. -- TAA.


Don Emilio Jacinto Pedernal.

My dear Brother: -- I received your letter dated the 19th of this month and took note of everything you say in it.

Since the enemy entered Silang and until the present writing, we have not been able to undertake anything except endeavor


to deliver the pueblo from its precarious situation, and this is one of the causes of my silence. Before receiving yours, however, I wrote you through Sr. Antonino Guevara, of San Pedro Tunasan, and presume the letter must already be in your possession. I related to you the vicissitudes suffered by the pueblos of the district of Tanway taken by the Spaniards, viz: Silang, Dasmariñas, Imus, Bacoor, Kawit, Nobeleta, Malabon, Salinas and Tansa; three or four of them were taken by the enemy without any struggle and they will surely take the rest if selfishness and disruption have their way. This is sole cause of the misfortune of these pueblos. As to the convention held on the 22nd of last month, the cause of it was that Captain Emilio Aguinaldo had received letters from a Jesuit and a Spaniard, Pio Pi and Rafael Comenge by name. These letters state that they will grant us the most ample pardon, and if not, they ask for a conference in order that we might tell them what we want. Both letters were endorsed by the Imus people to the Magdiwang chiefs, with a list of conditions for the Spaniards, in order that an agreement might be arrived at. The Magdiwang people did not agree, for the reason that I was absent from Tanway, at Look (Batangas), in those days; besides they denied representation to the Jesuit and Comenge, who lacked authority ad hoc for this matter.

When the Imus people received the reply of Magdiwang, Captain Emilio wrote secretly to the chiefs of the pueblos under the jurisdiction of Magdiwang concerning the compromise he wished to make with the Spaniards. When the President of Magdiwang learned this, he immediately called a convention of the people and sent for me to Look, and the convention referred to was held. In view of my explanation regarding the inadvisability of such a compromise with the Spaniards, all the persons present there were of the opinion that the war should continue.

The majority at the convention determined to organize a government; but I gave them to understand that this could not be, on account of the absence of the representatives of other districts, aside from an agreement having already been adopted at the convention at Imus; that all this annulled the majority, because in view of the present critical situation of these pueblos there was no time to wait for representatives from other places, and the Imus convention lacked validity, on account of the alleged absence of a minute record. Nevertheless I assured those present that that in case the manifest will of the people governed in the election of officers, I would respect it.

When the election was held, there were elected, as President of the Republic, Don Emilio Aguinaldo; Vice-President, Don Mariano Trias; General-in-Chief, Don Artemio Ricarte; Director of War, Don Emilio R. de Dios. This was all by acclamation, as it was night. I was elected Director of the Interior, also by acclamation,


and was cheered by all, the same as the others who had been elected; but when the cheering was over and they were about to begin to elect a Director of Finance, Don Daniel Tirona said that there were voices proclaiming Don Jose del Rosario as Director of the Interior; at once he insinuated that since the position of Director of the Interior was a most exacting one, a learned man must be selected, and this he said after stating that it was not his intention to offend me. I forthwith replied that learned men were required for all the other offices also, and asked him whom of those elected he could point out to me as being a learned man. Nevertheless he shouted: "Acclaim as Director of the Interior Jose del Rosario, the lawyer". Nobody took up this acclamation the four times that he shouted it, except a few, who acclaimed me. In view of the turmoil, the President of Magdiwang made public that this was not a convention of serious men and that everything done there lacked validity. Moreover before the election began, I discovered the underhand work of some of the Imus crowd who had quietly spread the statement that it was not advisable that they be governed by men from other pueblos, and that they should for this reason strive to elect Captain Emilio as President. As soon as I heard of this, I said that this meeting was dirty work, because this was what they were after and they were deceiving the people, adding that if they wished me to point out, one by one, those who were conducting themselves in this manner, I should do so. The majority said that this was no longer necessary. I also said that if the manifest will of the people was not complied with, I would not recognize any of the chiefs elected, and if I did not recognize them they would not be recognized by our people there, either. Don Artemio Ricarte, the General-elect, also said at that meeting that his election was due to bad practices.

The Imus people met the next day at the Tansa convent and there they compelled the officers-elect to take the oath, one by one, as you can see by the attached document by Don Artemio Ricarte.

Those of Magdiwang, and especially those of Malabon, drew up a protest and called Captain Emilio and Daniel Tirona, and at a meeting they made him resign the office of which he wanted to possess himself; hence it was necessary to issue on that same night a circular, which was published throughout all the pueblos of the Tanway district, to the effect that his election by the convention referred to was void, and that matters in Magdiwang and Magdalo must remain as they were before.

I and our men, totalling 20 armed with Remington rifles and about 20 with muzzle-loaders, with the necessary implements, left for the barrio of Jalan, of the pueblo of Indang, with the idea of returning there. We also had with us bolomen, numbering 1,000. As we only await what you and Don Antonio Guevara


will decide, in accordance with the agreement between Guevara and myself.

As to the arms for which we are waiting, it seems that we can not expect anything, because Jocson's letter asks for 20,000 pesos, and the money collected here has nearly all been spent by the chiefs for the needs and incidentals of the war.

You will receive herewith the copy of the revolutionary Manifesto that we are going to publish. It is in English, too, but as it is rather long, I entrust you with its arrangement so that we can use it when we are properly organized. The cipher code used for letters to Hongkong is also annexed. This you must keep secret from "Mamerto Natividad" (Mamerto Natibidad).

The District of Batangas has organized a provincial government which it places under my orders, according to the four letters I have received. I sent 20 riflemen and 25 Balara bolomen to help them; Luciano also went there with several riflemen in order to aid in the general attack they are going to make there on 8 pueblos at the same time.

As to the report of Procopio's death, there is no truth to it, but he was in serious danger.

I also received news here that you had been killed by the carabineers because you had given a bad order; but as this came from Imus, I did not believe it and considered it one of the usual tricks of that crowd.

As to the collection of money, I believe we need not beg, but the best thing to do is to try to enter the pueblos and solicit or take it from the wealthy. Brother M. Nakpil wrote me, asking whether he was to deliver the money collected by him, four hundred odd pesos, to "Mamerto Natividad" (Mamerto Natibidad); do not consent to such a thing, because that man is not loyal to us; he is very thick with the Magdalo people.

A piece of news that turns a person's stomach is that of the felony committed by the Magdalo officers who applied for pardon or went over to the Spaniards. These are Daniel Tirona, Minister of War; Jose del Rosario, Minister of the Interior; Jose (?) Cailles,* Lieutenant-General, and nearly all the Tansa people, even the parish priest there, all henchmen of Captain Emilio's. For this reason many people strongly suspect that they work so hard to get control of the government in order to put down the whole Revolution. Last week I ordered one of Captain Emilio's ministers bound, because he was caught as he was about to escape with two Spanish prisoners and a lady. One of these Spaniards told the truth, that they were going to make their escape. He was tried by a military commission, but the usual thing happened;


mutual contemplations or favoritism. However, the record of the case against the minister mentioned, Sr. Cayetano Topacio, remained in my possession, the same as that of the Spaniards. This is one of the reasons why we desire to leave here, because our life is in danger not only from the Spanish enemy, but still more from the leaders here, the majority of whom are crooked.

We have taken away everything: the printing press, the necessary books, the big map, and the implements for the cartridges.

There is no means by which we can deliver the spoons you sent through Dimas' brother as they have already left for Silangan (Laguna). We have already sent for your mother, who is at Marigondon, and we are still waiting for her.

Receive the affectionate embrace which I send you.

Limbon, April 24, 1897.

The Chief of the E.P.

(Sgd.) Andres Bonifacio

*Juan Cailles. -- TAA.