Today is the birthday of Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution. Born on November 30, 1863 to a poor couple in Tondo, Manila, the young Andres, together with his siblings, worked hard and struggled to survive especially after the death of their parents.
Later in his life, the Great Plebeian led a bigger struggle not just for his family, but for the entire Filipino nation then under the oppressive Spanish colonial government. He became a member of the peaceful group La Liga Filipina with Jose Rizal, among other propagandists. He read and was inspired by Rizal’s novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. The execution of Rizal showed Bonifacio that a peaceful struggle for change was useless at that time.
He led the forming of the Kataas-taasan Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng manga Anak ng Bayan (KKK) or Katipunan, a secret society aimed at gaining independence (kalayaan) from the colonial rule even through violent means, if neccessary. The Filipino masses embraced the organization that also proclaimed the equality (pagkakapantay-pantay) of men and women — whether rich or poor — and taught them to care for each other (pagdadamayan). Katipunan’s membership increased and managed to win many fights.
However, as the organization gained strength and number, factionalism occurred. A certain faction, particularly from the elite, eventually dislodged the Supremo from his leadership. Even as they snatched from him his rightful claim to the leadership of a new revolutionary government, his worth as a person and a leader was also insulted. After he lost the presidency to Emilio Aguinaldo at the Tejeros Convention, he was elected secretary of interior. An asshole, however, questioned his capability to handle that post. How was the Supreme Leader of the Katipunan supposed to respond to such indignity? In the end, the Supremo was tried and sentenced to death for not recognizing the new elite-led revolutionary government.
On May 10, 1897, a general named Lazaro Makapagal and his men brought him to Mt. Nagpatong in the Maragondon provinces where he met his death. The Father of the Revolution died not in the hands of the enemy. Ironic, isn’t it? The Supremo was killed by soldiers of a government that was a result of his leadership.
His death signaled the seemingly unending cycle of betrayal of the Filipino masses.