Why We Don’t Have An “Aguinaldo Day”

Poring over some articles about the Philippine Revolution, Bonifacio’s heroics in particular, one can’t help but get hooked up on the other issue that goes along with it, Aguinaldo’s anti-heroics (found a new term for this, he-roguism). So that yesterday, being Bonifacio Day, an oddity pops up from the brain: How come we dont have an “Aguinaldo Day”.

Of course we commemorate March 22 as Aguinaldo Day,but it was never a non-working holiday which makes it a bit short of honorific and gives Aguinaldo a lesser aggrandizement as compared to Rizal and Bonifacio’s Holiday. So why no Aguinaldo Holiday? By flipping through some more pages of the great writers, one can see clearly that history has not been very good to Emilio Aguinaldo. History has judged him, and it’s ugly. To sum up what the majority of our great historians has to say is to sink to this bottomline: Aguinaldo screwed up the Revolution.

Consider some of the spots in Emilio Aguinaldo’s name:

  • The execution of Andres Bonifacio is one of the greatest monumental blunders Aguinaldo has ever made during the Revolution. The faux pas earned him the execration of the people even up to this day.
  • During the revolution, while Bonifacio and his men were having a hard time in Manila, Aguinaldo was on a roll in Cavite which caught the admiration of the other Katipuneros and made his name fly across the whole of Luzon. BUT, this was downplayed by his very adviser Apolinario Mabini, saying the successful revolt in Cavite was due to the fact that the Spanish troops in the province were limited and small in numbers as compared to the troops in Manila.
  • Aguinaldo was  far from  willing to give up his life for the cause. He even compromised the revolution with his arrangement of peace negotiations with the Spanish government. Historians  believed  he was willing to surrender the revolution. Thus the Pact of Biak-Na-Bato which resulted in the P400,00.00 payoff to the revolutionaries and Aguinaldo sailing off to HongKong on a self-imposed exile.
  • Aguinaldo was considered as a representative of the upper class of Cavite whose aim is to grab power from Andres Bonifacio, who,  is icon to the middle and lower class.
  • The assassination of Gen. Antonio Luna by Aguinaldo’s men left him (Aguinaldo) with a bloodied hand for he never pushed for the punishment of the offenders.
  • On April 1, 1901 While Miguel Malvar and Macario Sakay were still fighting the American Occupation, Aguinaldo had already volunteered to swear allegiance to the United States.
  • On March 22, 1897 Aguinaldo’s men rigged the Tejeros election to strip Bonifacio of  his leadership of the  Katipunan.

In the words of Nick Joaquin: “he lurked in the attic of the national consciousness as the Black Legend of the 1900s, the reputed stooge of the Americans in the 1920s, the failed politician in the 1930s and the Jap mouthpiece during the war.” And that “he should have died on the battlefield, then he might be a HERO.


The Gem of Filipino Heroes by Dominicano Fajarito

101 Stories on the Philippine Revolution by Ambeth Ocampo

A Question of Heroes by Nick Joaquin


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