Emilio Aguinaldo is well-known and popular to be the first president of the Philippine Republic, but, like Ferdinand Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he is also one of the most controversial president we had.
Among all the controversies surrounded the Cavite General, the most standout was his involvement in the killing of Supremo Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio, because of treason. It lingered for the longest time who had them killed until a letter surfaced, with his signature, in 1948, claiming and acknowledging the brain behind the Bonifacio killing.
The day before his birthday in 1948, a letter went public which is something like a series of exchanges between him and Mariano Noriel and Pio del Pilar, his war Generals, regarding his orders for the fate of the Bonifacio brothers.
The letter initially goes:
” Kung ibig po ninyong magpatuloy ang kapanatagan ng pamahalaang mapanghimagsik, at kung ibig ninyong mabuhay pa tayo, ay inyo pong bawiin ang iginawad na indukto sa magkapatid na iyan.”
(Translation: “If you want to go on with peace of mind for the entire revolution and want as well for us to live (as an organization), please reconsider your decree on the Bonifacio brothers.)
For the benefit of the few, Aguinaldo initially ordered the Bonifacio brothers to be exiled or deported.
He then answered with his signature with these:
“Dahil dito’y aking binawi at inutos ko kay Heneral Noriel na ipatupad ang kahatulan ng Consejo de Guerra, na barilin ang magkapatid, alang-alang sa kapanatagan ng bayan.”
(Translation: “Because of this, I retracted and ordered Gen. Noriel to enforce the judgement of Consejo de Guerra, to shot the Bonifacio brothers, for the sake of our organization’s order and stability.)
However, although the letter bears the acknowledgement, it depicts that he is just giving in on the recommendations of his trusted men for the sake of their cause and the country.
With this confession or letter, is it safe to say that Aguinaldo was a weak and fickle minded leader or a very strong and strategical leader, projecting a weak image, in order for him to easily go through the defenses of everyone in his staff without difficulty or hindrance.
Aside from the Bonifacio controversy, he is also under the microscope for two other controversies namely the Pact of the Biak na Bato wherein he sold the Philippines for 800, 000 Mexican Pesos and the execution of the fierce General Antonio Luna in Cabanatuan City, in which he behemothly denied until his last breath (these two controversies will be published soon, separately).