Aguinaldo's Worst Enemies
by Manuel L. Quezon, III
...I. for my part, have done everything possible to avoid it, although at the cost of many rights uselessly sacrificed... My government can not remain indifferent in view of [the] violent and aggressive seizure of its territory by a nation which has arrogated to itself the title champion of oppressed nations. Thus...my government is disposed to open hostilities [if America attacks the Visayas]. Upon their heads be all the blood which may be shed. Emilio Aguinaldo Proclamation, Malolos, January 5, 1899
In Larry Henares' program, some of the panelists -staunch admirers of Aguinaldo- expressed the oft-repeated view that the general failed to achieve greatness in the eyes of Filipinos simply because he lived too long. He didn't die young, in the flower of youth, like Jacinto, or in some twilight of the gods manner, like Bonifacio. He wasn't martyred, like Rizal, and he didn't die, penurious and neglected, like Mabini. He simply lived on, and on, until he became something like an antiquated relict fit for gawking at, but not for reverence. Poor, unheralded man. No one ever made it clear if anyone asked Aguinaldo if that's what he felt. I would think that Aguinaldo was exceedingly fortunate to have lived so long. He outlived many of his friends, but he also outlived all of his enemies. He was reviled during his lifetime -in some cases, because he involved himself in politics and thus made himself fair game- but he lived to see independence day moved to June 12. Isn't having lived long enough to be told of that change an exquisite achievement? And throughout his life, he had the loyalty and devotion of the those who belonged to the League of the Veterans of the Revolution. The things held against him, the sordid Tejeros Convention -one professor of history has pointed out that there were more votes cast than there were actually people to cast them- which led to the eventual execution of Bonifacio, and the...
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