Ahead of the 152nd anniversary of his birth today, Andres Bonifacio is the subject of an online petition that seeks to recognize him as the first president of the Philippines instead of Emilio Aguinaldo.
The petition in the online social platform change.org started by De La Salle University professor and historian Michael Charleston Chua has generated over 4,500 signatures.
The petition to declare Bonifacio, revered as the “Supremo ng Katipunan” is aimed at “giving justice to the man who fathered the Filipino Nation.”
“To recognize Bonifacio’s presidency is to recognize the first manifestation of a government of national unity in the Philippines which eventually led to the birth of the First Constitutional Democratic Republic in Asia, the Republica Filipina, led by General Emilio Aguinaldo,” read the online petition.
The board of the National Historical Institute, in a unanimous ruling last July 7, 1994, declared that the petition to grant a state funeral for Andres Bonifacio as the head of the Filipino Nation or State cannot be fully granted because it “necessarily reverses the verdict of death by an Aguinaldo-constituted judicial process a century ago against the Bonifacio brothers.”
“The reversal by a contemporary non-judicial act of private entities can no longer change what happened in the past,” NHI said.
Historians also argued that Bonifacio should not be made president because that would require a revision of textbooks that might confuse schoolchildren.
Earlier, a resolution from the Makabayan bloc of lawmakers to recognize Bonifacio as the first Philippine president was filed in Congress.
Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmerenciana de Jesus (Gabriela party-list), Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Antonio Tinio (Act), Fernando Hicap (Anakpawis) and Terry Ridon (Kabataan) filed House Resolution 651 seeking to recognize Bonifacio as the country’s first president and urging President Benigno Aquino Jr. to institute, through the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, measures to disseminate what they said was a historical fact in history books.
They said original and authentic documents of the Philippine Revolution against Spain attested to by historians of note such as Milagros Guerrero, Emmanuel Encarnacion and Ramon Villegas said Bonifacio founded the first national government of the Philippines and served as its president from Aug. 24, 1896 until his tragic death on May 10, 1897.
The lawmakers said the August 1896 transformation of the Katipunan into a revolutionary government and the ensuing election of Bonifacio to the presidency were also confirmed by Pio Valenzuela in his testimony before Spanish authorities upon his surrender on Sept. 2, 1896.
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