Dasmariñas, Cavite, Philippines – (March 21, 1897) The Cavite offensive is far from over. Since launching the campaign to drive and crush Filipino revolutionaries under General Emilio Aguinaldo last February 15, Spanish forces under Major General Jose Lachambre have seen town after town, falling back to the Crown.
Starting the offensive at Pamplona, Cavite and Bayungyungan, Batangas, Lachambre’s fine men would later march deep into the heart of Aguinaldo’s home province. On February 19, Silang fell to the Spanish juggernaut despite attempts by Filipino forces to defend and then later, recover it. Nine days later, Spanish forces marched into Dasmariñas to reclaim the town. The week after, Spanish troops were on the attack again as they moved towards the Aguinaldo’s capital, Imus.
The Filipino forces on the other hand have incurred serious losses from the onset. Several of the leading revolutionaries have paid the ultimate price for their beliefs. Among those who perished in the battlefields are General Edilberto Evangelista – whose trench works and fortifications have won the praise of even the Spanish brass; Mariano Yenko, Esteban Montoya and Pio de Rodas.
Sources within the Filipino forces have informed the Diario that while Aguinaldo is waging a desperate defensive movement against the Spanish forces, he is also trying to manage the rift that has been developing between two factions of the revolutionaries.
Since late last year, Filipino revolutionary forces have been split into two groups: Magdiwang and Magdalo, with erstwhile Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio being the spiritual leader of the Magdiwang faction; while rising revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo leading the Magdalo group. Bonifacio and the remnants of his Katipunan had earlier moved into Cavite after giving up on the revolution in Manila. He had incurred a series of defeats, causing him to abandon the struggle in the capital.
Exploiting the gap among the revolutionaries, a source within Polavieja’s camp tipped off the Diario that the Governor General plans to issue an amnesty proclamation and offer to the Filipinos in the coming days. This is the second time Polavieja had offered the olive branch to the revolutionaries. The first one was declared in the days prior to the launch of the Cavite offensive.
The rift among the Filipino leaders and the amnesty offer may have serious consequences on the revolution. It remains to be seen however how the revolutionaries will react. But considering the seemingly unstoppable military campaign in Aguinaldo’s home province and the widening gap among Filipino forces, a truce with Spain might be viewed by some as a much needed breather from the smoke and din of the battlefield.
Cavite, Philippines- (February 15, 1897) Governor-General Camilo de Polavieja has opened up his offensive against the revolutionary army of Emilio Aguinaldo in Cavite with an assault on the rebel leader’s province. This comes after months of preparation and after an amnesty offer made by the the Polavieja administration.
The offensive began with an attack by units under Polavieja’s deputy, Major General Jose Lachambre. With a force of four battalions amounting to more than 10,000 well-armed and prepared men scattered in provinces surrounding Cavite, Lachambre opened up the attack as soon as Polavieja gave him the order.
A special reconnaissance brigade under General Francisco Galbis’ command moved into Cavite from the northeast, defeating the rebel troops at Pamplona earlier today. General Nicolas Jaramillo also launched an attack on the rebel positions at Bayuyungan, Batangas. The rebels are holding out for now but the Spanish forces are confident that the inevitable would be sooner than what the Filipino rebels would like to believe.
While the Jaramillo and Galbis brigades are attacking Cavite from the north and east, Lachambre is leading another force moving from the southeast portion of the province. Sources who prefer to remain anonymous said that the multi-pronged attack will converge on Silang.
North of Manila, Polavieja has also ordered the assault on revolutionary forces in Bulacan and Morong provinces, holding down the flanks while his main force drives into the heartland of the revolution - Cavite.
With the offensive in full swing and Spanish troops quickly racing into Aguinaldo’s home province, it remains to be seen how Filipino forces will cope with the overwhelming force. So far, the revolutionaries are hunkered down in the impressive trench works built under the excellent supervision of General Edilberto Evangelista. But with Spanish cannons pounding and troops assaulting, the Filipino revolution might be up for a very difficult turn of events.
With reports from Onofre Corpuz, Frederic Sawyer, Reynaldo Ileto and Felice Noelle Rodriguez
Manila, Philippines - While the Philippine Revolution, which began in earnest on August 30, 1896 when hostilities broke out between the Manila-based faction of the separatist group “Katipunan” and Spanish forces under the command of Governor-General Ramon Blanco, has been successful up to now, the long term sustainability of their struggle for freedom is in question. There are a host of issues, both internal and external, that may well spell doom for the nascent Revolution.
Chief among them are the reports emanating from Cavite of a split between the Magdalo and Magdiwang factions of the Katipunan. Any factionalism or contention within the ranks weakens their ability to repel a concerted Spanish attack. And up to this point they have not truly felt a coordinated and earnest Spanish offensive. Most of the victories, while notable, have been of the variety of minor skirmishes. The Revolution does not have the military might to remain split.
The source of the split appears to be two-fold. First, there is dissension between the two factions concerning the future of the Revolution. Over the last few days of 1896 there was a series of meetings in Imus, Cavite to map out the future of the Katipunan. Simplistically put, the Magdalo group believes that the Revolution has outgrown the Katipunan and a new organizational structure should be put in place. While the Magdiwang, with new leader Andres Bonifacio in the fold, seems to feel that the Katipunan is the Revolution, and thus operates as the de facto leadership organization. The Magdiwang was willing to hold elections as long as the post of leader of the Revolution was reserved solely for Andres Bonifacio. This was rejected by the Magdalo group.
The growing ideological split between the factions is best represented by the statements of Magdalo member Edilberto Evangelista during the Imus meetings: “…the revolution was a Filipino revolution, the fruit of the love of the Motherland in the hearts of all Filipinos, not only those who were Katipuneros.” It was must be said that, according to Diaro’s sources, Evangelista was never a member of the Katipunan, but joined the Revolution after it had begun. This is a situation mirrored by many defectors from Spanish ranks and recent revolutionaries. This growing discontentment between new revolutionaries and the Magdalo on one side and the Magdiwang on the other is divisive and weakening element. As well, some analysts believe the long-standing issue of regionalism may also be coming into play. With the Caviteno iteration of the Revolution being more successful than the Manila-based version.
Second, there seems to be an issue of leadership at play. In the days after the August 30 Katipunan defeat Andres Bonifacio ended up on the run. He surfaced only a few times, only to decisively lose battles to Spanish troops. Sources say that Bonifacio was invited into Cavite, which is a pre-requisite based on the devolved nature of the Katipunan, multiple times, each time declining. However, he eventually accepted the invitation stating that he would leave the province soon after. It appears though that Bonifacio has decided to settle permanently in Cavite, the current center of the Revolution, and take the reigns of the Magdiwang faction. This is causing some consternation on the part of the Magdalo.
While this internecine strife is brewing, the Spanish authorities are regaining their military footing. A leading reason behind the ouster of Ramon Blanco as governor-general was his perceived lack of military acumen in the face of his resounding losses to “uncivilized savages” (as one Madrid government official called Filipinos). Camilo Polavieja, who is known for his brutal yet effective methods in Cuba, took charge on December 13, 1896. In the intervening time he has reworked the military plans of the Spanish, taken stock of the Philippine Revolution, and been reinforced by almost 25,000 Spanish regulars from abroad. Polavieja, with this type of force at his disposal, is something new.
The seeds of that offensive have already been sowed. Polavieja has begun deploying his forces throughout the surrounding areas and has issued a general amnesty to revolutionaries. All indicate that he will begin his offensive soon. In fact, there are already reports that Polavieja is starting to stamp out pockets of revolutionary resistance in outlying areas. It is a divide and conquer tactic whereby he will isolate Cavite and attack it last.
The new face of the Spanish military and the internal strife of the Katipunan may very well be insurmountable problems for the Philippine Revolution. A fractured Revolution will not be able to counteract a coordinated and precise Spanish offensive. That is the situation facing the Revolution today, how they adjust and evolve will spell their potential success or eventual failure.
With contributions from Pedro S de Achutegui, Miguel A. Bernad and O.D. Corpuz.
Manila, Philippines- Earlier today, thirteen convicted members of the subversive group La Liga Filipina were executed at the Luneta. This comes at a time when Governor General Camilo de Polavieja issued a proclamation offering amnesty to those who have taken part in the rebellion in the provinces near Manila.
Locals are at a loss at how the man who replaced their beloved Ramon Blanco should be viewed. Blanco had a more conciliatory tone towards rebellious Filipinos - a policy criticized by the men of the cloth. Polavieja however has adopted a different strategy. On one hand he offers peace to the rebels; on the other he executes them.
But who is Camilo de Polavieja? And why are his policies towards the rebellion different compared to his predecessor?
Camilo de Polavieja y del Castillo was born in Madrid on July 13, 1838. Coming from a merchant family, Camilo pursued a different path when he enlisted with the Navarro Regiment in 1855. He fought in the African campaign and was awarded the Isabelle Maria Lucia for good conduct. He would also fight in Cuba and in the Carlist War, after which he was promoted colonel of the Princess Regiment.
As Brigadier General, Polavieja would be sent again to Cuba in 1876 to command the Sancti Spiritus district. He would be promoted Field Marshal after being awarded the Cross of Military Merit.
Marshal Polavieja would later return to Spain and become a member of the Supreme Council of War and Navy. He would also be appointed Captain General of Andalusia and Supreme Chief Inspector of the Infantry. In 1888, he was appointed Captain General of Puerto Rico. He would later resign the post.
In 1890, he replaced Captain General Jose Chinchilla in Cuba. But he would also resign the post in 1892 as a protest on the widespread bribery and Madrid’s interference with his operations in the colony.
Last month, Polavieja arrived in Manila after Madrid saw Blanco’s failure to put down the native rebellion. Along with Polavieja’s arrival also came miltiary reinforcements and materiel from Spain. 25,000 more troops are expected to arrive in the coming months.
Polavieja has often been described as a stern military man and an effective administrator. It remains to be seen how these qualities of the new Governor General will influence his use of the force at his disposal. One thing’s for sure though, his methods in fighting a revolt is very much different from his predecessor. And only time will tell if they are effective or not.
With reports from the New York Times, Sacramento Daily Record Union, and Stanley G. Paine
Manila, Philippines - Correspondence acquired by Diario de Filipinas shows that revolutionary elements in Cavite have been aware and preparing for a ‘final’ assault by Spanish forces since late last year. The letters cover concerns about food supply, warnings about preparations and basic organizational orders from the Magdalo provincial command to various towns under their authority.
In a letter dated November 17, 1896, Cayetano Topacio, identified as Minister of Finance of the People’s Council of Magdalo and using his Katipunan name “Magtipon”, urged leaders of the local councils of the Katipunan to plant seasonal crops to avoid a food shortage. “…many of our brothers have publicly announced that, if we have no as yet felt the shortage of food, we shall soon suffer this hardship. This will happen all the more, if we do not work with the same industry as formerly…That is how we can evade a grim enemy like Hunger.” Topacio also goes on to recommend to continue planting tobacco as a cash crop.
Part in parcel with the preparations for the coming assault was a transfer of the seat of power of the Revolution to Imus, Cavite. In a letter dated December 21, 1896, “Mabangis” or Baldomero Aguinaldo, President of the People’s Council of the Magdalo, informed the various heads of the towns that: “…according to a decision made today, has deemed it proper to cause the transfer from now on of this Government to the Fort in the municipality of Haligui.” Sources indicate that the reason for the transfer is Imus is one of the more strongly fortified towns in the region.
In a letter on December 21, 1896, Emilio Aguinaldo issued an order to his various generals requesting for troop dispositions. “Upon receipt of this order, please prepare immediately a report in duplicate, mentioning all the guns under your command.” Analyst say that these letters, along with others acquired by Diario, indicate that the level of preparation of revolutionary forces far exceeds what the Spanish authorities projected.
Sources say that the Spanish authorities in the Philippines and Spain were surprised by the level of preparedness demonstrated by Cavite-based revolutionaries after the Revolution broke out. This was in contrast to the almost ad hoc approach that Manila-based revolutionaries took to preparations for organized military campaigns. As a result, Governor-General Camilo de Polavieja, since taking over the government on December 13, 1896, has taken a more measured approach to handling military affairs. Since then, there has been an unspoken ceasefire in Cavite, with only minor sorties occurring in places like Pateros and Taguig. Sources within the government also indicate that Polavieja will be receiving major reinforcements from Spain. This is also differs from the type of support offered to Governor-General Ramon Blanco, who Polavieja replaced. During Blanco’s tenure the position of the Spanish Crown was that Blanco could quell the rebellion with existing forces. This proved to be a faulty assumption.
Based on correspondence it appears that the Revolutionaries are attempting to expand their preparations in the face of Polavieja’s reinforcements and subsequent plans to decisively end the rebellion in the colony in the coming months.
Correspondents from Imus, Cavites and writers Pedro S, Achutegui, SJ, and Miguel A. Bernad, SJ contributed to this report.
Manila, Philippines - Reports from Pateros, Taguig, and Silang indicate that pitched battles have been fought between Spanish troops and Revolutionary forces. These come on the heals of reports that an unofficial ceasefire is being observed in Cavite.
In Pateros and Taguig revolutionary forces under the command of General Emilio Aguinaldo, Pio del Pilar, and Mariano Noriel were defeated by Spanish troops. This was the final battle in a series of skirmishes that began four days ago. On December 31, 1896, after a plea for assistance from existing rebellious elements in Pateros, Aguinaldo marched across land and engaged Spanish loyalists, catching them by surprise, and successfully forcing a surrender. By the evening of December 31, Pateros was under rebel control. Analysts say these two towns are considered of some strategic importance since they control trade along the Pasig River flowing into and out of Laguna.
Beginning on January 1 and extending through January 2, Spanish relief troops have engaged in minor skirmishes in an attempt to probe rebel positions. Earlier today a largecontingent of Spanish troops from Laguna arrived in Pateros and forced Aguinaldo’s withdrawal.
Reports are filtering in that east of Silang, in Las PInas and Dasmarinas, revolutionary forces have attacked Spanish fortified strongholds. These strongholds were established during former Governor-General Ramon Blanco’s campaigns. Their purpose was to a base of operations to launch counter-attacks into rebel held Silang. The rebel attacks were successfully repulsed by Spanish forces.
Correspondents in Laguna, Cavite and writer O.D. Corpuz contributed to this report.
Manila, Philippine Islands -Jesuits from the Ateneo de Municipal will attempt to have convicted writer and social critic Dr. Jose Rizal return to the fold of the Holy Mother Church.
Sources say the Jesuits have with them a retraction written by His Eminence, the Archbishop of Manila, Bernardo Nozaleda, OP which will be presented to Rizal at Fort Santiago this evening. The Jesuits will attempt to have Rizal sign the document.
A Spanish military official at the Fort, requesting anonymity, told Diario that the Jesuits have been visiting Rizal the whole day today, December 29. And several of those who visited him were his former mentors at the Ateneo.
More details on Rizal’s last moments to follow as Diario de Filipinas covers the developments.
Fort Santiago, Manila - where Dr. Jose Rizal is being held prisoner. (Photo by Arnaldo Dumindin)
Manila, Philippine Islands - Diario de Filipinas has gathered from reliable sources that the Spanish authorities have refused to publish a manifesto from condemned mestizo writer and social critic, Dr. Jose Rizal. The manifesto, written last December 15, exhorted indios led by Andres Bonifacio of Manila and Emilio Aguinaldo of Cavite to lay down their arms and end the rebellion.
In the manifesto, Rizal disavowed any involvement with the rebellion by Bonifacio and Aguinaldo, although he is aware that his name is being used by these armed groups to solicit funds and gain support from the rest of the indios, the mestizos and even some erring subjects of the Crown. Rizal admits that he was consulted by the leaders of the rebellion, but he also added that he advised against it.
Rizal also said that he was willing to offer his professional services as a physician to those who had suffered as a result of the hostilities, if only to prove his condemnation of the rebellion. He also said that the rebellion was barbarous and ridiculous.
But in the same document, Rizal said that the rebellion is not the best means of working for reforms in the Philippine Islands in its current state. He said that the general population in the islands must first be educated, if they are to ensure the attainment of the needed changes in the governance of the islands.
It was this last part of Rizal’s pronouncements that made Judge Advocate General Nicolas de la Peña, wary of making the manifesto public. De la Peña said that Rizal “limits himself to criticizing the present insurrectionary movement as premature… [But] as far as Rizal is concerned, the whole question is one of opportunity, not of principles and objectives.” The judge advocate general added that the manifesto was nothing but a call for indios like Bonifacio and Aguinaldo to postpone the rebellion and not end it.
Diario de Filipinas tried to schedule an interview with Rizal concerning the manifesto, but the authorities have refused the request. Rizal’s lawyer, Lt. Taviel de Andrade was also contacted, but he refused to comment on the issue.