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.
Spanish soldiers in Silang, Cavite. (Photo by Arnaldo Dumindin)
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.
With reports from Onofre D. Corpuz