established his headquarters in Biak-na-Bato in Bulacan province. The news
immediately spread throughout the country, and the revolutionaries were once
more in high spirits. General llanera, who was in Nueva Ecija, declared his
support for Aguinaldo. In July 1897, Aguinaldo established the Biak-na-Bato
Republic and issued a proclamation stating the following demands:
▪ Expulsion of the friars and the return of the friar lands to the Filipinos
▪ Representation of the Philippines in the Spanish Cortes
▪ Freedom of the press and of religion
▪ Abolition of the government’s power to banish Filipinos
▪ Equality for all before the law.
A charter based on the Cuban Constitution was
also drafted by Felix Ferrer and Isabelo Artacho. It was signed on November 1, 1897.
The Biak-na-Bato Constitution provided for the establishment of a Supreme council that
would serve as the highest governing body of the Republic. It also outlined certain
basic human rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the
right to education. Emilio Aguinaldo and Mariano Trias were elected Supreme
Council president and vice president, respectively.
The Pact of Biak-na-Bato
Pedro Paterno, a Spaniard born in the Philippines volunteered to act as
negotiator between Aguinaldo and Gov. Primo de Rivera
in order to end the
clashes. Paterno’s effort paid off when on, December 15, 1897, the Pact he sign
the Pact as the representative of the
revolutionaries, and de Rivera as the
representative of the Spanish government. The Leaders are: Emilio Aguinaldo-President,
Mariano Trias-Vice President, Antonio Montenegro-Secretary, Baldomero Aguinaldo-Treasurer,
and Emilio Riego de Dios.
On December 23, 1897, Generals Celestino Tejero and Ricardo Monet of the Spanish
army arrived in Biak-na-Bato and became hostages of the rebels. A ceasefire was
declared by both camps and an agreement between Aguinaldo and the Spanish forces
was made -that the Spanish government will grant self-rule to the Philippines in
3 years if Aguinaldo went to exile and surrender his arms. In exchange,
Aguinaldo will receive P800,000 (Mexican Pesos) as remuneration to the
revolutionaries and an amnesty. After receiving a partial payment of P400,000, Aguinaldo
left for Hong Kong on
December 27, 1897. Some Filipino generals, however, did not believe in the sincerity of the Spaniards.
They refused to surrender their arms. Nevertheless, the Te Deum was still sung on January 23, 1898.
The Biak-na-Bato Pact Fails
The Filipino’s and the Spaniards did not trust each other. As a result, periodic
clashes between the two groups still took place even after Aguinaldo’s departure
from the country. The Spanish did not pay the entire agreed amount. Continue
to The Spanish-American War.