Militant solon aghast that PH gov’t didn’t bother to acquire Bonifacio papers

This could very well have been Bayan Muna Party-List Congressman Carlos Isagani Zarate’s reaction Monday, March 5 when he learned that the Presidential Museum and Library under the Office of the President didn’t lift a finger at an opportunity to get key historical documents connected to Andres Bonifacio.
The opportunity came at an auction last Saturday wherein the so-called “Bonifacio Presidential Papers” fetched a cool P16.4 million.
But what’s the big deal about these papers? According to the Makabayan solon, these documents can prove once and for all that Bonifacio–one of the founders of the Katipunan–was the Philippines’ first president, and not General Emilio Aguinaldo.

“It is really disappointing that the Philippine government failed or if they even tried to acquire these important papers not only for their historical value but also since they are concrete proof and will set the record correctly that indeed Gat Andres Bonifacio is the first president of the Philippines,” Zarate said.

“It is high time that Supremo Andres Bonifacio should be recognized as such and the proper honors should be accorded to him,” stressed the leftist lawmaker.

According to historian Professor Xiao Chua, the papers bear the seal and signature of Bonifacio, where he related his feelings about the Cavite affair–specifically, the March 22, 1897 Tejeros Convention.

The event was the first presidential and vice presidential elections in the country’s history. It presented in full view the rivalry between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo, which has usually been described as a power struggle between the masses and the elite.

The auctioned papers were once owned by the historian Epifanio de los Santos and later came to the possession of Emmanuel Encarnacion.

Historian Glenn May had previously cast doubt on the documents. However, it is now duly verified as authentic documents in the recent book by Jim Richardson, “The Light of Liberty.”

The book sheds light on other Bonifacio papers in Spain that bears the same flourished handwriting, signature and seal of the “Supremo.”

“As it is, we are again calling on House leaders to fast track Bayan Muna’s House Resolution (HR) 285 to finally legislate our recognition of him as such,” Zarate said of Bonifacio, who was ordered executed by the Aguinaldo government following the convention.

Kathy Kenny


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