Do These Old Letters Prove That Bonifacio Was Really the First Philippine President?
It is widely taught in history class that Emilio Aguinaldo was the first president of the Philippines—of the First Republic, at least. But some historians claim that this position belongs rightfully to Andres Bonifacio, who did not only lead the Katipunan as an organization but as the country's first national revolutionary government. Further supporting this claim are rare letters handwritten and signed by the Supremo himself that
The documents are among the few surviving letters sent by the revolutionary leader to Emilio Jacinto, who is regarded as the "Brains of the Katipunan." They feature Bonifacio's official stationery with a letterhead that bears his battle name "Maypagasa" and his designation "P. ng K. Kapulungan" ("Pangulo ng Kataastaasang Kapulungan" or President of the Supreme Council). One of the letters, dated March 8, 1897, was written days before the Tejeros Convention—a revolutionary assembly held on March 22 that established a central revolutionary government and elected Aguinaldo (from the Magdalo faction) as president. According to gallery consultant Lisa Guerrero Nakpil, the brief note seemed to be a foreshadowing of the next violent events that unfolded in history. In it, "Bonifacio asks Jacinto to use the 'code of the second degree' if he has to write anything in confidence
In another letter, dated April 16, 1897, Bonifacio told Jacinto that the Tejeros Convention ended in chaos ("
The fourth document is a notice of appointment of Emilio Jacinto as commander of the army in the Northern District of Manila—"Pangulong Hukbo
These rare documents were originally bought by Epifanio de los Santos—a Tagalog
Sculptures from L to R: An unidentified apostle made of ivory and wood from the 18th century, Eduardo Castrillo's "The Bondage" (1992), and Daniel
dela Cruz's "Aegis" (2009)
Ramon Orlina's glass sculptures, a pair of
ramilletes from the second quarter of the 19th century, Benedicto Cabrera's brass sculpture, and a couple of rare books atop a mid-19th-century chest of drawers
José T. Joya's "Space Transfiguration" (1959)
Aside from the rare Bonifacio letters, also up for bidding are artworks by the country’s important artists. The most expensive, at P22 million, is José T. Joya’s 1959 work titled “Space Transfiguration.”
From L to R: An ivory crucifix from the 17th century, Hernando Ocampo's "Fertile Vallery" (1972), and Arturo Luz's "
From L to R: Ang Kiukok's "Fish" (1972), "Scream" (1984), and "Mother and Child" (1984)
Foreground from L to R: Arturo Luz's "Performers" (1990) and a pair of miniature sheep from the 17th or 18th century
Other million-peso pieces include: Fernando Amorsolo’s “Noonday Meal” from 1959 (P3.4 million); Mauro Malang Santos’ “Flower Vendor” from 1973 (P3 million); Ang Kiukok’s “Scream” from 1984 (P10 million); and Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s "
The Asian Cultural Council Art Auction 2018 is on March 3, 2 p.m. at León Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati. For more information, visit León Gallery's website.
This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.