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Tejeros Convention

The Tejeros Convention (alternate names include Tejeros


Assembly and Tejeros Congress) was the meeting held on March 22, 1897
between the Magdiwang and Magdalo factions of the Katipunan at San
Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias, but the site is now
at Rosario), Cavite. These are the first presidential and vice presidential
elections in Philippine history, although only the Katipuneros (members of
the Katipunan) were able to take part, and not the general populace.

The two rival factions of the Katipunan, started out as mere sangguniang
balangay (councils). Andres Bonifacio presided over the founding of both. The
Magdiwang was formed in Noveleta, Cavite on April 2, 1896; the Magdalo, in
Kawit, Cavite, on April 3, 1896. Due to their rapid growth in membership, the
two branches were elevated by the Kataastaasang Sanggunian (Katipunan
Supreme Council) to the status of sangguniang bayan (provincial councils),
after which the two groups were authorized to form balangays under them and
to expand their influence. The rift between the two groups grew when Spanish
forces assailed Cavite in the latter part of 1896; the rift grew further after the
liberation of Cavite. The two factions began their own regional government
with separate leaderships, military units, and “mutually agreed territories.”
The rivalry was limited to the province of Cavite and some parts of Batangas
because these areas were already liberated and thus revolutionists could freely
move and convene. The rift never culminated into violence. At times, the two
groups were cordial and fought side by side against their common foe, the
Spaniards.

On March 22, 1897, two rival factions of the Katipunan, the Magdiwang and
the Magdalo, met at the administration building of the friar estate in Tejeros,
San Francisco de Malabon in Cavite. The meeting on March 22 had clear
objectives, according to the memoirists Artemio Ricarte and Santiago Alvarez:
the planned defense of the liberated territory of Cavite against the Spanish,
and the election of a revolutionary government. The meeting was first presided
over by Jacinto Lumbreras, a member of the Magdiwang faction, who would
later yield the chair to Bonifacio when it came time to address the
reorganization of the revolutionary government. The Katipunan was a
well-organized revolutionary movement with its own structure and officers. It
had an established system that included provincial units. But during the Imus
assembly of December 31, 1896, proposals to either transform and revise the
organization of the Katipunan or replace it with a revolutionary government
organization fomented.
Only three months since the Imus assembly had convened, Bonifacio once
again took his place as presiding officer for the same purpose of assessing the
kind of governing structure the Katipunan needed in order to best fulfill its
goals. In Imus, no resolution was made despite an attempt to determine what
the revolutionary government would be. The convention in Tejeros, on the
other hand, successfully organized an assembly of predominantly Magdiwang
members to elect leaders for the revolutionary government. While no one
knows the total number of delegates present in the historic event, 26 names
were recorded, 17 of whom were from Magdiwang (according to Santiago
Alvarez),and 9 from Magdalo (according to Emilio Aguinaldo and Carlos
Ronquillo). Ronquillo also noted that many unnamed participants were in the
upstairs area of the estate house “filled to capacity.” Some of the present were
also from parts of Batangas and some provinces to the north. Hence it is
difficult to determine the exact number of voters present then.

According to historian Jim Richardson, a substantial number of delegates


present, though affiliated with Magdiwang, could be more accurately be tagged
as “independents” who did not necessarily support Bonifacio. This brings in
new factors to the election that took place. Records only mention those who
won, but not the number of votes.

The election results were as follows:

Position Winner Affiliation Other Contenders


Mariano Trias (independent)
Emilio
President Magdalo
Aguinaldo
Andres Bonifacio (Magdiwang ally)
Andres Bonifacio (Magdiwang ally)
Vice Mariano
Independent Severino de las Alas (independent)
President Trias
Mariano Alvarez (Magdiwang)
Captain Artemio
Independent Santiago Alvarez (Magdiwang)
General Ricarte
Ariston Villanueva (Magdiwang)
Emiliano
Director of
Riego de Independent Daniel Tirona (Magdalo)
War
Dios
Santiago Alvarez (Magdiwang)
Mariano Alvarez (Magdiwang)
Director of Andres Magdiwang
Interior Bonifacio ally
Pascual Alvarez (independent)

Here is the list of the members of the Kataastaasang Sanggunian or Supreme


Council in the Katipunan prior to the election at Tejeros. The Council was
composed of the four most important positions into the Katipunan
office—the pangulo, the kalihim, the tagausig, and the tagaingat-yaman:
Name Position Term
Andres Bonifacio President (Pangulo) 1895-1896
Fiscal (Tagausig),
Secretary
Emilio Jacinto 1894-1895
(Kataastaasang
Kalihim)
Pio Valenzuela Fiscal (Tagausig) 1895
Treasurer
Vicente Molina 1893-1896
(Tagaingat-yaman)

Mariano Alvarez, in a letter to his uncle-in-law, noted that fraudulence marred


the voting process in Tejeros:

[…] Before the election began, I discovered the underhand work


of some of the Imus crowd who had quietly spread the
statement that it was not advisable that they be governed by
men from other pueblos, and that they should for this reason
strive to elect Captain Emilio as President.

These events were greatly upstaged, in memory at least, by the ensuing tiff that
occurred between Andres Bonifacio and Daniel Tirona.

The latter raised provocations when he insinuated that Bonifacio was unfit to
take on his position owing to a lack of credentials. Tirona loudly called for the
election of one Jose del Rosario, a lawyer. The proverbial salt had been rubbed
against the wound—what vexed Bonifacio most was not so much the attack on
his credentials but rather the lack of due process. He had, after all, reminded
the assembly gathered at Tejeros that the will of the majority—however
divergent from each individual’s, must be respected at all costs.

Bonifacio’s resolve would, a day later, become manifested in a document called


the Acta de Tejeros, which proclaimed the events at the assembly to be
disorderly and tarnished by chicanery. Signatories to this petition rejected the
republic instituted at Tejeros and affirmed their steadfast devotion to the
Katipunan’s ideals. This declaration and the intention of starting a government
anew would later cost Bonifacio his life. He would be tried for treason by a
kangaroo court and sentenced to death at Maragondon, Cavite on May 10,
1897.

Contentious as the events surrounding Tejeros are, both in intention and


outcome, it was undoubtedly a pivotal moment in Philippine revolutionary
history. A school of thought argues that the assembly at Tejeros exposed how
the Caviteño elite had besieged the revolt of the masses. Another perspective
offers the shift from a revolution of mystical and masonically organized aims to
one adhering to 18th and 19th century rationalist and deist lines, imbued with
the characteristics of principalia used to command.
The first page of the “Acta de Tejeros,” signed by Andres Bonifacio and
leaders of the KKK’s Magdiwang council on March 23, 1897, which
proclaimed that the convention held at Tejeros the previous day had been
so disorderly, so tarnished by skullduggery, that its decisions were
illegitimate and invalid. Image courtesy of Carlos Ronquillo, Ilang
talata tungkol sa paghihimagsik nang 1896-1897, edited by Isagani R.
Medina (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1996), 98.

Contentious as the events surrounding Tejeros are, both in intention and


outcome, it was undoubtedly a pivotal moment in Philippine revolutionary
history. The first school of thought argues that apart from organizational
structure and personality politics, Tejeros would betray the realignment in the
leadership and goals of the revolution. The assembly at Tejeros exposed how
the Caviteño elite had besieged the revolt of the masses. Another perspective
offers the shift from a revolution of mystical and masonically-organized aims
to one adhering to 18th and 19th century rationalist and deist lines, imbued
with the characteristics of principalia used to command.

Primary and Secondary Sources of Terejos Convention

SANTIAGO ALVEZ
BORN: July 25, 1872–
WHERE:Cavite, Philippines–
DIED: October 30, 1930–
WHERE: San Pablo, Laguna, Philippines–He was 58 years old when he
died,
he died of paralysis in Manila City and was buried at the North cemetery.–
Was a son of the revolutionary leader Mariano Alvarez.–He became
Captain General of the Magdiwang forces and fought with distinction
against Spain in the battles of 1896-1807–
He was a revolutionary general a founder and
honorary president of the first directorate of the Nationalista Party also
known as “KIDLAT NG APOY” (LIGHTING OF FIRE).
–He was rejoiced in the present-day Cavite City as the “Hero” of
the Battle of Dalahican.–
He was a member of the Katipunan Secret Society.
Teodoro A. Agoncillo

Born
in Lemery, Batangas, Philippines

November 10, 1912

Died
January 14, 1985

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Teodoro A. Agoncillo (November 9, 1912 – January 14, 1985) was one of the pre-eminent
Filipino historians of the 20th century. He and his contemporary Renato Constantino
were among the first Filipino historians who earned renown for promoting a distinctly
nationalist point of view of Filipino history (nationalist historiography). He was also an
essayist and a poet.

Life

Born in Lemery, Batangas, Agoncillio obtained a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the
University of the Philippines in 1934 and a master's degree in the arts from the same
university the following year. He earned his living as a linguistic assistant at the Institute
of National Language and as an instructor at the Far Eastern University and the Manuel L.
Quezon University. In 1956, he published his seminal work, Revolt of the Masses: The
Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan, a history of the 1896 Katipunan-led revolt against
Spanish rule and its leader, Andres Bonifacio. He garnered acclaim for this book, as well
as criticisms from more conservative historians discomforted by the work's nationalist,
perhaps even Marxist bent.

In 1958, Agoncillo was invited to join the faculty of the Department of History of his alma
mater, the University of the Philippines. He remained with the university until his
retirement in 1977, chairing the Department of History from 1963 to 1969. Philippine
President Diosdado Macapagal named Agoncillo as a member of the National Historical
Institute in 1963. He served in this capacity until his death in 1985.

Agoncillo's History of the Filipino People, first published in 1960, remains a popular
standard textbook in many Filipino universities, as are many of Agoncillo's other works.
This is despite Agoncillo's controversial tone and for his perceived leftist bent. Gregorio
Zaide, Teodoro Agoncillo, Reynaldo Ileto and Renato Constantino stand as the most
prominent 20th century Filipino historians to emerge during the post-war period. It must
be noted however, that Agoncillo's works suffer from uneven scholarship throughout,
especially with his use (or especially, non-use) of reliable historical sources

 Agoncillo, Teodoro A., History of the Filipino People. Quezon City:
Garotech Publishing, 1990.
 Agoncillo, Teodoro A. The Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio
and the Katipunan. Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 1956.
 Kalaw, Teodoro M. The Philippine Revolution. Rizal: Jorge B. Vargas
Filipiniana Foundation, 1969.
 Ricarte, Artemio. Memoirs of General Artemio Ricarte. Manila:
National Heroes Commission, 1963.

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