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Emilio Aguinaldo

"His Excellency"

"General of the Revolution"

Emilio Aguinaldo


1st President of the Philippines

President of the First Republic

President of the Supreme Government

President of Republic of Biak-na-Bato

Dictator of Dictatorial government

President of the Revolutionary Government

In office

January 23, 1899[a] April 1, 1901

Prime Minister Apolinario Mabini

(Jan 21 May 7, 1899)

Pedro Paterno

(7 May November 13, 1899)

Vice President Mariano Tras (1897)

Succeeded by Office nullified

Manuel Quezon

(As president of the Commonwealth)

Personal details

Born (1869-03-23)March 23, 1869

Cavite El Viejo, Spanish East Indies

Died February 6, 1964(1964-02-06) (aged 94)

Quezon City, Philippines

Resting place Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite, Philippines

Political party Katipunan

National Socialist Party

Spouse(s) Hilaria del Rosario (18961921)

Mara Agoncillo (19301963)

Children Carmen Aguinaldo Melencio

Emilio Aguinaldo, Jr

Maria Aguinaldo Poblete

Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay

Miguel Aguinaldo

Alma mater Colegio de San Juan de Letran

Profession Soldier, Manager, Teacher, Revolutionary

Religion Philippine Independent Church

formerly Roman Catholicism


Philippine Legion of Honor

Quezon Service Cross

Military service

Allegiance First Philippine Republic

Republic of Biak-na-Bato


Service/branch Philippine Revolutionary Army

Years of service 18941901

Rank Generalissimo

Battles/wars Philippine Revolution

SpanishAmerican War

PhilippineAmerican War

Emilio Famy Aguinaldo (March 23, 1869[d] February 6, 1964) is officially recognized as the First President of
the Philippines (18991901) and led Philippine forces first against Spain in the latter part of the Philippine
Revolution (18961897), and then in the SpanishAmerican War (1898), and finally against the United States
during the PhilippineAmerican War (18991901). He was captured by American forces in 1901, which
brought an end to his presidency.

In 1935 Aguinaldo ran unsuccessfully for president of the Philippine Commonwealth against Manuel Quezon.
After the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941, he cooperated with the new rulers, even making a radio
appeal for the surrender of the American and Filipino forces on Bataan. He was arrested as a collaborator after
the Americans returned but was later freed in a general amnesty.
Early life and career

Emilio Famy Aguinaldo was born on March 23, 1869 in Cavite el Viejo (present-day Kawit), in Cavite (province),
to Carlos Aguinaldo and Trinidad Famy, a Tagalog Chinese mestizo couple who had eight children, the seventh
of whom was Emilio. The Aguinaldo family was quite well-to-do, as his father, Carlos Aguinaldo was the
community's appointed gobernadorcillo (municipal governor) in the Spanish colonial administration. He
studied at Colegio de San Juan de Letran but wasn't able to finish his studies due to outbreak of cholera.

Emilio became the "Cabeza de Barangay" of Binakayan, a chief barrio of Cavite el Viejo, when he was only 17
years old to avoid conscription.

In 1895 the Maura Law that called for the reorganization of local governments was enacted. At the age of 25
Aguinaldo became Cavite Viejo's first "gobernadorcillo capitan municipal" (Municipal Governor-Captain) while
on a business trip in Mindoro.

Personal life

On January 1, 1896, he married Hilaria del Rosario (18771921). They had five children: Carmen Aguinaldo
Melencio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Jr, Maria Aguinaldo Poblete, Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay and Miguel Aguinaldo.
Hilaria died of leprosy on March 6, 1921 at the age of 44. Nine years later, on July 14, 1930, Aguinaldo married
Maria Agoncillo (February 15, 1879 May 29, 1963) at Barasoain Church. She died on May 29, 1963 at the age
of 82, a year before Aguinaldo himself.

Revolutionary and political career

Philippine Revolution

Main article: Philippine Revolution

The flag of the KatipunanIn 1894, Aguinaldo joined the "Katipunan", a secret organization led by Andrs
Bonifacio, dedicated to the expulsion of the Spanish and independence of the Philippines through armed
force. Aguinaldo used the nom de guerre Magdalo, in honor of Mary Magdalene. His local chapter of the
Katipunan, headed by his cousin Baldomero Aguinaldo, was called Sanguniang Magdalo.

On January 1, 1895, Aguinaldo became a Freemason, joining Pilar Lodge No. 203, Imus, Cavite by the
codename "Colon". He would later say:

"The Successful Revolution of 1896 was masonically inspired, masonically led, and masonically executed, and I
venture to say that the first Philippine Republic of which I was its humble President, was an achievement we
owe largely, to Masonry and the Masons.

The Katipunan-led Philippine Revolution against the Spanish began in the last week of August 1896 in San Juan
del Monte (now part of Metro Manila). However, Aguinaldo and other Cavite rebels initially refused to join in
the offensive alleging lack of arms. Their absence contributed to the defeat of Katipunan leader Andres
Bonifacio's there.[13] While Bonifacio and other rebels were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare, Aguinaldo
and the Cavite rebels won major victories in set-piece battles, temporarily driving the Spanish out of their

On February 17, 1897 Aguinaldo and a group of katipuneros defeated Spanish forces led by General Camilo de
Polavieja at the Battle of Zapote Bridge in Cavite. The province of Cavite gradually emerged as the Revolution's
hotbed, and the Aguinaldo-led katipuneros had a string of victories there.

Tejeros Convention and execution of Bonifacio

Main article: Tejeros Convention

Conflict between the two Katipunan factionsthe Magdalo and Magdiwangled to Bonifacio's intervention
in the province of Cavite. The Cavite rebels then made overtures about establishing a revolutionary
government in place of the Katipunan. Though Bonifacio already considered the Katipunan to be a
government, he acquiesced and presided over a convention held on March 22, 1897 in Tejeros, Cavite. There
the republic of the Philippines was proclaimed, with Aguinaldo being elected president. Bonifacio was elected
Director of the Interior but, after Daniel Tirona questioned his qualifications for that position, became angered
and declared "I, as chairman of this assembly, and as President of the Supreme Council of the Katipunan, as all
of you do not deny, declare this assembly dissolved, and I annul all that has been approved and resolved.

Bonifacio refused to recognize the revolutionary government headed by Aguinaldo and attempted to reassert
his authority, accusing the Aguinaldo faction of treason and by issuing orders contravening orders issued by
the Aguinaldo faction. At Aguinaldo's orders, Bonifacio and his brothers were arrested and, in a mock trial
lasting one day, convicted of treason, and sentenced to death. After some vacillation, Aguinaldo initially
commuted the death sentence. Andrs and Procopio were executed by firing squad on May 10, 1897 at Mount
Buntis, Maragondon, Cavite.

Biak-na-Bato and exile

Main articles: Republic of Biak-na-Bato and Pact of Biak-na-Bato

On the same day as the execution of the Bonifacio brothers, the Spanish army launched an attack which
forced insurgent forces under Aguinaldo into a general retreat. On June 24, 1897 Aguinaldo arrived at Biak-na-
Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan, and established a headquarters there, located in Biak-na-Bato National Park in
what is now known as Aguinaldo Cave. In late October 1897, Aguinaldo convened an assembly of generals at
Biak-na Bato, where it was decided to establish a constitutional republic. A constitution patterned closely after
the Cuban Constitution was drawn up by Isabelo Artacho and Felix Ferrer. The constitution provided for the
creation of a Supreme Council composed of a president, a vice president, a

Secretary of War, and a Secretary of the Treasury. Aguinaldo was named president.

Emilio Aguinaldo with the exiled revolutionaries in Hong Kong.From March 1897, Fernando Primo de Rivera,
1st Marquis of Estella, the Spanish Governor-General of the Philippines, had been encouraging prominent
Filipinos to contact Aguinaldo for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. On August 9, Manila lawyer Pedro
Paterno met with Aguinaldo at Biak-na-Bato with a proposal for peace based on reforms and amnesty. In
succeeding months, Paterno conducted shuttle diplomacy, acting as an intermediary between de Rivera and
Aguinaldo. On December 1415, 1897 Aguinaldo signed the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, under which Aguinaldo
effectively agreed to end hostilities and dissolve his government in exchange for amnesty and "$800,000
(Mexican)" (Aguinaldo's description of the amount) as an indemnity. The documents were signed on
December 1415, 1897. On December 23, Aguinaldo and other insurgent officials departed for Hong Kong to
enter voluntary exile. $400,000, representing the first installment of the indemnity, was deposited into Hong
Kong banks. While in exile, Aguinaldo reorganized his revolutionary government into the so-called "Hong Kong
Junta" and enlarging it into the "Supreme Council of the Nation".

Return to the Philippines and Philippine Declaration of Independence

Main article: Philippine Declaration of Independence

On April 25, the SpanishAmerican War began. While the war mostly focused on Cuba, the United States
Navy's Asiatic Squadron was in Hong Kong, and commanded by Commodore George Dewey, it sailed for the
Philippines. On May 1, 1898, in the Battle of Manila Bay, the squadron engaged and destroyed the Spanish
navy's Pacific Squadron and proceeded to blockade Manila. Several days later, Dewey agreed to transport
Aguinaldo from Hong Kong to the Philippines aboard the USS McCulloch, which left Hong Kong with Aguinaldo
on 16 May. arriving in Cavite on 19 May. Aguinaldo promptly resumed command of revolutionary forces and
besieged Manila.
On May 24, 1898 in Cavite, Aguinaldo issued a proclamation in which he assumed command of all Philippine
forces and established a dictatorial government with himself as dictator.

On June 12 Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain and on June 18, he issued
a decree formally establishing his dictatorial government.

On June 23, Aguinaldo issued a decree replacing his dictatorial government with a revolutionary government,
with himself as President.

First Philippine President

Main article: First Philippine Republic

Emilio Aguinaldo as a Field marshal during the battle.

Emilio Aguinaldo monument at Barasoain ChurchThe insurgent First Philippine Republic was formally
established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899 in Malolos, Bulacan and
endured until the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901 in Palanan, Isabela,
which effectively dissolved the First Republic. Aguinaldo appointed two Prime Ministers of the Philippines in
his tenure, Apolinario Mabini and Pedro Paterno. He had two cabinets in the year 1899. Thereafter, the
military situation resulted in his ruling by decree.

PhilippineAmerican War

Main article: PhilippineAmerican War

Aguinaldo boarding USS Vicksburg following his capture in 1901On August 12, 1898, American forces captured
Manila during the Battle of Manila and on August 14, 1898 established the United States Military Government
of the Philippine Islands, with Major General Wesley Merritt as the first American Military Governor. On the
night of February 4, 1899, a Filipino was shot by an American sentry. This incident is considered the beginning
of the PhilippineAmerican War, and precipitated the 1899 Battle of Manila between American and Filipino
forces. Superior American firepower drove Filipino troops away from the city, and Aguinaldo's government
had to move from one place to another as the military situation developed. Aguinaldo led resistance to the
Americans, then retreated to northern Luzon with the Americans on his trail.

On March 23, 1901, Aguinaldo was captured at his headquarters in Palanan, Isabela. On April 19, 1901,
Aguinaldo took an oath of allegiance to the United States, formally ending the First Republic and recognizing
the sovereignty of the United States over the Philippines. After Aguinaldo's surrender, some Filipino
commanders continued the revolution. On July 30, 1901 General Miguel Malvar issued a manifesto saying,
"Forward, without ever turning back... All wars of independence have been obliged to suffer terrible tests!"
General Malvar surrendered to U.S forces in Lipa, Batangas on April 16, 1902. The war was formally ended by a
unilateral proclamation of general amnesty by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt on July 4, 1902.


American era

Main article: History of the Philippines (18981946)

Aguinaldo and Quezon during Flag Day, 1935.During the American period, Aguinaldo supported groups that
advocated immediate independence and helped veterans of the struggle. He organized the Asociacin de los
Veteranos de la Revolucin (Association of Veterans of the Revolution), which worked to secure pensions for
its members and made arrangements for them to buy land on installment from the government.
The display of the Philippine flag was declared illegal by the Sedition Act of 1907. This law was repealed on
October 30, 1919. Following this, Aguinaldo transformed his home in Kawit into a monument to the flag, the
revolution and the Declaration of Independence. As of 2011, his home still stands and is known as the
Aguinaldo Shrine.

Aguinaldo retired from public life for many years. In 1935, when the Commonwealth of the Philippines was
established in preparation for Philippine independence, he ran for president in the Philippine presidential
election, 1935, but lost by a landslide to Manuel L. Quezon. The two men formally reconciled in 1941, when
President Quezon moved Flag Day to June 12, to commemorate the proclamation of Philippine independence.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, Aguinaldo cooperated with the
Japanese, making speeches, issuing articles and radio addresses in support of the Japanese including a radio
appeal to Gen. Douglas MacArthur on Corregidor to surrender in order to "spare the innocence of the Filipino
youth." He explained his action by saying, "I was just remembering the fight I led. We were outnumbered, too,
in constant retreat. I saw my own soldiers die without affecting future events. To me that seemed to be what
was happening on Bataan, and it seemed like a good thing to stop."[citation needed] After the combined
American and Filipino troops retook the Philippines, Aguinaldo was arrested along with several others accused
of collaboration with the Japanese, and jailed for some months in Bilibid prison. He was released by
presidential amnesty.

Aguinaldo was 77 when the United States Government recognized Philippine independence in the Treaty of
Manila, in accordance with the TydingsMcDuffie Act of 1934.

Post-American era

See also: History of the Philippines (19461965) and History of the Philippines (19651986)

In 1950, President Elpidio Quirino appointed Aguinaldo as a member of the Council of State, where he served
a full term. He returned to retirement soon after, dedicating his time and attention to veteran soldiers'
"interests and welfare". He was made an honorary Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, by the University of the
Philippines in 1953. In 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal changed the celebration of Independence Day
from July 4 to June 12. Although in poor health by this time, Aguinaldo attended that year's Independence Day

Death and legacy

Tomb of Aguinaldo in Kawit.

The Philippine 5 peso bill depicting Aguinaldo.Aguinaldo was rushed to Veterans Memorial Medical Center in
Quezon City on October 5, 1962 where he stayed there for 469 days until he died of coronary thrombosis at
age 94 on February 6, 1964. A year before his death, he donated his lot and mansion to the government. This
property now serves as a shrine to "perpetuate the spirit of the Revolution of 1896".

In 1964, his book was published entitled "Mga Gunita ng Himagsikan". A second publication was made in 1998
during the 100th year anniversary of Philippine Independence.

In 1985, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas issued a new 5-peso bill depicting a portrait of Aguinaldo on the front. The
back features the declaration of the Philippine independence on June 12, 1898. Printing was discontinued in
1995, when it was replaced with a 5.00 coin whose obverse features a portrait of Aguinaldo.