‘Bonifacio would have condemned killings’

By Marc Jayson Cayabyab


Paolo Bonifacio, the fifth generation descendant of Andres Bonifacio, says the revolutionary leader would not have approved of drug killings under the Duterte administration. Marc Jayson Cayabyab               

MANILA, Philippines — For a 20-year-old fifth generation descendant of Andres Bonifacio, the hero who led the revolution against the country’s Spanish colonizers would not want to see Filipinos killing fellow Filipinos, as he condemned the violence now prevailing in the country.

Paolo Bonifacio, a public administration student at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, said while his great-great-grandfather espoused violent means to free the country from the shackles of a colonial ruler, the groups currently perpetrating violence are only dividing the country.

“Now the violence is coming from within – they may be groups, entities or government. That’s not what Bonifacio wanted. What Bonifacio wanted is a country that is united, one Filipino nation,” said Paolo, who was among the surviving kin who attended Bonifacio Day rites marking the 154th birthday of the father of the Philippine revolution at Monumento Circle, Caloocan City yesterday.

Asked what the youth can learn from Bonifacio’s history, Paolo said they only need to look around and see senseless violence undermining the revolutionary spirit of the Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan – KKK or Katipunan that Bonifacio headed as Supremo or supreme leader, an apparent swipe at the brutal war on drugs that has left thousands of suspects killed.

“Let us remember that Bonifacio fought for the country’s independence. Just take a look at our society now. Is our situation free? Is this what Bonifacio would have wanted – Filipinos killing fellow Filipinos?” Paolo asked.


Militant groups march from Liwasang Bonifacio to protest the possible formation of a revolutionary government. Miguel De Guzman, Michael Varcas

Bonifacio himself was killed at the hands of fellow Filipinos – he was hacked with a bolo by the men of then general Emilio Aguinaldo on a mountain in Maragondon, Cavite after being convicted of sedition and treason.

State funeral

The surviving kin of Bonifacio also took the opportunity yesterday to call for a state funeral for the revolutionary leader, whose alleged bones exhumed in Maragondon were lost in the Battle of Manila during World War II.

The bones exhumed from the mountain remain to be a bone of contention.

Jojie Camacho, a descendant of Bonifacio from mother Catalina’s lineage, said giving the hero a state funeral would put an end to the story of the revolutionary leader and not subject it to revisionism.

Bonifacio’s missing bones were once housed in the National Museum until these were destroyed during World War II.

Paolo said Bonifacio had not been given a state funeral for two reasons – the lack of political lobbying and public support.

“Our family has been fighting for a state funeral. We recognize his role in history, why should we not honor him?” he said.


Militant groups march from Liwasang Bonifacio to protest the possible formation of a revolutionary government. Miguel De Guzman, Michael Varcas

He said a state funeral would not only honor the hero’s role in history, but also lament the death of Bonifacio at the hands of his fellow Filipinos.

“It would be saddening to give honor to a hero who was killed by his fellow Filipinos,” Paolo said.

He said his family had long forgiven the surviving kin of the people behind Bonifacio’s execution, and a state funeral would give justice to the leader’s death.

“We want to give honor to Bonifacio because it is the only way to justify his death,” Paolo said.

Yesterday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero led the wreath laying and gun salute at the Bonifacio Monument, a 45-foot monument by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino depicting Bonifacio with a pistol and surrounded by Katipuneros and grieving women who suffered under colonial rule.

Vice President Leni Robredo also attended the commemoration in President Duterte’s stead.


Vice President Leni Robredo, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan attend rites at the Bonifacio Monument. Miguel De Guzman, Michael Varcas

In his speech, Lorenzana said Bonifacio may not have seen the Philippines’ independence from Spain before his death, but he gave the “revolutionary spark for the Filipino people.”

“May we draw inspiration from the Katipunan and the revolution that sparked hope in Filipinos,” he said.

The Katipunan’s Decalogue, which listed the duties of the country’s people as penned by Bonifacio, was also read during the commemoration.

Meanwhile, National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairman Rene Escalante said the monument of Bonifacio in West Rembo, Makati, which had been toppled down to give way to a road project, is now under the custody of the city government.

He said the monument, tied to a flag pole during the construction, would be returned to its “privileged position” once the road project is completed.

Francisco Camacho, who is related to Bonifacio through the latter’s mother’s side, said he hoped the youth could learn from the teachings of Bonifacio.

Bonifacio was known for his patriotic poem “Pagibig sa Tinubuang Lupa,” which spoke of love for country exceeding all other forms of love.

“Let us not forget his teachings. Those are what we can inherit from him,” he said.

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