Bonifacio: The First President

This historical film emphasizes on the life of a revolutionary leader/first president here in the Philippines. The scene opens with the execution of the three priests namely Father Gomez, Father Burgos and Father Zamora (or otherwise known as GomBurZa) which Andres Bonifacio had witnessed. This took place in the year of 1872, February 17 at Luneta Park, Bagumbayan where these three priests were executed through garrote (a form of capital punishment by which a condemned person is strangled to death with an iron collar.)

The oppression and unequal treatment of the Spanish government towards the poor people provoked Andres Bonifacio to form an organization called K.K.K. (stands for Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng Anak Ng Bayan or ‘Katipunan’ for short) and started an uprising against the injustice brought upon the Filipino citizens , even the poor. Seeking for independence, Andres Bonifacio, founded this secret organization for his fellow citizens to join through the use of flyers or newspapers. Members of the secret organization increased from less than 300 to 30,000 in the month of January 1896 and 40,000 by August 1896.

Their secret organization did not last for long as the Spanish authorities found out about its existence and decided to start a manhunt. Hearing about this, Andres Bonifacio called up thousands of his fellow Katipunan members for a meeting or mass gathering in Caloocan where they tore up their cedulas  or community tax certificates. Meetings were often held in the place of Cavite, making the city become the “Heartland of the Philippine Revolution”.

The Katipuneros led an attack against the Spanish soldiers at night. But due to the lack of weapons, they were somewhat defeated and members were killed off. During the Tejeros Convention in Cavite, a fight ensued between Andres Bonifacio and Daniel Tirona (a Magdalo leader) in which Bonifacio almost shot the latter , being provoked by the response and insults hurled upon the revolutionary leader/chief of rebellion, stating that Bonifacio is an uneducated person and undeserving to be called a Supreme President.

Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio were later arrested for treason against the government of President Emilio Aguinaldo, as well as for the conspiracy to kill the latter. They were  found guilty despite of insufficient evidence and deported on May 8, 1897 upon Aguinaldo’s order. Procopio was shot dead while Bonifacio was stabbed. His close associates later on rose up and took his place in continuing the Katipunan organization.

Notes about the movie:

*Throughout the film, I was really amazed at how the actor Robin Padilla gave justice to Andres Bonifacio’s character. He portrayed the role as a Philippine Nationalist and revolutionary leader very well. This film was really superb.

*The question on whom should really be called a Philippine national hero still remains unanswered. In my point of view, both of them really deserved to be called a hero since they died for their own country and beliefs. They sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country’s freedom and independence from the Spanish government. Jose Rizal fought against the Spanish government with his two novels as his weapons whereas Andres Bonifacio fought by leading the rebellion or uprising.

*If Andres Bonifacio didn’t lead or start a Philippine Revolution nor had Jose Rizal written his two novels which spoke of the cruelty of the Spanish government, Philippines would have never been free and would still be colonized until now.

*Red flags were used as a sign of revolt or uprising. Theme was centralized on fighting for freedom.

*The principle of liberty, equality and fraternity was followed by the Katipunan members upon forming  their ranks in the revolutionary government.

*”I sacrificed my life for the country’s freedom. You? What can you do for your country?” – Andres Bonifacio. This quote is an eye-opener to many Filipno citizens, especially for today’s generations. What are we willing to sacrifice for our country?