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The Philippine Revolution
The Tejeros Assembly of 1897

I am taking the chair in this meeting to give you fullest opportunity to voice your views and then to vote what shall be done. But one restriction do I impose upon the freedom of your deliberations. It is that whatever the majority shall decide, that all present will loyally accept and steadfastly abide by.
    Andres Bonifacio

The First Meeting of Tejeros

On March 22, 1897, the Magdiwang and Magdalo councils met once more, this time at the friar estate house in Tejeros, a barrio of San Francisco de Malabon. This convention proved even stormier than the Imus meeting and, as in Imus, the declared objective of the meeting was not even discussed.

According to Jacinto Lumbreras, a Magdiwang and first presiding officer of the Tejeros convention, the meeting had been called to adopt measure for the defense of Cavite. Again this subject was not discussed, and instead, the assembled leaders, including the Magdiwangs, decided to elect the officers of the revolutionary government, thus unceremoniously discarding the Supreme Council of the Katipunan under whose standard the people had been fighting and would continue to fight.

Bonifacio presided, though reluctantly, over the election. Beforehand, he secured the unanimous pledge of the assembly to abide by the majority decision. The results were:

PresidentEmilio Aguinaldo
Vice-PresidentMariano Trias
Captain-GeneralArtemio Ricarte
Director of WarEmiliano Riego de Dios
Director of the InteriorAndres Bonifacio

Emilio Aguinaldo had been awarded the highest prize of the Revolution on his own birth anniversary, although he was not present, being busy at a military front in Pasong Santol, a barrio of Imus. As for Bonifacio, the death-blow to the Katipunan and his election as a mere Director of the Interior showed clearly that he had been maneuvered out of power. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow, especially since even the Magdiwangs who were supposed to be his supporters did not vote for him either for President or Vice-President.

But another insult was yet to follow. Evidently, the Caviteño elite could not accept an "uneducated" man, and a non-Caviteño at that, even for the minor post of Director of the Interior. Daniel Tirona protested Bonifacio's election saying that the post should not be occupied by a person without a lawyer's diploma. He suggested a Caviteño lawyer, Jose del Rosario for the position.

This was clearly an intended insult. It naturally infuriated Bonifacio who thereupon hotly 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."

The Philippines: A Past Revisited. Renato Constantino

The Second Meeting at Tejeros

Aguinaldo, who was at Pasong Santol, a barrio of Dasmariñas, was notified the following day of his election to the Presidency. At first, he refused to leave his men who were preparing to fight the enemy, but his elder brother, Crispulo Aguinaldo, persuaded him to take the oath of office, promising to take his place and would not allow the enemy to overrun the place without dying in its defense. Aguinaldo then acceded to his brother's request and proceeded to Santa Cruz del Malabon (now Tanza), where he and the others elected the previous day, with the exception of Bonifacio, took their oath of office.

Meanwhile, Bonifacio and his men, numbering forty-five, again met at the estate-house of Tejeros on March 23. All of them felt bad about the results of the previous day's proceedings, for they believed that anomalies were committed during the balloting. Convinced that the election held was invalid, they drew up a document, now called the Acta de Tejeros, in which they gave their reasons for not adopting the results of the convention held the previous day. From Tejeros, Bonifacio and his men proceeded to Naik in order to be as far as possible from Magdalo men who, they thought, were responsible for the commission of anomalies during the Tejeros election. Aguinaldo, wanting to bring back Bonifacio to the fold, sent a delegation to him to persuade him to cooperate with the newly constituted government. But Bonifacio refused to return to the revolutionary fold headed by Aguinaldo.

The Naik Military Agreement

Bonifacio's anger over what he considered an irregular election and the insult heaped on him by Daniel Tirona, a Magdalo, rankled for long. At Naik, they drew up another document in which they resolved to establish a government independent of, and separate from, that established at Tejeros. An army was to be organized "by persuasion or force" and a military commander of their own choice was to take command of it.

Among the forty-one men who signed it were Bonifacio, Artemio Ricarte, Pio del Pilar and Severino de las Alas. The document posed a potential danger to the cause of the Revolution, for it meant a definite split in the ranks of the revolutionists and an almost certain defeat in the face of a united and well-armed enemy.

History of the Filipino People. Teodoro A. Agoncillo
Historical Note:
General Crispulo Aguinaldo kept his word that the Spaniards could only take Pasong Santol over his dead body. The Spaniards captured Pasong Santol on March 24, 1987.

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