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At a glance:
- Claim: Andres Bonifacio was not a rebel against the government.
- Rating: FALSE
- The facts: Bonifacio led the Katipunan and fought against Spanish forces commanded by the government at that time. Multiple sources regard Bonifacio and the Katipuneros as “rebels” who engaged in acts of “rebellion.”
- Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in two Facebook posts on November 30, Bonifacio Day. As of writing, the posts had a combined 3,579 reactions, 249 comments, and 1,026 shares.
Posts by Facebook pages “Mahárlika” and “Pilipino” on November 30, Bonifacio Day, falsely claimed that Andres Bonifacio was not a rebel against the government.
The pages posted a photo with the claim: “HINDI komunista si #AndresBonifacio. Siya po ay isang Patriotiko. Isang makabayang Pilipino pero hindi rebelde sa gobyerno.” (#AndresBonifacio is NOT a communist. He is a patriot. A Patriotic Filipino but not a rebel against the government.)
The claim that Bonifacio is not a rebel against the government is false.
Bonifacio was one of the founders of the Katipunan or the Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK). Along with moral and civic objectives, the political objective of the Katipunan was to attain separation of the Philippines from the colonizer Spain.
The Katipunan believed that the way to accomplish their political objective was through armed struggle, which they carried out during the Philippine Revolution. Such aims and means, as well as the Katipuneros’ subsequent actions, would be in line with conventional applicable definitions of rebellion.
Merriam-Webster defines rebellion as “opposition to one in authority or dominance” and/or an “open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government.” Cambridge English Dictionary also defines rebellion as a “violent action organized by a group of people who are trying to change the political system in their country.”
Multiple Philippine history texts, as well as contemporary public writings about history, also refer to the Katipuneros as rebels and to their military campaigns during the Philippine Revolution as acts of rebellion against the ruling Spanish government.
From the book History of the Filipino People, referring to some events leading to the Cry of Pugadlawin, Filipino historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo said: “In the afternoon of the same day [August 21] the rebels, numbering about 500, left Balintawak for Kangkong, where Apolonio Samson, a Katipunero, gave them food and shelter. In the afternoon of August 22, they proceeded to Pugadlawin.”
Historian Renato Constantino also talked about Bonifacio and the battle of San Mateo and Montalban in his book, A History of the Philippines: From the Spanish Colonization to the Second World War: “The Spaniards retreated, leaving the rebels in control of the town. But they successfully counter-attacked a few days later. Bonifacio and his men retreated to Balara.”
In the book Historical Dictionary of the Philippines, historian Artemio R. Guillermo also described the Katipunan as “a secret revolutionary society” with the main purpose of driving away Spanish colonizers from the Philippines. “Bonifacio assembled a military force at Balintawak on August 23, 1896, told his men to tear up their cedulas (poll tax), the symbols of Spanish tyranny, and declared the start of the rebellion,” Guillermo wrote.
There are also a number of online sources that mention Bonifacio as a rebel, the Katipunan as rebels, or their acts as acts of rebellion. These include the essay “In Focus: Balintawak: The Cry for a Nationwide Revolution” on the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA) website, the essay “Bonifacio’s Faith” on the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) website, and some columns by historian Ambeth Ocampo on Inquirer.net.
The posts by pages “Máharlika” and “Pilipino” had a combined 3,579 reactions, 249 comments, and 1,026 shares on Facebook as of writing. It was also shared in the Facebook group “DUTERTE NATION” on December 1, which as of writing had 373 reactions, 70 comments, and 91 shares. The posts were spotted through social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.
The Facebook posts also contained a claim about Emilio Aguinaldo, which said that he sold the “Mother Land Title of the Philippines” to the Americans. Rappler previously fact-checked a post containing a similar claim about a purported land title of the entire Philippine archipelago. – Percival Bueser/Rappler.com
This article was written by a volunteer of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program, a 5-week exclusive and hands-on training on detecting, investigating, and verifying online misinformation and disinformation.
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