THE BONIFACIO PRESIDENTIAL LETTERS RESOURCES
This page pertains to resources on the Bonifacio Letters put to auction last 3 March 2018 at the Leon Gallery. For more Bonifacio letters and documents, please visit Jim Richardson’s Katipunan site: http://www.kasaysayan-kkk.info/home
THIS IS THE FIRST SITE TO OFFER THE SCANS OF THE LETTERS IN THE POSSESSION OF EMMANUEL ENCARNACION BASED ON FACSIMILES IN THE BOOK “TRAGEDY OF THE REVOLUTION”
Introduction by Xiao Chua from “Walking History” column, Manila Times, 10 February 2018:
Bonifacio Presidential Letters: The most important historical collectibles
I WAS given a great opportunity to fulfill a long-time dream—to make the state documentary on the life of President Andres Bonifacio to be narrated by the iconic voice that inspired me to become a historian—Joonee Gamboa. On February 20, 2018, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and Red Root Artists and Artisans Cooperative will premiere “May pagasa: Ang Bantayog ni Andres Bonifacio” at the Museo ng Katipunan, Pinaglabanan, San Juan. The documentary will be made available to everyone for free via the NHCP YouTube.
The release of our documentary coincides with the announcement by Leon Gallery that they will be auctioning in five lots the Andres Bonifacio Presidential Letters from the Emmanuel Encarnacion Collection. The letters were used extensively in the Maypagasa documentary.
These four letters and an envelope bear the roundel escutcheon seal of Andres Bonifacio with the Baybayin “K” that emanates the light of freedom, like the sun with the words “Haring Bayang Katagalugan Kataas-taasang Kapulungan” (Sovereign Nation of the Tagalogs, Executive Cabinet) and his signature “Andres Bonifacio Maypagasa.” The different letters also tell us of his titles in the first national revolutionary government—P. (Pangulo) ng K. (Kataastaasan) Kapulungan (President of the Executive Cabinet), Ang K. (Kataastaasang) Plo. (Pangulo) (His Excellency, The President), and “Ang Plo. (Pangulo) ng H. B. (Haring Bayan) (The President of the Sovereign Nation). His appointment papers for Emilio Jacinto as General-in-Chief of the “Hilagaan” High Council of Manila dated April 15, 1897 is not just evidence of a Katipunan government which existed outside of Cavite at the time but also of the claim made by Andres Bonifacio that he founded the Katipunan. The letterhead reads “M. ANDRES BONIFACIO MAYPAGASA PANGULO NANG HARING BAYANG KATAGALUGAN, MAYTAYO NANG K. K. KATIPUNAN NANG MGA ANAK NANG BAYAN AT UNANG NAG GALAW NANG PANGHIHIMAGSIK.”
Aside from the envelope and the appointment papers, there were letters from Andres Bonifacio to Emilio Jacinto dated March 8, April 16 and April 24, 1897, written in the last weeks of his life where he related his feelings about the Cavite affair, which eventually led to his death. Each of the five items will be sold separately in an auction on March 3, 2018.
How did Emmanuel Encarnacion get the documents? Provenance shows that Epifanio de los Santos, the great historian, bought this from a relative of Emilio Jacinto. Even Gregoria de Jesus, the wife of Bonifacio, authenticated as being from husband the document, “Dekalogo ng Katipunan” that used to be with the letters. For 60 years, the family of De los Santos, including his son, Jose P. Santos, owned the documents and had photos of some of them published in different newspapers. Then they came into the possession of leading antique dealer Severina “Viring” de Asis, who legally sold two sets of the Jacinto and Bonifacio documents to Mariano Cacho (who got Bonifacio’s “Dekalogo,” “Acta de Tejeros” and a handwritten copy of the “Kartilya ng Katipunan”), and Emmanuel Encarnacion (who got the rest of the letters).
In fairness to collectors Cacho and Encarnacion, they made these documents available for free to researchers and allowed the publication of their contents and facsimiles to the general public for various uses, including children’s books on Bonifacio. These documents were used in the 1990s by Encarnacion, together with historians Milagros Guerrero and the late Ramon Villegas, to reconstruct the evidence that prove the existence of a national revolutionary government led by Andres Bonifacio, who rarely, if not never, signed himself as “Supremo.”
These documents, once doubted by Glenn May in his book Inventing a Hero: The Posthumous Re-Creation of Andres Bonifacio, is now verified as authentic by the documents in the recent book by Jim Richardson, The Light of Liberty, which sheds light on other Bonifacio papers at the Archivo General Militar de Madrid in Spain, bearing the same embellished handwriting, signature and seal.
Being just a few of the only ones that remain in the Philippines, the Bonifacio Presidential Letters is probably one of the—if not the—most important historical collectibles ever.
That said, I really wish that the government could afford to buy the documents to become part of the patrimony of the Filipino people. I am speculating that these were offered beforehand to government agencies. But since the documents were legally acquired, we hope that the ones who will eventually own these letters will not be foreigners, and that whoever will own them will decide to loan them to a museum. Because, as Encarnacion wrote, “This legacy is extremely important since it represents the birth of the Filipino nation, and our national heritage of the very first Filipino-run national government.”
For the words encoded in these relics—Haring Bayan—embodied our founding fathers’ imagination, when they first dreamed of a democratic nation—where the people have power.
The documents in jpeg pdf and word (transcription and English translation from Jim Richardson) format. For hi-resolution scans with all the documents please download from here),
8 March 1897 Andres Bonifacio to Emilio Jacinto
15 April 1897 Appointment paper of Emilio Jacinto from Andres Bonifacio
16 April 1897 Andres Bonifacio to Emilio Jacinto
24 April 1897 Andres Bonifacio to Emilio Jacinto
6 February 2018:
Tomorrow, Leon Gallery will announce in a press conference that they will put into auction for 5 lots the different letters by President Andres Bonifacio written in the last weeks of his life.
The Bonifacio Presidential Letters bearing the seal and signature of Bonifacio, where he related his feelings about the Cavite affair, was once owned by the historian Epifanio de los Santos and came to the possession of Emmanuel Encarnacion.
These documents, once doubted by Glenn May, is now verified as authentic by the documents in the recent book by Jim Richardson, The Light of Liberty, which sheds light to other Bonifacio papers in Spain which bears the same flourished handwriting, signature, and seal.
Being just a few of the only ones that remain in the Philippines, the Bonifacio Presidential Letters is probably one of the, if not, the most important historical collectible ever.
The auction will be on 3 March 2018.
3 March 2018:
Statement of the former custodian of the Bonifacio Presidential Letters Emmanuel Encarnacion on the auction of the papers today:
“Please tell them I am doing this as a SIGN OF PROTEST against people who think that government is a better custodian of National Treasures than many in the private sector.
“Government values restoration of churches & old buildings but does not give a damn of keeping Important National Treasures
“Yes. Now out of my hands. If FB people sincerely believe that government should have the Bonifacio Presidential Letters, they should bid on March 3 at Leon Gallery auction & have the privilige of donation.
“By selling the letters in the biggest auction house in town, President Andres Bonifacio will surely get his media mileage. Thank you everyone.”
THE WINNER OF THE AUCTION IS ANDRES BONIFACIO!
8 March 1897 letter of Bonifacio to Jacinto (Lot 128): Php 1.8 Million;
16 April 1897 letter of Bonifacio to Jacinto (Lot 129): Php 1.7 Million;
24 April 1897 letter of Bonifacio to Jacinto (Lot 130): Php 4.8 Million;
15 April 1897 appointment of Emilio Jacinto as Commander of the High Council of Hilagaan (Lot 131): Php 3.2 Million
Philatelic Envelope from President Bonifacio that once contained the appointment of Jacinto (Lot 132): Php 2.4 Million
Sa huli, bagama’t ang auction ay laro ng mga elit, nanalo pa rin si Andres Bonifacio. Bakit?
1. Dahil sa auction, dumaan sa maraming mata at eksperto ang mga sulat, ang halaga nito ay nagpakita lamang na authentic at hindi peke ang mga dokumentong Bonifacio tulad ng sinasabi ng isang historyador.
2. Nagkaroon ng kamalayan ang mga elit sa matagal nang alam ng marami sa bayan: ang katotohanang pinapakita ng mga liham: Na may pamahalaang mapanghimagsik si Bonifacio, ang Haring Bayang Katagalugan, na may sumusunod pa sa kanyang kapangyarihan sa hulig bahagi ng kanyang buhay at ang posisyon niya sa pamahalaan na ito ay Pangulo.
3. Bagama’t hindi matutumbasan ng salapi ang kabayanihan, ang mga auction ay isang masusukat na paraan upang malaman ang halaga ng isang personalidad sa pagkabili ng mga gamit na may kaugnayan sa kanya. Sa kabuuan Php 13.9 Million ang halaga ng lahat ng mga kagamitan. Mas mataas pa sa halaga ng sulat ni Rizal na isinubasta noong isang taon. Lumelevel si Bonifacio kay Rizal sa market value. Pagkilala ito maging ng kaelitan sa kadakilaan ni Bonifacio.
4. Sa huli, pinapahalagahan ko ang saloobin ng kaanak ni Andres Bonifacio na kasama ko kanina sa subasta, si Jojie Camacho. Ang mga sulat ay paalala pa rin sa malagim na sinapit ng Pangulong Andres. Ayon sa kanya: “Tandaan natin na yung mga sulat na yun ang huling tanikala sa buhay ni Lolo Andres. Parang nakawala si Lolo Andres sa auction na yan. After those letters pinatay siya. How happy I am nakawala na si Lolo Andres.”
Winner ka Pangulong Andres Bonifacio!!!
4 March 2018
ANG BONIFACIO LETTERS AT ANG MULTO NG PARISIAN LIFE
Bakit hindi binili ng pamahalaan ang#BonifacioPresidentialLetters. Hindi ko alam pero may nakikita akong isang multo marahil ay nasa kanilang isipan. Ang MULTO NG PARISIAN LIFE.
BAKIT??? Nang bilhin ng GSIS para maging asset nito sa halagang Php 46 Million ang painting ni Juan Luna noong 2002, ano ang sinabi niyo? “Bakit? Nakakain ba ang Juan Luna? Ano ba ang halaga niyan?” (Ang isang Jose Joya kahapon ay nabenta sa halagang Php 96 Million).
Isinakdal natin si Winston Garcia, kinuwestiyon ng COA ang pagbenta, tinawag siyang korap dahil sa isyu ng painting. Naabsuwelto rin siya sa mga asunto at naipagtanggol ang katuwiran ng pagbili ng GSIS sa painting ngunit matapos maipako sa krus dahil dito.
So ano ang nangyari? Sa maning pera para sa pamahalaan ang mga sulat ay hindi raw binili. Ito marahil ang espada ni Damocles na nakaamba sa sinumang bibili ng kasaysayan.
Kung NOON PA LAMANG NAAPRECIATE NA ANG GINAWA NG GSIS edi sana may sistema na kung paano bibilhin ang mga dokumento na iyan. Maaring may magcoordinate sa mga cultural agencies para maghanap ng pera sa mga GOCCs bilang bahagi ng kanilang Corporate Social Responsibility. Hindi itong nangangapa tayo ngayon kung paano hahabulin ang mga nakabili. Tapos na ang boksing. Tanggapin na natin.
PAHALAGAHAN ANG KULTURA AT KASAYSAYAN, HUWAG PANGHINAYANGAN ANG PERA NA INILALAGAY DITO AT SA MGA ALAGAD NITO.