RESPONSE OF EMILIO AGUINALDO TO
THE ALTERED VERSION OF THE BENEVOLENT PROCLAMATION PUBLISHED BY OTIS
The proclamation of Seņor E. S. Otis, Major General of the United
Volunteers, published in the papers of Manila, was presented to me. I do
most solemnly protest against all of the document and all the sentiments it
contains. I protest with all my soul, conscience and strength against the unjust
authority, which Major General Otis, as Military Governor, has assumed, in
relation to our politics.
General Otis, referring to his proclamation, has assumed the right to
direct affairs, and against that authority I energetically protest.
I do most solemnly affirm that in Singapore, Hong Kong or here I did
not enter into any compromising agreement with the Americans.
On the contrary, on the nineteenth of May, previous to the hostilities
with Spain, I was transported to an American ship of war and there assured
that the Americans did not desire the conquest of the Filipines, but would
guarantee us our liberty and independence. This I announced in my official
proclamation of twenty-fourth of May. On June 12th, when we raised for
the first time, in my native city of Cavite, our sacred flag, the national emblem
of noble inspirations, I told my people of the words which General Merrit,
in a manifesto, had stated, days before the Spanish General Jaudenes had
surrendered. He also assured me that the Filipine forces would have possession
of the city of Manila. General Otis has contradicted every promise given me,
for they have not been carried out.
Furthermore, the United States has recognized by its army and navy, the
beligerency of the Filipine forces. It is evident that primarily the United States
did not contemplate the annexation of this territory, for its sole representative
here was the same as other nations, i.e., consular representation.
In his proclamation, General Otis refers to the instructions deduced from
the message of the president of the United States, which pertained to the government
of the islands. I do solemnly protest against these instructions in the name
of God; in the name of reason and in the name of justice. That all my brothers
shall be protected, my conscience forces me to further protest against the
intrusion of the United States in the Filipines, and I equally protest in the name of
all my people against the policy of the United States. The people of the
Filipines have given me a vote of confidence and I will struggle for liberty and
independence until death.
And as a last protest against the encroachments of the Americans I call
up what has transpired in the past. My relations with the American authorities,
and what I was given to understand in Hong-kong to bear witness in our behalf.
I was given to understand that the year with Spain would redound to the benefit
of our liberty. Such was our verbal agreement.
And now, my dear brothers, you understand fully, all which passed in
regard to the declarations of America, and now it devolves upon us as our prime
duty to struggle with all strength for absolute independence and fulfillment of
our noble aspirations. The strength of convictions should carry us forward, until
when we return our path shall be that of glory.
Malolos, Jan. 5, 1899