Francisco Soriano, Nicolas Jalandoni, Claudio Lopez, and Jose Ner.

When Otis received the petition of Iloilo foreign merchants on December 14, 1898 requesting protection, Otis summoned Jose Ner. In view of the petition, Otis asked Ner if the Visayan people are antagonistic towards the Americans. Ner replied that they are not angry with anybody, provided their liberty was not threatened. Otis said he will send a telegram to Washington consulting his government in the matter, and if he is ordered to occupy the Visayan islands he will again summon Sr. Ner.
1205 - Mabini to Aguinaldo, Dec 24 1898

On December 23, 1898, Otis summoned Ner again, and three others (Francisco Soriano, Nicolas Jalandoni, Claudio Lopez, and Jose Ner). He showed them Mckinley's order for him to send troops to Iloilo. The general requested them to intercede with the Visayan revolutionists in order to avoid any shedding of blood. He had reserved four state-rooms for them on USS Newport that is to leave soon together with the Iloilo Expedition. Otis awaited for their reply until 2 o'clock p.m. the next day.
1205 - Mabini to Aguinaldo, Dec 24 1898
1207 - Buencamino, Dec 25 1898

Otis, meanwhile, had a different version.

"In the foregoing instructions, mention is made of representative men of Iloilo ... whom General Miller was directed to take with him ... to assist in making the object of the United States known" -Otis
Otis on Four Commissioners

"The representative business men had come up from Iloilo a short time before for the purpose, as they asserted, of arranging matters with the Americans so that there might be a peaceful solution of affairs. They were introduced by some of the native citizens in whom confidence was placed, and expressed themselves as desirous of having the United States troops go to Iloilo, and to accompany them in order that they might prevail upon the people to receive them without opposition. These men were intelligent and apparently very much in earnest, and General Miller, who was present at the last conference, shared fully my opinion as to their honesty." -Otis
Otis on Four Commissioners

After the meeting with Otis, Ner requested Mabini's opinion, whether he (Ner) should go or not go with the Americans, and whether he should be or not be a mediator. As Aguinaldo was out of town and cannot be consulted, Mabini summoned the council of government. Present at the meeting were Sr. Trias, Alas, and Canon, the other secretaries being absent.
1205 - Mabini to Aguinaldo, Dec 24 1898

"It was subsequently ascertained that while temporarily sojourning in Manila one of these representative men quietly visited Malolos, and received Aguinaldo's orders, which he carried with him to his people." -Otis
Otis on Four Commissioners

Francisco Soriano, Nicolas Jalandoni, Claudio Lopez, and Jose Ner, made the trip to Iloilo with the Miller Expedition aboard USAT Newport.

"He (Miller) took them with him on his own transport and gave the best accommodations the vessel offered, free of charge." -Otis
Otis on Four Commissioners

they have already reserved for him four state-rooms on board of a man-of-war
1205 - Mabini to Aguinaldo, Dec 24 1898

"Upon arrival at Iloilo, he (Miller) sent them into the city to prepare the way for him and they were seen no more." -Otis
Otis on Four Commissioners

When Miller arrived in Iloilo on December 28, 1898, he wrote a letter to the Estado Federal de Bisayas, the purpose of which was to initiate communication with the Filipinos occupying Iloilo City. He mentioned the four Filipino commissioners who came with him aboard the USAT Newport (highlighted below):
Iloilo Harbor, P. I., December 28,1898.


The troops under my command appeared here under an order of the President of the United States of America promulgated by Major-General Otis, commanding all of the troops of the United States in the Philippine Islands.

It is accompanied by the United States naval ship Baltimore, sent by Admiral Dewey, commanding the United States squadron in these Asiatic waters.

When these orders were communicated to me it was supposed that the troops of Spain were still in possession at Iloilo, and that the transfer of possession and governmental authority would be by them to representatives of the Government of the United States, which has succeeded, by virtue of conquest supplemented by treaty stipulations, to all the rights heretofore exercised by Spain in these islands.

Upon arrival I find that the city of Iloilo is in the reported possession of native troops. The intention of this letter is to place myself in communication with those now exercising authority at Iloilo, with the view to the accomplishment of my mission to this place as above indicated.

This communication will be handed you by my aid, Lieut. M. K. Barroll, Third Artillery, who is accompanied by four gentlemen, former residents of Iloilo, who will make known to you more in detail the purpose of the presence of my command at this place.

There accompanies my command, on the steamship Union, certain Spanish soldiers, natives of the island of Panay, whom it is my purpose, at a later date, to release with the privilege of returning to their homes, an act which it is hoped will be interpreted as an evidence of the good will of the major-general commanding in the philippines, under whose orders i am acting.

I shall be pleased to receive a call from representatives of those to whom this communication is addressed on board the transport Newport at as early an hour as your convenience will allow.

Very respectfully,

Brigadier-General, U. S. V.,
Commanding First Separate Brigade, Eighth Army Corps.

Phelan's Report about his negotiation meeting with the Estado Federal de Bisayas on January 11, 1899 mentioned Francisco Soriano as one of the commssioners who went with them aboard the USAT Newport. (highlighted below)
Report of an Interview Between Lieutenant Henry Du R. Phelan, Acting Assistant Surgeon 6th Artillery, with the Government of the Federal State of Bisayas.

Iloilo, January 11, 1899.

At the meeting were present: President Roque Lopez and Generals Martin Delgado, Ananio Diocno, Pablo Araneta, chief of expeditionary forces from manila, and various other military chiefs; Lawyer Raymundo Melliza, Francisco Soriano, and others.

General Miller's letter was presented and handed over to the interpreter, and also the letter of Major General Otis which was given by General Miller to Lieutenant Woodward to be read before the meeting. Both these letters were then read and the discussion opened. Lawyer Raymundo Melliza did most of the talking on behalf of the government, and he said in effect, replying to General Miller's letter, that all that the Americans owned was Manila. I said: "without us you would not have accomplished any results. When the war commenced there was actually no rebellion in these islands, and you took advantage of our war and again rose in revolt. At the beginning of it your chiefs were not here, having fled the country." The president and the lawyer denied this, saying that their chiefs had gone abroad to purchase arms, and that although they were not in actual warfare, their government was still in existence, and in fact they had been in constant rebellion since 1896; since spain had never lived up to her agreement with Aguinaldo at the time of his withdrawal from the country. Referring to the sacrifices of lives and money which the United States had made in conquering this country, the lawyer said that they also had made great sacrifices in lives, and that they had a right to this country which they had fought for, and that we are here now to take from them what they had won by fighting; that they had been our allies, and we had used them as such; and that now- we are not showing them any gratitude for the help they gave us. I replied that we both worked together and had driven the Spanish out, and that they are now getting their liberty as a result. They felt hurt about the words "the sovereignty of Spain and of the United States," which appeared in our communications, and said it was simply changing from one to another, and, while they knew the spaniards, they did not know us. I told them that we are different from any European nation, and of an entirely different character from the Spaniards; that the people of Manila like us; that we spent a great deal of money in their city, and that business was thriving there as it had not been before.

Mr. melliza said it would take two years for them to know us, and meanwhile we would establish a military government here taking charge of all their offices. I replied that military occupation was a necessity for a time, and that it was customary to establish one in new possessions and that as soon as order was assured, it would be withdrawn. All that we wish now is to control the Custom House, the Post Office, the Captaincy of the Port, and to establish good order in tlie city. They smiled at this and remarked: "we have fought for independenee and feel that we have the power of governing and need no assistance; we are showing it now. yon might inquire of the foreigner's if it were not so." They inquired the meaning of the word "territory" as differing from state. I explained to them what a territorial and a state government was, and assured them that their liberty would be practically as great under such territorial or state government as if they were independent, and, moreover, that they would be free from any foreign interference. Mr. Melliza replied, smilingly; "since you say you are so friendly and wish to grant us so much liberty, why not have us a protectorate?" I told him that, I had no power to discuss that, that our order was to occupy all the islands. They stated that their orders were not to allow us to disembark, and that they were powerless to allow us to come in without express orders from their government. I asked them why they had not communicated with aguinaldo, adding that we had waited patiently for ten days for a reply. They said it was partly our fault, because they wanted us to give them a vessel to take their commission back to manila. I told them that we had no vessels to spare.

Mr. Francisco Soriano, one of the commissioners on the transport Newport with us, took the floor and said: "on Wednesday evening before Christmas General Otis promised the commission sent by him on the Newport that they should ask the North Americans for a steamer in case they would be unable to solve some urgent questions regarding the government of the bisayas, in order that they might consult the Central Goverment." This promise was made known to them, according to Francisco Soriano, by Mr. John Macleod on the morning of December 25, 1898.

I asked what proof he had to offer as I knew nothing of this promise. He replied that he had no written proof, us the promises were made verbally. I told him that the city was in our power, and that we could destroy it at any time, but we did not wish to commit a hostile act but wanted to land as friends. Lawyer Melliza replied that he cared nothing about the city, that we could destroy it if we wished, that it was not theirs as the foreigners owned about all the property. "we will withdraw to the mountains and repeat the north american indian warfare you must not forget that."

In regard to the claim that we made of the Philippine Islands by right of conquest and treaty stipulations, Lawyer Melliza said: "International Law forbids a nation to make a contract in regard to taking the liberty from its colonies. Iloilo was never surrendered to you, you have no right to it. It was ceded to us by General Rios, who, upon retiring, granted us our liberty and thus recognized our independence." I replied, that whatever agreement General Rios might have made with them at the time of bis withdrawal from Iloilo was illegal, as it was posterior to the Treaty of Paris. Lawyer Melliza replied, that they knew nothing of the Treaty of Paris, as they had not received any information concerning it, that they were bound by the central government of luzon only. I told them that their government was not recognized by any nation, that all the world was aware of the cession of the philippines to the united states by the treaty of paris. He replied that it mattered not as they now had agents in europe seeking recognition for their government. Upon inquiring when they had last heard of Aguinaldo, Lawyer Melliza replied that they had heard from him about January 5, 1899, via Capiz, that the message had been brought by General Ananio Diocno and General Pablo Araneta to the effect that Aguinaldo wanted the Visayas Government not to allow the landing of American forces until an agreement had been made with him.

They then requested once more that commissioners be sent to Malolos to obtain the orders of Aguinaldo, and desired them to be sent at once. I asked Lawyer Melliza if Aguinaldo said we could occupy the city, would they agree to it. He replied emphatically they would.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was said that, as this question involved the integrity of the entire republic, it could not be further discussed here, but must be referred to the Malolos Government.