BALDOMERO B. AGUINALDO
Secretary of War
Patriot and great revolutionary leader, General Baldomero Aguinaldo y Baloy was born on February 27, 1869 in Binakayan, El Viejo (now Kawit), Cavite. The fourth of eight children of Don Cipriano Aguinaldo and Doña Silveria Baloy, both natives of Kawit.
He acquired his early education in his hometown. A few years later, he attended a private school owned by Sr. Jose Basa y Enriquez in San Roque, Cavite. There he took up his secondary course (segunda ensenanza). He later went to Manila and enrolled at the Ateneo de Municipal. Subsequently, he transferred to the University of Santo Tomas to take up law. He was still law student when the Philippine Revolution broke out. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree but failed to take the bar examinations. Unable to practice law, he engaged in farming instead.
Before the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution in August 1896, “Capitan Berong” as he was known, successively held a number of offices: as town executive (directorcillo), as register of deeds (registrador de titulos) and finally as justice of the peace in Kawit.
It was in 1896 when he was still the Justice of Peace of Kawit when he joined the Freemasonry.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Revolution he organized, together with his first cousin Emilio and the Tirona brothers, Candido and Daniel, the Magdalo faction of the Katipunan in Kawit. Capitan Berong became the president of the Council.
During the early days of the hostilities, he always stayed by General Emilio Aguinaldo’s side. As a general, he figured in the bloody battles at Binakayan, Dalahican and Noveleta on November 9-10, 1896; in Zapote on February 17, 1897; in Salitran on March 7 of the same year; and in Alapan, Imus on May 28, 1898. It was in the battle of Alapan that the reorganized Filipino revolutionary troops led by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo won their first victory. It was also in Alapan that the first recorded hoisting of the Filipino flag was made.
His knowledge of law and administrative procedures made him very valuable to the revolutionary government. In view of his qualifications, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo appointed him to various cabinet positions.
At the assembly of revolutionary leaders held in Naic, Cavite in April 1897, Baldomero was appointed Director of Finance. He retained this position even after a cabinet reshuffle in November of the same year.
As a member of the revolutionary cabinet, he was one of the signers of two historic documents: the Biak-na-Bato Constitution, on November 1, 1897, and the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, on December 14-15 of the same year. He also helped draft this Constitution and served as Secretary of the Treasury of the Biak-na-Bato Republic. Together with some members of the cabinet, he accompanied General Emilio Aguinaldo to Hong Kong, as a voluntary exile, on December 27, 1897.
In July 15,1898, in the Cabinet formed in Bacoor, Cavite, Baldomero was appointed Secretary of War and Public Works. He also served in the same year capacity under the Mabini Cabinet which lasted from January 2 to May 7,1899.
He served as Judge Advocate General (Auditor de Guerra) in the court-martial of the Bonifacio brothers Andres, Ciriaco and Procorpio. He reviewed the decision of the Council of War headed by General Mariano Noriel and forthwith transmitted the papers including his recommendation to General Emilio Aguinaldo on May 8,1897.
During the Filipino-American War, Baldomero fought anew. He was made the commanding general of the revolutionary forces in the Southern Luzon provinces. When General Emilio Aguinaldo had established his headquarters in Palanan, Isabela, he issued an order to Baldomero to relieve Colonel Lazaro Makapagal who was then in command of the province of Isabela.
After the cessation of hostilities, the general retired to private life and devoted his time to farm work, particularly the supervision of his coconut plantation in Silang, Cavite which he acquired years after his marriage.
In his residence in Silang friends and the townspeople asking for advice and in some instances, recommendations for those seeking employment, frequently visited him.
When the Association of the Veterans of the Philippine Revolution (Asociacion de Veteranos de la Revolucion) was organized in 1912, Baldomero became its first president and remained so until his death on February 4, 1915.
He died in Malate, Manila at the age of 46, a victim of heart failure and rheumatism. His remains were buried at the Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Philippine Revolution at the Manila North Cemetery. A big crowd that included high government officials attended his funeral.
“The Consolidacion Nacional heeded the Philippine Assembly in closing its session without even adopting a resolution of regret on the death of Baldomero Aguinaldo.
At the time of his death, Baldomero was survived by his widow Doña Petrona Reyes and their two children, Leonor and Aureliano, married to Dr. Enrique Virata and Liwanag Virata respectively.
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s Who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.
Villaroel, Hector K. Eminent Filipinos. Quezon City: Textbook Publisher, 1965.