BONIFACIO S. OCTAVO
Suspected Cavite Mutiny Leader
Bonifacio Octavo Y Samson was a Chinese mestizo. He was implicated by the Spanish
colonial authorities as one of the leaders of the Cavite Mutiny in 1872. He was a second sergeant of
the First Infantry Regiment in the fort of Cavite when he was tried for complicity in the rebellion.
The record of Octavo’s trial gives interesting details about the mutiny in January 1872. His
statement, although it sounds unbelievable, is important because he was a participant observer of
the event. It provides direct knowledge of the conspiracy angle of the revolt and how it was
Octavo testified that he deserted in the early afternoon of January 20 and sailed to Cavite
Viejo, and then proceeded to Imus. He went back to Cavite Viejo and sailed to Bataan, where he
took refuge in the mountains and barrios until his capture in the second week of September. The
Spanish military court tried him for 10 days. He confessed that in November or December 1871, a
marine infantry corporal, Pedro Manonson, showed him a paper exhorting all the native troops to
rebel against the Spaniards. He met a certain sergeant Madrid, a clerk in the Cavite arsenal, and
Vicente Generoso, Francisco Saldua, an unnamed artillery corporal, another corporal of the marine
infantry, a retired sergeant, and many more in Manonson’s house on the main street of Cavite in
the afternoon of October 1871. Generoso presented to the group a piece of paper which listed an
estimate of forces ready for the rebellion. Octavo said that Saldua told the group that the forces
were for Fathers Burgos, Gomes, Zamora, and Guevara and other leaders who would direct the
Octavo was sentenced to serve 10 years imprisonment in Cartagena, Spain. He was also
ordered chained for life.
The record of his trial has not given incontestable proofs of guilt. The verdict of the
Spanish military tribunals was not based on authentic proofs.
The documents about his life and service to the Spanish government have been made
Boncan, Celestina P. Remembering the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 Manila: Geronimo Berenguer de
Los Reyes, Jr. Foundation, Inc., 1995 A booklet, 14 pages.
Corpuz, O.D. The Roots of the Filipino Nation Volume 2. Quezon City: AKLAHI Foundation, Inc.,
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography Volume I. Quezon City: Filipiniana
Montero, Jose y Vidal, Historia General de Filipinas Volume 3. Madrid, 1895.
Roces, Alfredo ed. Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation Volume 7. Lahing Pilipino
Publishing, Inc., 1978.
Zaide, Gregorio F. Documentary Sources of Philippine History Volume 7. Manila: National
Bookstore, Inc., 1990