Pedro Paterno

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Pedro Paterno
Pedro Alejandro Paterno.jpg
2nd Prime Minister of the Philippines
In office
May 7, 1899 – November 13, 1899
President Emilio Aguinaldo
Deputy Trinidad Pardo de Tavera
Preceded by Apolinario Mabini
Succeeded by Jorge B. Vargas
(Ministries involved)
Position abolished
(Position next held by Ferdinand Marcos)
Member of the Philippine Assembly from Laguna's First District
In office
October 16, 1907 – May 20, 1909
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Potenciano Malvar
Personal details
Born Pedro Alejandro Paterno y de Vera Ignacio
(1857-02-17)February 17, 1857
Manila, Philippines
Died April 26, 1911(1911-04-26) (aged 54)
Manila, Philippines
Alma mater Ateneo de Manila University
Profession Poet
Novelist

Pedro Alejandro Paterno y de Vera Ignacio,[1] also spelled Pedro Alejandro Paterno y Debera Ignacio (born on February 17, 1857 - died on April 26, 1911; in some references the birth date is February 27, 1858 while the death date is March 11, 1911)[2] was a Filipino politician who has been called "the greatest turncoat in Philippine history."[3] He was also a poet and novelist.[4]'

His intervention on behalf of the Spanish led to the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato on December 14, 1897, an account of which he published in 1910. Among his other works include the first novel written by a native Filipino, Ninay (1885), and the first Filipino collection of poems in Spanish, Sampaguitas y otras poesías varias (Jasmines and Other Poems), published in Madrid in 1880.[3]

Early life[edit]

Pedro Paterno was born on the 17th of February, 1857. He was one of 13 children of wealthy spouses Don Maximo Paterno and Dona Carmen de Vera Ignacio. Maximo was exiled to Guam for ten years following the 1872 Cavite mutiny, and died on 26 July 1900, leaving behind considerable wealth.[5]:411-412

Pedro finished Bachiller en Artes in Ateneo de Manila and gained fame with his conclusion. At the age of 14, he was sent to Spain for his education, where he spent the next 11 years, continuing his studies at University of Salamanca and then that of Madrid.[5]:412 At Salamanca he took courses in Philosophy and Theology, while at the Central University of Madrid, in 1880, he graduated with an expertise in law. In 1893, he was awarded the Order of Isabella the Catholic.[5]:412

He is called the mediator of the Spaniards and Filipinos to achieve peace deal with the Spaniards. According to him, because Spanish is less than a hundred people with incoherence in the Philippines. But is firmly opposed by the people because they want to fight for true freedom of the Philippines.

Biak-na-Bato[edit]

At the trial of José Rizal in 1896, it was suggested that Paterno, along with Rizal, had incited the Katipunan because they had both written about the ancient Tagalog civilization. As evidence for their complicity, the Spanish prosecution cited Paterno's earlier work "Antigua Civilización" as promoting ideas which had "consequences both erroneous and injurious to Spanish sovereignty." Nobody moved against Paterno, however, because he was close to a significant number of Spanish officials - both military and civilian - who could vouch for him. Thus, Paterno, like many others of the Manila elite, distanced himself from the events of the Katipunan revolution.[4]

In 1897 the Philippine revolutionary forces led by Emilio Aguinaldo had been driven out of Cavite and retreated northwards from town to town until they finally settled in Biak-na-Bato, in the town of San Miguel de Mayumo in Bulacan. Here, they established what became known as the Republic of Biak-na-Bato.[6]

In late July, 1897, Paterno voluntarily presented himself to Governor General Fernando Primo de Rivera, whom he had known while living in Spain, and offered his services as a mediator.[4]

Because many highly placed Spaniards of the time thought Paterno held great sway over the natives, Primo de Rivera accepted Paterno's offer. He called for a truce, explaining his decision to the Cortes Generales: "I can take Biak-na-Bato, any military man can take it, but I can not answer that I could crush the rebellion."[6]

Paterno left Manila on August 4, 1897 and found Aguinaldo five days later. This began a three-month-long series of talks which saw Paterno constantly shuffling between Manila, Biyak-na-bato, and some areas in Southern Luzon where a number of revolutionary chiefs held sway. During the negotiations, Paterno's wife Luisa died on November 27, 1897.[4]

In ceremonies on December 14–15 that year, Aguinaldo signed the Pact of Biak-na-bato. He proclaimed the official end of the Philippine revolution on Christmas Day, and on left for Hong Kong via the port of Dagupan on December 27.[6]

He returned to Manila on January 11 amidst great celebration, but was spurned by Primo de Rivera and other authorities when he asked to be recompensed by being granted a dukedom, a seat on the Spanish Senate, and payment for his services in Mexican Dollars.[4]

The Filipino negotiators for the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. Seated from left to right: Paterno and Emilio Aguinaldo with five companions

Prime minister[edit]

Pedro was elected President of the Malolos Congress in Sept. 1898.[5]:469 He served as prime minister of the first Philippine republic in the middle of 1899, and served as head of the country's assembly, and the cabinet. Pedro was captured by the Americans in April, 1900, at Antomoc, Benguet.[5]:504

American Colonial Period[edit]

'Emilio Aguinaldo' and Pedro A. Paterno miniature model at Barasoain Church (in the horse carriage-parade for oath-taking as Philippine President, January 23, 1899).

With the Philippine-American War after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, he was among the most prominent Filipinos who joined the American side and advocated the incorporation of the Philippines into the United States. As the editor and proprietor of the newspaper La Patria, he supported American dominion and gratitude towards Spain, from whence "the Filipinos derived their civilization."[5]:412-413 He died of cholera on April 26, 1911.

Legacy[edit]

Pedro Paterno

Despite Paterno's prominence in the many upheavals that defined the birth of the Philippine nation during his lifetime, Paterno's legacy is largely infamous among Philippine historians and nationalists.

Philippine historian Resil Mojares notes that:

History has not been kind to Pedro Paterno. A century ago, he was one of the country's premier intellectuals, blazing trails in Philippine letters. Today he is ignored in many of the fields in which he once held forth with much eminence, real and imagined. No full length biography or extended review of his corpus of writings has been written, and no one reads him today.[4]

Much of this is attributed to Paterno's penchant for turncoatism, as described by historian Ambeth Ocampo, who sums up his career thus:

Remember, Paterno was one of the greatest "balimbing" [turncoats] in history (perhaps he was the original balimbing in Philippine political history). He was first on the Spanish side, then when the declaration of independence was made in 1898, he wormed his way to power and became president of the Malolos Congress in 1899, then sensing the change in political winds after the establishment of the American colonial government, he became a member of the First Philippine Assembly.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ García Castellón, Manuel. "Pedro Alejandro Paterno y de Vera-Ignacio (Manila, 1858 - 1911)". Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. The Encyclopedia of Spanish-American and Philippine- American Wars: a political, social, and military history, Volume 1. Retrieved 2 June 2011. , 993 pages
  3. ^ a b c Ocampo, Ambeth (December 4, 2005). "Looking Back: "Looking Back: The First Filipino Novel"". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mojares, Resil (2006). "Pedro Paterno". Brains of the Nation: Pedro Paterno, T.H. Pardo de Tavera, Isabelo de los Reyes, and the Production of Modern Knowledge. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. pp. 1–118. ISBN 971-550-496-5. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Foreman, J., 1906, The Philippine Islands, A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  6. ^ a b c Don Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy (1899). "Chapter III. Negotiations". True Version of the Philippine Revolution. Authorama: Public Domain Books. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Apolinario Mabini
Prime Minister of the Philippines
1899
Succeeded by
(Position established)
Preceded by
(Position established)
— TITULAR —
Prime Minister of the Philippines
1899 - April 1, 1901
Succeeded by
Jorge B. Vargas
(Ministries involved)