In part one , the Tejeros Convention, part two , Pedro Giron's testimony, part three Andres Bonifacio's testimony, now in this part, we witness the conclusion of the investigation and the trial.
On May 4, 1897, the Investigating Officer Pantaleon Garcia made a report of the proceedings and submitted it to Gen. Emilio Aguinalo, who immediately endorsed the same to Gen. Baldomero Aguinaldo. Pantaleon’s report stated, among others that based on reports, Andres was gathering soldiers in Limbon without permission and taking prisoners those who refused to join him, and in order to look into the truth of the matter, it was ordered that soldiers be sent at once to the village to reconnoiter, and when they returned they were greeted by gunfire, and they likewise answered in kind. Ciriaco was the first to open fire. Pantaleon further reported that,
“ The argument of the brothers, Andres and Procopio, that they did not know that there was a Government here cannot be accepted because of the testimony of the soldiers of Andres, who had earlier testified that there was a Government here and the Highest Executive Head was M. Emilio Aguinaldo, and besides this the aforementioned Mr. Andres testified that he was one of those conferees at Tejeros which was held there, and he induced Pedro Giron to assassinate Mr. Emilio, the President, and in truth he gave this Giron ten pesos to carry out the evil orders, so that he might come out President.
“Also induced were the officers of the soldiers here to join him, together with those he was commanding and regarding this matter those who can testify are Mr. Pio del Pilar, Colonel Ritual, and others, because they testified in the presence of many”
On May 5, 1897, Gen. Mariano Noriel called the meeting of the Council of War. The accused were present with their designated counsels, Placido Martinez and Teodoro Gonzalez, for Andres and Procopio, respectively. From the records, it seems that, no more testimonies were taken during the hearing, other than a short speech by Andres that was interrupted by the Council of War. The highlights of the hearing were the speeches of the counsels of the accused. A curious note is Placido Martinez, Andres's counsel, who delivered his defense for Andres and likewise acted as member of the Council of War.
The first to speak was the prosecutor, Mr. Jose Elises. Citing Pedro Giron's testimony, he charged Andres with plotting to overthrow the revoluionary government and the assassination of Emilio Aguinaldo -- the Supreme President. He blamed Andres for the death of the two government soliders and asked for the death penalty by musketry in a public place, five rounds each for him and brother Procopio from a distance of ten paces.
Then, Placido Martinez, Andres’s counsel, spoke for his client, as follows:
“The word to defend or protect, does not seem to apply remotely to Mr. Andres Bonifacio, on account of the evil and detestable deeds he had done, and if there is a severe punishment other than death, such may be properly be meted out to him; because to desire the assassination of our Supreme President of the Tagalog Region is just like desiring the murder of all of us; and it is obvious from this that he does not know how to sympathize with us who are of the same blood, his brothers and fellow countrymen; but it is undeniable to your exceeding goodness that we are brothers to error so that we are always supported by counsel
In this matter and in accordance with the things which happened to the aforementioned unfortunate Bonifacio when wounded, he was arrested at the town of Yndang when he was stripped of his clothes and the little that he carried with him was seized from him, it seems this is enough for the wrong he had done, and if this is not yet enough may the court listen for a while to what follows.
Is it not true that in our Kartilla or in the teaching followed by the Katipunan it is commanded that we love our fellowmen as we love ourselves?
Is it not true that our Lord Christ, although punished and killed by the Jews, asked our God the Father to forgive those who had done such to him?
And who are we, mere earthly beings, not to forgive our kind?
For the sake of all of these, I am asking that Mr. Andres Bonifacio be forgiven the transgressions he had committed, so that, if this were done, we may follow what we utter in saying “our Father” to forgive, our Gd, our sins as we forgive those who transgress against us…”
Before he ended his speech, Andres’s counsel commented on Col. Agapito Bonson’s attempts to rape Gregoria de Jesus. “…if there is truth in this (the rape attempts), I should be meted out the proper puisment, but if this is only an empty accusation, do what is proper, because this is a lsur on an officer like the said Bonson who has up to now shown stern devotion.”
Teodoro Gonzales, Procopio’s counsel, argued that Procopio should be excluded from the punishment recommend by the fiscal as Procopio testified that he induced no one, he was not a party to the plans of Andres and he did not make a stand at the time of fighting.
Andres asked that he be allowed to speak. When he was granted the permission, he repeated his earlier testimony, and thereafter, the council forbade him to go on at the request of the audience. The proceedings were thereafter suspended. The minutes of the hearing were signed by Mariano Noriel, Mariano Riego de dios, Crisostomo Riel, Estevan Ynfante, T. Mascardo, Sulpicio Antony, and Placido Martinez
In the continuation -- the ruling of the Council of War.