In the morning of May 10, 1897, the Castillians were on the offensive in their quest to recover territories from the revolutionaries. Maragondong, the seat of Aguinaldo’s power, was the next in line. The Spaniards moved their cannons and pointed them towards Maragondong. Meanwhile, in the town, Mariano Noriel called for Major Lazaro Makapagal. Makapagal reported in his uniform to Noriel.
Then, Noriel handed over to Makapagal, erstwhile a secretary of the Council of War, a packet. Noriel instructed Makapagal to take four soldiers from Colonel Ritual and bring the brothers Bonifacio with them to Mt.Tala and not open the packet until he reached the mountain. Upon arrival, he was asked to open the packet and read aloud its contents to the two prisoners and obey the instructions strictly. It was to be done with dispatch, because the Spaniards were at the gates.
Good soldier that he was, Makapagal obeyed the instructions. On their way to Tala, the brothers asked whether they were going to be shot. Makapagal replied that he was just taking them away from the fighting.
When they reached the foot of Mt.Buntis, the brothers implored him to open the packet. When he complied, he found a letter,in which the following was written,
In accordance with the order of the Council of War held at Maragondong on May 8, against the brothers Andres and Procopio Bonifacio, who have been sentenced to be shot to death, you and your soldiers under you are ordered to carry out the judgment. I am informing you that any failure to do your duty will be penalized to the fullest severity of the Spanish military law. God will take care of you for a long time.
Procopio stood up and cried, “Naku kuyang!” Andres fell to his knees and tried to embrace Makapagal, and cried, “Kapatid, patawarin mo ako.”
Makapagal then cried, “Peloton! Preparen! Carguen, Armas! When the brothers heard the cocking of the guns, they fell silent. Then Makapagal faced Procopio, and said, “Defrenten, Mar!” and pointed him to the woods, they followed a trail and there they shot Procopio.
Lazaro Makapagal then turned to Andres who went down on his knees and begged for forgiveness. “Kapatid, patawarin mo ako!” Andres said. Makapagal replied “Wala akong magagawa.”
Then, Andres stood up and ran to the woods to escape. Makapagal and his soldiers followed. Near the big stream at the junction of a creek, Andres was shot. He stopped, reeled and fell dead. The soldiers then dug a shallow hole and buried Andres Bonifacio. Makapagal placed a few twigs. It was all over in a few hours.
On his way down, Makapagal met Gregoria de Jesus who asked him where he took the two men. He replied that they left them in the hills near Tala. “You can inquire from the chieftain there in whose care we left the two.”
Gregoria replied, “If that is so, why do you have his clothes?”
Makapagal replied, “He requested me to tell you to bring them to him yourself. ”
Gregoria left him and proceeded to look for her husband. She looked for them for two weeks but never found them.
Up to the present, Bonifacio’s bones have not been found.
In his memoirs, Santiago Alvarez recalls a different version of the execution as related by Lazaro Makapagal, as follows,
"After I read the order to the prisoners, Procopio wept, embraced Andres and asked, 'Kuya, what are we to do?' Andres did not say a word. He bowed his head and sobbed while tears welled in his eyes and rolled down in his cheeks. Not able to bear it, I turned my back and when I faced them again, the deed was done. My men had fired the shots and the poor Bonifacio brothers were prostrate and dead." (translated from Tagalog by Paula Carolina S. Malay published by Ateneo de Manila Press in 1992)
Next post: My legal notes on the Trial of Andres Bonifacio