Macario Sakay marks 104th year death anniversary

L to R: seated, Julian Montalan, Francisco Carreon, Macario Sakay, Leon Villafuerte; standing, Benito Natividad, Lucio de Vega
L to R: seated, Julian Montalan, Francisco Carreon, Macario Sakay, Leon Villafuerte; standing, Benito Natividad, Lucio de Vega

On September 13, 1907, Macario Sakay, revolutionary leader and among the last of the Filipino resistance fighters to surrender to the Americans, was hanged inside the Old Bilibid Prison in Manila, together with Col. Lucio de Vega.

Born in 1870 in Tondo, Sakay was a close confidante of Supremo Andres Bonifacio and was original co-founder of the Katipunan on July 7, 1892.

During the Filipino-American War, General Sakay fled to the mountains, organized the revolutionary forces in Bulacan, Pampanga, Morong (now Rizal), Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas, and later on proclaimed what he called the Tagalog Republic.

The Tagalog Republic had its own flag and with Sakay chosen as president, drew up a Constitution largely based on the Katipunan creed of Bonifacio and warned all Filipinos not to swear allegiance to the United States.

Sakay became a threat to the Americans; they did not recognize his government and through the Bandolerism Act labeled him as an outlaw. The Bandolerism Act proclaimed all captured resistance fighters to be tried in court as bandits, ladrones, and robber.

However, Sakay and his men enjoyed popular support mostly evident in the countryside. Rural folk offered them food, refuge and shelter. They contributed 10 percent of their income to the revolutionary coffers. They even celebrated Sakay in a popular song.

So popular was Sakay among the people that the Americans had to resort to deception to effect his capture. They persuaded Sakay to lay down his arms for the sake of peace, so that Filipino delegates could be appointed to the new legislative body, the Philippine Assembly.

In July 1906, after receiving a letter from the American governor-general promising amnesty for him and his men in exchange for surrender, Sakay finally surrendered. However, he was arrested and thrown into prison.

Sakay was hanged on Friday the 13th of September 1907 on charges of banditry and armed rebellion, along with Lucio de Vega.

His last words: “Death comes to all of us sooner or later, so that I will face the Lord Almighty calmly. But I want to tell you that we are not bandits and robbers, as the Americans have accused us, but members of the revolutionary forces that defended our mother country, Filipinas! Farewell! Long, live the republic and may our independence be born in the future! Farewell! Long Live Filipinas!” (PNA)


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