How the Aquino family came into power in the Philippines is a long story that spans more than one hundred years. For five generations, the Aquinos occupied government positions under different colonial regimes. Today they are still there holding critical government positions like their forefathers did.
First Generation: Braulio Aquino
Braulio Aquino was a school teacher by occupation. He became a gobernadorcillo of Concepcion Tarlac from 1885 to 1887.
The gobernadorcillo is the highest elective post that the Spanish authorities gave the Indios in the 1800s. As a gobernadorcillo, Braulio had a number of duties. He was to collect tax, issue licenses and decide minor and criminal and civil suits. He also helped the parish priest keep the townsfolk straight.
Braulio Aquino Family Tree
Braulio married twice and had five children. When he died at the age of 33. the first four children with his first wife were adopted by the auntie of their mother. One of them is Servillano Aquino.
Second Generation: Servillano Aquino
Servillano Aquino had a privileged life as he was adopted by their grandmother who had money. He studied law but did not finish it. Instead, he got married to a lady in Murcia, Tarlac.
He became a capitan municipal.
Before going further and to understand the plot better, you may read the Love Story of Antonio Luna and Ysidra Cojuangco.
Mianong later joined the Makabulos army. He conducted hit and run tactics to defeat the Spanish regular army. He also recruited natives to join the revolution.
Rumours say that Mianong gained notoriety as a ruthless and violent revolutionary. He also loved to kill his prisoner’s who “ate too much”.
Servillano Sentenced to Death, Saved by Biak na Bato Treaty
Mianong was captured sometime in December 1897. He was sentenced to death in a firing squad. A few days later he was saved when the Biak na Bato Treaty was ratified in December 20, 1897.
The treaty was between the Spanish government and the revolutionaries headed by Emilio Aguinaldo. The Spanish wanted the revolutionary army to lay down their arms. They also want them to accept Spanish sovereignty and leave the Philippines.
The Spanish government promised to pay the revolutionaries 800,000.00 pesos. This will be given in tranches. They agreed that the execution of the condemned revolutionaries be stopped. They also promised to institute political reforms which was not really specified in the treaty.
Aguinaldo signed just the same.
Servillano Devotedly Loyal to Emilio Aguinaldo
Aguinaldo immediately took off in exile in Hongkong. He was joined by more than forty revolutionaries. One of them was Servillano Aquino. It was then that Servillano became a devoted supporter of Aguinaldo.
Aguinaldo received the first installment of 400,000.00 pesos. This money became a cause of in-fighting and legal suits among the revolutionists. Some wanted their share while others complained because there was no proper accounting made.
Spanish Authorities Aghast at Aguinaldo’s Leadership
The Spanish authorities thought all along that the treaty will destroy the prestige of the leaders of the revolution. They thought that receiving money will be considered a treasonous act against the Biak na Bato Republic. Even the Americans who knew of this treaty, thought it would be sacrilegious for their leaders to do the same to their country.
Servillano Studied Under General Antonio Luna
Mianong came back after five months. He continued fighting under the Makabulos Army. It was also this time that his first wife and father in-law were murdered by the Spaniards.
He left his children to their grandmother and trained under General Antonio Luna’s military school. He continued fighting and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General by Aguinaldo.
Servillano Aquino, Luna’s Death, and Stolen Revolutionary Treasures
When General Antonio Luna was murdered in June 5, 1899. Emilio Aguinaldo was one of the major suspects. Servillano was also rumored to be one of the plotters of Luna’s death. Some historians even believed that Servillano Aquino was the Tarlac warrior who stole the revolutionary money that General Antonio Luna left.
In my previous post, we talked about caskets of revolutionary treasures left by General Antonio Luna to his lover Ysidra Cojuangco. If the suspicion is also true that Servillano stole the revolutionary money, then we have another love story to tell.
Fast forward after a hundred years, their wealth will be joined together through a marriage of Ysidra Cojuangco’s heiress and great granddaughter, and Servillano Aquino’s great grandson.
You know who they are.
Servillano Bought Huge Tracts of Land
In 1899, a document showed that Servillano Aquino bought a huge tract of land which he paid for 3.3 Million Dollars. The land covers 62,800 hectares. It covers Capas and Bamban, Tarlac.
Servillano Surrendered to Americans
Mianong fought hard even against the Americans. But they were defeated all the same. He later surrendered “unconditionally” to the Americans. He was imprisoned on a life -term. For the second time, Servillano was saved. He was pardoned by President Roosevelt.
Servillano Founded Rice and Sugar Estates
Mianong went back to Concepcion, Tarlac. He married his wife’s sister. When his second wife died, he founded and developed rice and sugar estates. These are Hacienda Tinang, Lauang, Pandakaki and Peligue.
Servillano’s Family Tree
Mianong had five children. Benigno Sr. is his son with his first wife. He married again for the third time when his second wife died. He died at the age of 85.
Third Generation: Benigno Aquino Sr.
Benigno Aquino Sr. just like his forefathers was also a politician, he occupied top government positions as shown below.
Benigno Sr and Manuel Roxas Sr
During World War II, the Japanese occupied the Philippines which was still under American rule. Igno as he was called became a member of the puppet government from 1942 to 1945. It was also rumoured at this time that he also got even richer.
Benigno Sr with General Yamashita
During the battle of Manila, while Filipinos were dying fighting for the country, Benigno Aquino Sr with Manual Roxas Sr were in Baguio City with General Yamashita.
Benigno Sr Sent to Prison Camp
In 1945, Igno was captured by the Americans . He was sent to a Prison camp in Japan with Roxas. After almost a year, he was flown back by a US Army plane. He entered a plea of innocence to the charge of treason and petitioned for bail.
Benigno Sr: A Makapili
Igno went back to his hometown to nurse himself back to health. But it was not a good homecoming. Neither was it a welcoming hometown. He was despised, jeered, and stoned in public.
Igno was considered a Makapili. Makapilis were loyal to the Japanese government. They spied on the secret activities of Filipino guerillas. Some of these guerillas were captured and tortured to death by the Japanese. Japanese soldiers on the other hand, ransacked villages, slaughtered farmers, and raped women.
Benigno Sr: Foiled Political Dreams
In 1947, Igno wanted a political comeback. President Manual Roxas (grandfather of Mar Roxas) however, did not receive him. According to Roxas the US had instructed him that no japanese collaborators are allowed to regain influence in Philippine government. If he accepted Igno, he may also lose the rehabilitation money which he badly needs.
Roxas Excluded from List of Japanese Collaborators
Manuel Roxas Sr was a Japanese collaborator himself but was absolved. He had the support of General Mac Arthur. He was also excluded from the list written by Lorenzo Tañada. Tañada later became a Solicitor General in his administration.
Americans Accused Roxas of Manipulating Perceptions
Roxas was also accused by the Americans to have created a propaganda campaign. Roxas persuaded the world and the Filipinos that those who collaborated with the Japanese are patriots. Roxas made it appear that they colluded with the Japanese with the finest motives of patriotism. Roxas maintained that Filipinos should be grateful to them.
Benigno Sr. Died of a Heart Attack
On December 20, 1947, Benigno Aquino Sr. died of a heart attack while watching a boxing match.
Benigno Sr. Family Tree
Benigno Aquino Sr. married twice. One of his sons with his second wife (who is also his third cousin) is Benigno Jr.
To be continued. Buckle up for our second part. A Story of Patriotism and Treachery Part II.