Agoncillo’s Heavily Distorted Philippine History Textbook (Part 1)

June 25, 2020
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By: Pio Andrade Jr.  

The many errors in Philippine textbooks used in the schools have been exposed by Mr. Antonio Calipjo Go. However, Mr. Go did not mention a textbook used in Philippine colleges and universities since the 1960’s up to the present that is crammed with lies and errors that it is surprising why the book was approved as a textbook by education authorities. The book is HISTORY OF THE FILIPINO NATION by Teodoro Agoncillo, a reputed “nationalist” who became the Chairman of UP’s Department of History from 1967-80 and who was given the rank of emeritus as history professor by the UP.  

Only twelve of the many big lies of Agoncillo in the book are exposed here, sufficient to show Agoncillo’s dishonesty and the corresponding truth mentioned after the lie is quoted. How Agoncillo’s book was published into a textbook is also related and the dishonesty in the top rung of the UP is revealed and why he became a darling of the “nationalist” despite his dishonesty and bad scholarship.  

Agoncillo’s Philippine history textbook is loaded with lies and errors that only a dozen of the most vicious lies at pivotal epochs of Philippine history will be mentioned. Agoncillo’s lies are due to his fanatical hatred for the Church and Spain and their adherents, his belief in so-called Filipino nationalists and heroes, and his belief that he was better than other Filipino historians.  

Agoncillo’s distortions take on several forms. First, there is the lie of omission. Agoncillo will not mention facts that do not support his biases. Second, he will misinterpret the facts he gathered to make it appear that Spain, the Church, and America and their supporters are really evil and bad for the Philippine. Third, he would invent events and happenings to support his bias to minimize or cover up the mistakes and errors of Filipinos and their heroes.  A look at the references cited by Agoncillo explains why his book is misleading. He relied mainly on secondary sources, most of them polluted. And these references are not even the best references for the period covered. Also, Agoncillo hardly mentioned archival sources in his references.  

Let me now cite specific lies and errors in selected chapters of Agoncillo’s HISTORY OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE, 12th edition, printed in 2012 followed by the corresponding truth with the source in parenthesis. To enumerate all the lies and errors of Agoncillo would require a book as thick or even thicker than Agoncillo’s book; thus, only a dozen big lies will be discussed from several important chapters.  

In Chapter 9 Agoncillo wrote: “Andres Bonifacio founder and organizer of the Katipunan was born in Tondo….” Bonifacio was born in Calle Alvarado, in Binondo on November 30, 1863. (Manuel Artigas “Bonifacio” RENACIMIENTO FILIPINO, Dec. 10, 1911) Also, the true founder of the Katipunan was Marcelo H. del Pilar. Reasoning that peaceful call for reform will not lead to a better Philippines, M. H. del Pilar conceived of an organization that will win independence from Spain by force of arms. He instructed his brother-in-law Deodato Arellano to organize such an organization that was formed after Rizal was suddenly deported to Dapitan. Thus, the first president of the Katipunan was Deodato Arellano. If Bonifacio was the founder and organizer of the Katipunan, he would have been the first president. But it was Bonifacio that worked hardest to make Katipunan attract more members and made it into a revolutionary force.  

In Chapter 11 the Second Phase of the Revolution the first sentence read “in Singapore, Aguinaldo sought out American consul Wildman….” Agoncillo deliberately did not mention that Aguinaldo was on his way to Europe to escape the suit of Isabelo Artacho who sued Aguinaldo for the share of the truce money. Had Dewey not come to the Philippines, Aguinaldo would not have struck a new revolution.

At the beginning of Chapter 9 “Bonifacio and the Katipunan”, Agoncillo wrote the first three sets of officers of the Katipunan. The first officers elected Oct 1892 were:  

  • Deodato Arellano – Presidente or Supremo  
  • Andres Bonifacio – Intervenor or Comptroller  
  • Ladislao Diwa – Fiscal 
  • Teodoro Plata – Secretary  
  • Valentin Diaz – Secretary-Treasurer  

Bonifacio was dissatisfied with Arellano’s leadership that Bonifacio had Roman Basa elected a new president in a meeting in February 1893. The new Katipunan officers were: Roman Basa, President or Supremo; Andres Bonifacio, Fiscal; Jose Turiano Santiago, Secretary; Vicente Molina, Treasurer, and four councilors. Later, Bonifacio in 1895 deposed Basa and elected new officers. The third officers were: Andres Bonifacio, President or Supremo; Emilio Jacinto, Fiscal; Jose Turiano Santiago, Treasurer; Pio Valenzuela, Physician…

Click here for Part 2

Blogger’s note: This is an undated, incomplete and unpublished article draft of the late chemist-historian Pio Andrade Jr. I decided to cut it into two parts. Except for minor edits, I have reproduced the original. This is the last work of Andrade in my possession that has not been published.

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