Apolinario Mabini y Maranan (July 23, 1864 — May 13, 1903) was a Filipino revolutionary and lawyer who served as its first prime minister until May 1899. In Philippine history texts, he is often referred to as "the Sublime Paralytic", and as "the Brains of the Revolution."
Early life of Apolinario MabiniMabini was born on July 23, 1864 in Barangay Talaga in Tanauan, Batangas. He was the second of eight children of Dionisia Maranan, a vendor in the Tanauan market, and Inocencio Mabini, an unlettered peasant.
Mabini began informal studies under the guidance of Maestro Agustin Santiesteban III, who was his Mentor from Davao and his mother . Because he demonstrated uncommon intelligence, he was transferred to a regular school owned by Simplicio Avelino, where he worked as a houseboy, and also took odd jobs from a local tailor - all in exchange for free board and lodging. He later transferred to a school conducted by the Fray Valerio Malabanan, whose fame as an educator merited a mention in José Rizal's novel El Filibusterismo.
In 1881 Mabini received a scholarship to go to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila. An anecdote about his stay there says that a professor there decided to pick on him because his shabby clothing clearly showed he was poor. Mabini amazed the professor by answering a series of very difficult questions with ease. His studies at Letran were periodically interrupted by a chronic lack of funds, and he earned money for his board and lodging by teaching children.
Mabini's mother had wanted him to take up the priesthood, but his desire to defend the poor made him decide to take up Law instead. A year after receiving his Bachilles en Artes with highest honors and the title Professor of Latin from Letran, he moved on to the University of Santo Tomas, where he received his law degree in 1894.
The 1896 RevolutionBelieving that the Reform Movement still had a chance to achieve success, Mabini did not immediately support the Philippine Revolution. He became part of the La Liga Filipina wherein they would write instead of revolt and chose that they would rather be a colony of Spain rather than having a big revolution for their freedom. When José Rizal, part of the "La Liga Filipina", was executed in December that year, however, he changed his mind and gave the revolution his wholehearted support.
In 1898, while vacationing in Los Baños, Laguna, Emilio Aguinaldo sent for him. It took hundreds of men taking turns carrying his hammock to portage Mabini to Kawit. Aguinaldo, upon seeing Mabini's physical condition, must have entertained second thoughts in calling for his help.
Mabini was most active during the Spanish–American War as he assisted General Aguinaldo. When he served as the chief adviser for General Aguinaldo after the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12. He drafted decrees and edited the first ever constitution in Asia (the Malolos Constitution) for the First Philippine Republic, including the framework of the revolutionary government which was implemented in Malolos in 1899.:546
Prime Minister of the PhilippinesApolinario Mabini was appointed prime minister and was also foreign minister of the newly independent dictatorial government of Aguinaldo on January 2, 1899. Eventually, the government declared the first Philippine republic in appropriate ceremonies on January 23, 1899. Mabini then led the first cabinet of the republic.
Mabini found himself in the center of the most critical period in the new country's history, grappling with problems until then unimagined. Most notable of these were his negotiations with Americans, which began on March 6, 1899. The United States and the Philippine Republic were embroiled in extremely contentious and eventually violent confrontations. During the negotiations for peace, Americans proffered Mabini autonomy for Aguinaldo's new government, but the talks failed because Mabini’s conditions included a ceasefire, which was rejected. Mabini negotiated once again, seeking for an armistice instead, but the talks failed yet again. Eventually, feeling that the Americans were not negotiating 'bona fide,' he forswore the Americans and supported war. He resigned from government on May 7, 1899.
Later life and deathHe also joined the fraternity of Freemasonry.
On December 10, 1899, he was captured by Americans at Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, but granted leave to meet with W.H. Taft.:546-547 In 1901, he was exiled to Guam, along with scores of revolutionists Americans referred to as 'insurrectos' and who refused to swear fealty to imperialist America. When Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr. was asked to explain by the US Senate why Mabini had to be deported, he cabled:
|“||Mabini deported: a most active agitator; persistently and defiantly refusing amnesty, and maintaining correspondence with insurgents in the field while living in Manila, Luzon...||”|
|“||After two long years I am returning, so to speak, completely disoriented and, what is worse, almost overcome by disease and sufferings. Nevertheless, I hope, after some time of rest and study, still to be of some use, unless I have returned to the Islands for the sole purpose of dying.||”|
- La Revolución Filipina (1931)
- Two sites related to Mabini have been chosen to host shrines in his honor:
- The house where Mabini died is now located in the campus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Santa Mesa, Manila, having been moved twice. The simple nipa retains the original furniture, and some of the books he wrote, and also contains souvenir items, while hosting the municipal library and reading facilities.
- Mabini was buried in his town of birth - what is now Talaga, Tanauan City, Batangas. A replica of the house Mabini was born in was also constructed on the site, and also contains memorabilia.
- Four Philippine municipalities are named after Mabini:
- The Philippine Navy's Jacinto class corvette, BRP Apolinario Mabini (PS-36), is also named after Mabini.
- The Philippine government presents the annual Apolinario Mabini Awards to outstanding persons with disabilities.
- The Mabini Academy is a school in Lipa City, Batangas named after Mabini. The school logo carries Mabini's Image.
- Southern Tagalog Arterial Road or Apolinario Mabini Superhighway is an expressway that connect the province of Batangas to the SLEX.
- Apolinario Mabini Bridge, formerly known as Nagtahan Bridge in the City of Manila, was renamed in his honor.
Controversy about Mabini's paralysisEven during his lifetime, there were controversial rumors regarding the cause of Mabini's paralysis. Infighting among members of the Malolos congress led to the spread of rumors saying that Mabini's paralysis had by caused by venereal disease - specifically, syphilis. This was debunked only in 1980, when Mabini's bones were exhumed and the autopsy proved once and for all that the cause of his paralysis was Polio.
This information reached National Artist F. Sionil José too late, however. By the time the historian Ambeth Ocampo told him about the autopsy results, he had already published Po-on, the first novel of his Rosales Saga. That novel contained plot points based on the premise that Mabini had indeed become a paralytic due to syphilis.
In later editions of the book, the novelist corrected the error and issued an apology,which reads in part:
|“||I committed a horrible blunder in the first edition of Po-On. No apology to the august memory of Mabini no matter how deeply felt will ever suffice to undo the damage that I did.... According to historian Ambeth Ocampo who told me this too late, this calumny against Mabini was spread by the wealthy mestizos around Aguinaldo who wanted Mabini's ethical and ideological influence cut off. They succeeded. So, what else in our country has changed?||”|
- Describing his cabinet:
|“||...it belongs to no party, nor does it desire to form one; it stands for nothing save the interest of the fatherland.||”|
- By former Military Governor of the Philippines, Gen. Arthur MacArthur, describing Mabini before the US Senate's Lodge Committee of 1902:
|“||Mabini is a highly educated young man who, unfortunately, is paralyzed. He has a classical education, a very flexible, imaginative mind, and Mabini's views were more comprehensive than any of the Filipinos that I have met. His idea was a dream of a Malay confederacy. Not the Luzon or the Philippine Archipelago, but I mean of that blood. He is a dreamy man, but a very firm character and of very high accomplishments. As said, unfortunately, he is paralyzed. He is a young man, and would undoubtedly be of great use in the future of those islands if it were not for his affliction.|