An excerpt from my forthcoming book, " Istorya: Essays in Philippine History".
What are the differences between the two dates? The Bonifacio declaration in the Cry of Balintawak was made prior to the actual skirmishes between the revolutionary troops and the foreign invaders. The one made in Kawit Cavite, however, was made shortly after Spanish troops already abandoned the towns and cities which were attacked and “liberated” by the Katipuneros. The one made by Bonifacio was presumptive while that of Aguinaldo was reactive.
Two things—when Bonifacio gathered the Katipuneros in Barrio Banlat, there was already a shadow government existing, composed of Filipinos who believed in the Katipunan cause. Six years prior, Andres Bonifacio, along with his fellow Masonic members, established the Katipunan. This secret organization came shortly after Jose Rizal, the founder of the La Liga, was arrested by the Spanish authorities. Days before, Rizal had organized the La Liga. He intended the La Liga as a reformist association. The association was structured like a Masonic lodge since most of its members belonged to the Luzung lodge. Prior to Rizal’s return, the progressives were divided into two (2) groups: those who advocated for reforms and those who wanted to launch a revolution. It was Jose Basa, a reformist exiled in Hongkong, who informed and probably prodded Rizal to go back to the country and be the unifying personality in the movement. Surely, Rizal was elected the prime mover of the movement for change after all lodges united behind his “moral” leadership.
Recruitment went on high gear shortly afterwards, as the Katipunan expanded its membership to several provinces, including Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Ilocos provinces, Pangasinan, Mountain provinces, Bicol, Cebu and Mindanao. Most of its members came from lower, middle and Mestizo classes. The organization attracted thousands because it presented itself as an alternative government. It has its own governmental structure, composed of an executive, legislative and even a judicial branch. The Katipunan was structured as a “government in waiting.” It even established branches down to the local or barrio levels. It has a taxation system. In 1895, when Bonifacio assumed the Supremo-ship, the organization grew from a mere hundreds to about 400,000 members.
Shortly after the incident in Balintawak, skirmishes occurred in eight provinces of Central Luzon. After a year or so, the revolutionary forces successfully liberated towns and cities under Spanish rule.
That said, when Bonifacio gathered the Katipuneros in Banlat, Kalookan, he was formally pronouncing to the whole world the existence of a Philippine government. That "cry" in August 23, 1896 should actually be recognized as the first cry of independence since it formally unveiled the already functioning alternative government and
This "de facto" and "de jure" arguments are those used by early historians in insisting that the first cry of independence was actually during the June 12 flag-raising ceremony at Kawit Cavite. Several insisted that it was the most opportune moment to declare independence since most Spanish forces were already in seclusion and were defeated in several key cities. Likewise, the Cavite dictatorial government and that declaration made in Kavit, had an American emissary in attendance. That emissary even affixed his signature in the declaration document, showing that a foreign government recognizes the legitimacy of the Aguinaldo-led government.
Aguinaldo had to form his dictatorial government in defiance of the earlier Katipunan government to assume control of the war and precipitate peace talks with the Spaniards. Earlier, around 1896, there were several attempts by friars in Cavite to negotiate peace with Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo and his Magdalo members were agreeable. Bonifacio and the rest of the Katipuneros did not. Bonifacio became a thorn in several Spanish-led initiatives for peace. That is the reason why Bonifacio was killed.
And that was the reason why Aguinaldo had to make a new flag, a new symbol of his government to effectively supplant the Katipunan government which was already in existence.
The Cry made in Pugad Lawin (or Balintawak to some) held on August 22 or 23, 1896 is really the FIRST CRY OF INDEPENDENCE. It was the first time that Filipinos unveiled their shadow government and the first real declaration that precipitated a national uprising.
Fact is, shortly after this cry, the Katipuneros immediately convened its first Cabinet and executed the strategies that made the rebellion successful in most cities throughout the country.
Celebrating "independence" on June 12 is simply wrong. Agreeing with the Magdalo version of history is erroneous.
Probably Noynoy knew about this that's why he decided not to be a party to an erroneous interpretation of History.