Fr. Jerry Aquino, Poet and Revolutionary

Fr. Jerry Aquino, poet and revolutionary

By TJ Burgonio, Volt Contreras

(An excerpt from NEWSFEATURE, Remembering, healing and never forgetting, Inquirer, September 21, 2007.)

 We are posting about Fr. Jerry today to remember the person who had inspired young clergy, seminarians and the youth of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente to take the less travelled road of the national democratic struggle in the Philippines. Today, June 1, is his birthday.

Jerry Aquino was part of the Christian resistance to martial law.

While the head of the Philippine Independent (or Aglipayan) Church had backed Marcos, Jerry spoke out against the regime’s excesses while saying Mass in a church or on the road.

He opposed the construction of the Chico hydroelectric dam in view of the dangers it posed to the Cordillera peoples.

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The Iglesia Filipina Catolica in Maragondon, Cavite

The Iglesia Filipina Catolica in Maragondon, Cavite

One historic event that occurred in Cavite but is not known by millions of Filipinos was the establishment of the Iglesia Filipina Catolica (Philippine Catholic Church) in Maragondon in early 1900, about two years ahead of the Philippine Independent of Aglipayan Church.

Technically speaking, the IFC was the first Philippine independent church to be established by Catholic Riego de Dios, a general of the Philippine Revolution, set up the IFC after the Archbishop of Manila failed to heed the public clamor for the removal of an anti-Filipino priest assigned in Maragondon.

To this day, the IFC survivors as a testimonial to the religious devotion of the Riego de Dios family and others in Maragondon; but it shed its purely Catholic identity when it affiliated with the Philippine Independent Church founded by Isabelo de los Reyes and Fr. Gregorio Aglipay.




(by TAGA TAGUIG AKO! on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 9:44pm)
Lingid sa kaalaman ng marami, kahit mga lehitimong Aglipay ng Tipas, ang BOKALES ang unang samahang itinatag sa loob ng Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church) ng Tipas. Ang BOKALES ay samahang itinatag ng pitong (7) kababaihan na sina Antonina Ramos, Marciana Lontoc, Tiburcia Umali, Dorotea Tanyag, Flaviana de Luna, Eulogia Mañosca at Fausta San Antonio, upang matulungan ang kani-kanilang mga kabiyak sa pamamahala ng simbahan. Ito ay itinatag noong 1903, isang taon matapos itayo ang Aglipay sa buong Pilipinas. Galing sa sariling mga bulsa, ang mga kasapi ng Bokales ang gumastos sa lahat ng pangangailangan ng kura-paroko at ng simbahan. Maging ang sariling bahay ay ipinagamit bilang kumbento ng pari. Ang mga Bokales ang namamahala sa lahat ng mga gawain, mula sa paglilinis ng simbahan hanggang sa pagtulong sa pari sa misa at pagpili ng mga sagala para sa mga okasyon at selebrasyon.

Ito ay naging ‘kalakaran’ hanggang sa itinatag ng National PIC ang mga ‘sectoral organizations’ na kung saan, matapos maitatag, ay naging isa na lamang “pious organization” ang Bokales. Noong una, mga ‘kadugo’ lamang ng mga nagtatag ang ginagawang kasapi ng samahan, subalit sa kasalukuyan, ang pagiging kasapi ay bukas na para sa lahat ng kababaihan.

Nararamdamang mabuti ang pagkakasangkot ng Bokales sa Tipas Aglipayan Church tuwing selebrayon ng mga mahal na araw, partikular na ang Semana Santa… lalo’t higit sa “Pasko ng Pagkabuhay” o Easter Sunday, kung kailan ginaganap ang “Sayaw ng Pagbati”.

Nang dumating si Reb. Pad. Ben Villote sa noo’y isang kapilya lamang na Roman Catholic Church ng Tipas, na ngayon ay tinatawag na “Dambanang Kawayan”, kanya itong ini-“adapt” at isinali sa mga gawain o okasyon ng simbahang katoliko tuwing Semana Santa.

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(An excerpt from the History of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bacolod)

During the Philippine revolution of 1896, Negros did not participate although there were sympathizers and active supporters of that revolution. The sympathy of the Negrosanons was well kept because the Recollects collectively attested to the loyalty of the inhabitants here.

Nevertheless, the civil authorities were not so convinced because their spies told them that some leading citizens of Negros were supporters of the Luzon revolt. The government thus continued their espionage even after the Pact of Biak-na-bato that ended that revolt was signed. Their suspicion grew when some Tagalogs peddling their wares in Negros were found to be members of the Katipunan and were recruiting members. When one of them was captured and interrogated, he made a deal with the authorities and mentioned several names as members of the revolutionary movement. The vocal critics of Spanish rule were arrested but they were also released after they paid fines and corruption money. The action of the civil authorities created a resolve among the Negrosanons to revolt.

The Negros revolution of November 4-7, 1898, left many parishes without pastors. After the civil government in the towns surrendered, the revolutionary government arrested the Spanish priests. The revolutionaries did not arrest the Filipino seculars who were all assistant parish priests so they were able to protect the parishes. But these Filipino priests were few so that almost all parishes were left without pastors. Only Bacolod, Silay, Sumag, Valladolid, Binalbagan, Ilog and Talisay had priests. Talisay was spared because the Spanish priest, Fr. Cuenca who served Talisay continuously since 1850 except for two years leave, was already old and blind. Moreover, Aniceto Lacson, the head of the northern revolutionary army protected him. Fr. Miguel Alvarez of Murcia was also left alone because he was old and ill. The arrested Recollects were first incarcerated in Puerto San Juan (now Provincial Jail) and then in January 1899 were force-marched to La Granja for hard work in the experimental agricultural farm. Later, through the effort of Vatican, they were marched back to Bacolod and then shipped out of Negros for Manila. Some went home to Spain. Fr. Marcelino Simonena was allowed to return in 1901 to help minister to Fr. Cuenca who died the following year. Fr. Tiburcio Fernandez also returned to serve in Kabankalan but public indignation forced him to return to Manila.

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