The Philippines will be marking the 149th birth anniversary of General Emilio Aguinaldo, officially recognized as the country’s first president, this March 22, Thursday.
The day has been declared a special non-working holiday in Aguinaldo’s home province of Cavite according to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 446. The full text of the proclamation can be accessed here.
Aguinaldo’s descendants have been involved in national and local politics through the decades, most notably his grandnephew Cesar Virata, who served as Finance Minister during the Marcos administration, his great grandson Emilio “Jun” Abaya, who served as Transportation Secretary during the second Aquino administration, as well as former Kawit, Cavite Mayor Emilio “Orange” Aguinaldo IV.
Despite the continued prominence of his clan, Aguinaldo himself remains a highly controversial figure in Philippine history, though. In recent years, several prominent historians have sought to have Andres Bonifacio recognized as the country’s first President instead of Aguinaldo. The high point of their efforts is the 2014 movie “Bonifacio: Unang Pangulo.”
Meanwhile, his complicity in the bloody assassination of fellow revolutionary general Antonio Luna has re-entered the public consciousness because of the successful 2015 film “Heneral Luna.”
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