THE American arrival and its impact on Filipinos was notable at this point with the preparation of the Negrenses for the inauguration of their new government.
In the first week of December 1898, the Cantonal Government of the Negrenses was already preparing for the election of deputies for the chamber and inauguration of the new government. The election for the 24 deputies included the President, Jose Luzuriaga, and Vice President Estanislao Yusay.
The secretary was Jose Lopez Vito. Other deputies included Manuel Yanson, Dionisio Mapa, Mariano Yulo, Lope de la Rama, Manuel Ledesma and Andres Azcona.
Negros Oriental also had their own election of deputies.
With this background of the election of deputies for the inauguration of the provisional government following the celebration of this event, the Island of Negros experienced the American Advent and its impact in Negros with the American arrival notably led by American Col. James F. Smith. While this was considered by Negrenses as a premature act, four days after the American flag was raised, the Negrenses secured a large vote of confidence for the Cantonal Government.
Meanwhile, the Negros government continued with its regular sessions following the arrival of the Americans wherein the Negrenses started to draft their new constitution.
The framing of the new constitution for the Cantonal Government with a committee created on March 6 were composed of Jose Luzuriaga, Istanislao Yusay as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, with Lope de la Rama, Antonio Jayme, Eusebio Luzuriaga, and Eustacio Torres as members, and this group completed the new constitution in less than a month.
Interestingly, U.S. Commander Colonel James Smith proudly reported to his officials in Manila the completion of the Constitution of the Negros Cantonal Government.
Considered the first American “Civil Government in the Philippines,” a problem shortly arose with the order of the American officials in Manila which abruptly changed the Negros Cantonal Government. This order was directed to establish as soon as possible the military civil government pursuant to American General Order No. 30. This order served as an organic law and functioned as the real constitution of Negros until its incorporation as a regular province after the visit of the US Second Commission to Negros on March and April 1901.
This American Order No.30 complicated the Negros situation reportedly because of continuing dissent against American rule in Negros. In any case, the Negrenses were allowed to hold the inauguration for the new government and its oath of allegiance to the United States also following the anniversary of the overthrow of the Spanish Regime.
Following these complications between the Filipinos and the Americans, the US leadership in the United States was concerned over the reported plot against the government supposedly led by no less a person than the Civil Governor, Melecio Severino, and lawyer General-Dionisio Mapa.
With the confusing report against the Negrenses, the illustrados behind this reported plot objected to the powers welded by the American Military Governor. The movements in the provinces were quickly investigated but no substantial evidence against both Severino and Mapa could be secured.
Hence, no case was lodged against them and both were allowed to continue as government officials. While the careers of Severino and Mapa were affected by these incidents, Severino was kept out from political office and eventually replaced by Leandro Locsin when Negros was declared as a regular province.
June 07, 2022
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