Sakdal Uprising

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Sakdal Uprising was a peasant rebellion in Central Luzon, Philippines that took place on May 2–3, 1935. The Sakdal (Tagalog meaning: “Accuse”) movement was founded in 1930 by Benigno Ramos, a right-wing leader, writer, and a discontented former government clerk. Ramos' group advocated tax reductions, land reforms, the breakup of the large estates or haciendas, and independence from the Americans.

The Event

On the night of May 2, partially armed mobs of about 65,000 sakdalista seized municipal buildings in 14 towns in Luzon, including Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna and [Cavite]. In the eleven towns, the municipal officials with the aide of the constabulary dispersed the mob with little or no bloodshed. Three municipalities succeeded in seizing the presidencies. It was reported that by mid-morning of May 3 the law enforcement agencies were getting defeated. As a matter of fact, the constabulary Commander in Cabuyao, Laguna issued "frantic" calls for more reinforcements and 1000 additional rifles. This caused panic in the rural areas around the capital city when it appeared in the newspapers especially with the reports of the Cavite Governor being captured. The uprising failed the evening of May 3, with the casualty of about 100 lives. There were 59 Sakdalistas dead and 36 were wounded. Meanwhile, there were four killed and eleven wounded from the Constabulary.

Benigno Ramos

Ramos fled to Tokyo and the Sakdalistas were nearly disbanded, and rural conditions remained a source of dissension and led to numerous other such peasant rebellions. But Benigno Ramos drew support from Japan until he returned during the Japanese-occupied Philippines. Its remnants became the right-wing Japanese collaborationist Ganap Party, led by the same leader.

Reasons for The Sakdal Uprising

Members believed that they were oppressed and exploited by politicians who were enriching themselves at the expense of the masses. Moreover, the politicians (as the Sakdalistas saw it) have abandoned the fight for the independence of the country from the Americans to enjoy the protection of the foreigners and continue on to stay in power. Also, the Sakdalistas aimed to obtain independence not later than December 31, 1935.

Premature Plans

Ramos reported on May 6, 1935, from his Tokyo base that the uprising occurred earlier than planned. He related to an Associated Press correspondent that "the uprising was planned to frustrate the May 14 plebiscite on ratification of the Commonwealth Constitution..."

Aftershock and the Diminishing Hope

A series of Sakdal four bombings and eight arson cases in October of 1935 impelled the War Department to request further information about the rebel group. J. Weldon Jones, acting governor-general replied that five Sakdalista members have been arrested in Malabon, but that (1) the rumors that circulated of a plot to assassinate the High Commissioner and Archbishop were factitious, (2) there had been no communication from Ramos for a year, and (3) though there were reports of a revolt planned for November, the Constabulary discounted the Sakdal capacity to make troubles.


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