The Magat Salamat "conspiracy" against the Spaniards in 1588-1589

(This is the summary of the inquiry and investigations into the facts and the status of the "conspiracy" against the Spaniards during the 1588-1589 period. The investigations lead to the execution of Don Agustin de Legaspi, Don Martin Panga, Magat Salamat and many others and deportation to Nueva Espana of others.

This notarized document can be found from pages 96-103 of The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Vol. 1, No. 7, 1588-1591, Helen Blair, et. al.)

In fulfilment of the command and decree of Doctor Santiago de Vera, governor and captain-general of these islands, and president of the royal Audiencia, I, Estevan de Marquina, notary-public for the king our sovereign, of the number [authorized] in the city of Manila, testify that a trial and criminal process has been conducted and is still pending before the said governor and captain-general.

The parties are the royal department of justice of the one part, and certain Indian chiefs, natives of the villages of Tondo, Misilo, Bulacan, and other villages in the neighborhood of Manila, of the other part.

The cause of this contention seems to be that on the twenty-sixth of October of last year, one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight, Doctor Santiago de Vera, governor and captain-general of these islands, and president of the royal Audiencia, learned that the following persons: Don Agustin de Legaspi, one of the chiefs of this land; Martin Panga, governor of the village of Tondo, and his first cousin; Magat Salamat, the son of the old lord of this land; and other chiefs, had not long ago sent a present of weapons and other articles to the king of Burney, and that they were quite intent upon holding meetings and their usual drunken feasts, swearing to keep secret whatever they discussed. He also learned that they had sold and were selling their landed property.

In order to ascertain what the condition of affairs is, the governor made an inquiry and many witnesses were summoned.

From this inquiry and other investigations and inquests made in the course of the trials, it appears that the said Don Agustin de Legaspi and Magat Salamat had sent a quantity of shields, arquebuses, and other weapons to Xapon and to the petty king of Burney, who has thus been enabled to put himself on a war-footing. They warned these powers to fortify themselves in their strongholds, because the Spaniards intended to go there. They added that the said Don Agustin would notify them in person of what was taking place; and that, for this purpose, he would ask permission to set out on his commercial enterprises.

Likewise we learned that the people of the kingdom of Burney were thinking of manning a fleet for the purpose of attacking the Spaniards; and that they had killed a Franciscan friar and other Spaniards while on their way to Malaca from Manila with messages and despatches for the king, our sovereign.

It appears that on the fourth of November of the said year, when the inquiry had not gone further than this, Captain Pedro Sarmiento arrived in this city from the Calamianes, which are islands near Burney; and brought the news and information that he had left behind in the said Calamianes three Indian chiefs of Tondo, namely, Magat Salamat, Don Agustin Manuguit, son of Don Phelipe Salalila, and Don Joan Banal, brother-in-law of the said Magat.

Through Don Antonio Surabao, his servant and chief of his encomienda, he had learned that these men were going as ambassadors to the petty king of Burney, in order to induce him to send a fleet to attack the Spaniards, and to join the chiefs of Jolo, and Sumaelob, chief of Cuyo, who had already come to terms and offered to help them with two thousand men. They had persuaded the said Don Antonio Surabao to accompany them and carry out their plans; but the latter while on the one hand he promised to help them, in order not to arouse their suspicion, on the other hand unfolded the plan to Captain Sarmiento.

He added, moreover, that Amarlangagui, chief of Baibai, who was within the jurisdiction of Manila and held the office of master-of-artillery, had told him, while in this city, that all the chiefs of this neighborhood had plotted and conspired with the Borneans to rebel against the service of the king our sovereign, and to kill the Spaniards of this city, while they were off their guard.

The plan was that when the fleet of Burney reached the port of Cavite, and the Spaniards trustfully called these chiefs to their aid, they would all immediately enter the houses of the Spaniards with their men, fortify themselves in them and thus take possession of them one by one. If the Spaniards took refuge in the fortress, Indian soldiers would follow them; and, being two to one, they would surely kill the Spaniards. Maluco offered an example of this; for with but few people they had taken so large a fortress from the Portuguese. To this end the people of Burney were building seven galleys and other warships, and were getting ready ammunition and war-material.

Thus it is affirmed by the said Don Antonio Surabao himself, who says that, under the pledge of friendship and secrecy, he was made acquainted with all this, and was persuaded to join the said conspiracy. Upon this, with the governor's approval, soldiers and attendants were immediately despatched with his orders to arrest the said chiefs, and to bring them to this city as quickly as possible. From the inquiry and secret investigations which were taken up anew, it appears that last year, five hundred and eighty-seven, when Captain Don Joan Gayo and many Japanese with merchandise arrived at this city in a ship from Xapon, Don Agustin de Legaspi became very friendly to him, inviting him many times to eat and drink at his house which is on the other side of the river of this city.

The agreement and stipulation which he made with Don Joan Gayo through the Japanese interpreter, Dionisio Fernandez, and in the presence of the said Magat Salamat, Don Agustin Manuguit, Don Phelipe Salalila, his father, and Don Geronimo Bassi, Don Agustin de Legaspi's brother, was, that the said captain should come to this city with soldiers from Xapon, and enter it under pretext of peace and commerce, bringing in his ship flags for the use of the Spaniards, so that the latter should think his intentions peaceful.

It was also agreed that the chiefs of the neighborhood would help them to kill the Spaniards, and would supply the provisions and everything necessary. The said Don Agustin de Legaspi was to set out to meet them; and, in order that they might recognize one another, he would carry some of the weapons which the said captain had given him. After they had conquered the Spaniards, they would make him [Don Agustin] king of the land, and collect the tribute from the natives, which would be divided between Don Agustin and the Japanese. They swore this after their fashion, by anointing their necks with a broken egg. Don Agustin de Legaspi discussed and arranged the whole plan with Amaghicon, an Indian chief of Navotas, warned him to keep the secret, and gave him some of the weapons which the Japanese had given him, in order that they might recognize one another.

According to the declarations of Dionisio Fernandez, the Japanese interpreter, Don Phelipe Salalila, Don Geronimo Basi, Magat Salamat, and other witnesses who were present at the said meetings and compacts, and as it appears also from the trial and investigations, it seems that when Don Martin Panga, under the charge of adultery, Don Agustin de Legaspi, for accounts demanded of him at the time when he was governor of Tondo, Don Gabriel Tuambaçan, Don Francisco Acta, his son, and Pitongatan were taken to the prison of this court, each and every one of them swore, after their fashion, to help one another with their persons and property in all matters—be it concerning the liberty of their slaves, or in any other difficulty.

Likewise it appears that after they left the said prison, the said Don Martin Panga was exiled from the village of Tondo for a certain period, and went to live in the village of Tambobo, not far from this city. There he and Don Agustin de Legaspi invited the other leaders to come together for a secret meeting. Under pretext of visiting said Don Martin Panga, a meeting was held in the said village by Don Phelipe Salalila, Don Agustin Manuguit; Magat Salamat, chief of Tondo; Don Pedro Bolingui, chief of Pandaca; Don Geronimo Basi and Don Grabiel Tuam Basar, Don Agustin's brothers; Don Luis Amanicalao and Calao his son; the brothers Don Dionisio Capolo and Don Phelipe Salonga; Don Phelipe Amarlangagui, chief of Catangalan; Don Francisco Acta and Amaghicon; with other Indian timaguas, servants, and allies of his. For three days they met, and drank after their fashion. During this time they resolved to act in harmony and with one mind in everything. If their slaves demanded liberty, they were to help one another against them; for already they were not regarded or obeyed as before. They possessed neither slaves nor gold, and found themselves poor and cast down, ready to go to prison any day. Their sorrow was very keen because their wives were being taken away from them, and given to others to whom, they claimed, they had been first married. For all these reasons they were very sad, and they discussed and plotted, and took oath, according to their custom, that if an enemy came to Manila to attack the Spaniards, they would unanimously and with one mind aid the enemy against the Spaniards. Thus they would once more become masters, as they had been before, and exercise the old tyranny over the common people—who now were much favored by the Spaniards, being promoted to superior places by them. The said Don Agustin de Legaspi proposed to them the plan and compact which he had made with the said Japanese Don Joan Payo [Gayo]; and the other chiefs declared that they were ready to help him and to accede to his wishes.

After this, it appears that in the month of February, one thousand five hundred and eighty-eight, when we heard of the English pirate who passed through these islands and plundered the ship “Santana,” the said chiefs made preparations, thinking he would come to this city, to carry out their plan.

A few days afterward, Don Estevan Taes, chief of Bulacan, came to the village of Tondo where they were. He conferred with Don Martin Panga; and they decided that since the Englishman had not come, and the compact made at the meeting of Tambobo had not been carried out, they should call another meeting to discuss what had been planned at the former one. To this end, he offered to notify and call together all the chiefs from his village as far as Tondo, while Don Martin Panga was to summon the other chiefs as far as Cavite. To this end, the said Don Martin Panga said that he would carry a letter to the governors of Malolos and Guiguinto, and tell them to hasten to the meeting; and that, when they were assembled, he could communicate to them the bad or the good which he kept within his breast. After Don Esteban Tael [sic] had told him to leave the matter in his hands, Don Martin Panga declared, in the presence of Pitongatan, that he and Don Agustin had planned to call together the men of La Laguna and Comitan; and that, when the people were all gathered, they would discuss the means of regaining the freedom and lordship which their fathers had enjoyed before them; and, with all the people collected at Tondo, would attack Manila, as arranged with Balaya, chief of Vangos, and with the natives of Batan. It seems that the said meeting did not take place, on account of various occupations which detained the said chiefs.

Moreover it appears that about the same time, when certain Indian chiefs of Panpanga came to Manila on business connected with their province, on passing through the village of Tondo, Don Agustin Panga summoned them; and he, together with Don Agustin de Legaspi, Sagat Malagat, and Amanicalao, talked with them, and inquired after the business that took them to Manila. The chiefs answered that they came to entreat the governor to command the cessation of the lawsuits concerning slaves in Panpanga, until they could gather in the harvest. Don Martin said that this was very good, and that they also wished to make the same entreaty and to bring their slaves to court; but that to attain this it would be best to assemble and choose a leader from among them, whom they should swear to obey in everything as a king, in order that none should act alone.

The chiefs of Panpanga said that they had [no] war with the Spaniards, to cause them to plot against the latter, and that they had a good king. Thus they did not consent to what was asked from them by the aforesaid chiefs, and proceeded to Manila in order to transact their business. In Manila they were again invited to go to Tondo, to take food with the plotters; but the Panpanga chiefs refused. On the same day a meeting was held in Tondo by Don Agustin de Legaspi and Don Martin Panga; Don Luis Balaya, chief of Bangos; Agustin Lea and Alonso Digma, his nephews; Don Phelipe Salalila and Don Agustin Manuguit, his son; Don Luis Amanicalao, and Calao, his son; Don Grabiel Tuambacar, Don Francisco Acta, Don Phelipe Salonga, and other natives who rendered service.

While they were thus assembled, they all resolved and agreed, amid the usual drinking, that the abovementioned Magat should go to the Calamianes and from that place notify the Borneans to come to Manila to attack the Spaniards; and the chiefs would wait for them here, and would take care to receive and help them. In fulfilment of this, the said chief Magat Salamat went to the Calamianes, which are near the kingdom of Burney, taking with him the chiefs Don Agustin Manuguit and Don Joan Banal. Thence he went to the island of Cuyo, where it seems that he discussed the matter with Sumaelob, chief of the said island, and persuaded him to come with the Borneans to plunder Manila. At that time he was arrested for this trial, was brought to this city, and openly confessed that what has been said actually occurred.

The said inquiries and investigations made in reference to the trial of the aforesaid persons were examined by the governor and captain-general; and he gave orders to arrest those who appeared guilty, in the various regions and provinces in which they were to be found, and on different days, letting no one of the guilty ones escape. The men were arrested and their confessions were taken down separately. At the proper time and place they were each charged with the crime which resulted against each of them; and a copy of the charge was given to them and to their attorneys on their behalf. Their cases were received on trial in a certain order and for a certain period, so as to give them, during that period, an opportunity of clearing themselves from the charge. The time expired, and the trial was definitely closed. The governor and captain- general reviewed the trial, and on different days pronounced a final sentence against each one of them, according to their guilt.

The sentence is in substance as follows:

Don Agustin de Legaspi and Don Martin Panga, as leaders and chiefs, and being convicted by witnesses, were condemned to be dragged and hanged; their heads were to be cut off and exposed on the gibbet in iron cages, as an example and warning against the said crime. All their goods were to be confiscated and set apart, half for the royal treasury and half for judicial expenses. The above-mentioned appealed from the aforesaid sentence to the royal Audiencia of these islands; but after having examined the trial, the Audiencia confirmed the aforesaid sentence, and returned the case to the governor and captain-general in order that justice might be done. The death-punishment was to cut their heads off and to expose them on the gibbet in iron cages. The sites of their houses were to be plowed and sown with salt. All their property, after the judicial expenses had been defrayed, should be set aside for the royal treasury. This sentence was executed upon the abovementioned persons as here stated.

Dionisio Fernandez, Japanese interpreter in the negotiations with Xapon, having confessed and having been convicted, was condemned to be hanged and to lose his property, half of it to be set aside for the royal treasury and half for judicial expenses. He appealed from this sentence to the royal Audiencia; but this court, after it had examined the trial, returned it to the governor and captain-general, in order that justice might be done. The sentence was executed upon him as here stated.

Don Pedro Balinguit, chief of the village of Pandaca, was sentenced to six years of prescribed exile in Nueva España, and was condemned to pay six taes of orejeras gold1 for the treasury of the king our sovereign, and for judicial expenses. The fiscal and he appealed to his Majesty's chamber—I mean to the royal Audiencia—and this court returned the case to the captain-general, so that justice might be done. This man is about to sail in these ships for his place of exile.

Pitongatan, chief of the village of Tondo, was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for eight years. His property was to be equally divided between the treasury of the king, our sovereign, and the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; and this court on a second examination sentenced him to exile in such place as the governor should choose, for two years—one prescribed and the other unconditioned—and to pay costs only.

Don Phelipe Salonga, chief of the village of Polo, was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for six years. Half of his property was to be set aside for the treasury of the king, our sovereign, and half for judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; but the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done.

Don Phelipe Amarlangagui, chief of Catangalan, was sentenced to exile from his village for six years, to a place prescribed. His property was to be divided equally between the treasury of the king, our sovereign, and the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; but the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done, except that the exile was to be for four years.

Daulat, chief of the village of Castilla, was sentenced to prescribed exile from this district for four years, and condemned to pay ten taes of orejeras gold, half for the royal treasury and half for judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia; but the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done, except that of the four years of exile two were to be prescribed and two unconditioned.

Don Joan Basi, chief and former governor of the village of Tagui, was sentenced to prescribed exile from this jurisdiction2 for four years. Half of his property was set aside for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia, whence the case was remitted to the captain-general, with the exception that the whole penalty should consist only of two years of prescribed exile.

Dionisio Capolo, chief of Candava, was sentenced to prescribed exile from this jurisdiction for eight years, and was condemned to pay fifteen taes of orejeras gold, half of which was to be set aside for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia, which, after having examined the report of the trial, remitted it to the captain-general, in order that justice might be done—save that the whole penalty was to consist of four years of prescribed exile, and the payment of twelve taes of orejeras gold. The sentence was executed.

Don Francisco Acta, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to four years of prescribed exile. Half of his goods and property was to be divided between the treasury of his Majesty and judicial expenses. He and the fiscal appealed to the court of his Majesty; but the case was remitted to the captain-general in order that justice might be done—save that the whole penalty was to consist of four years' prescribed exile, and nothing more.

Don Luis Amanicalao was sentenced to prescribed exile from this jurisdiction for six years. His goods were to be divided between the treasury of his Majesty and the judicial expenses. He and the attorney appealed to the royal Audiencia, but the case was likewise remitted to the captain-general in order that justice might be done—only that the exile was to be reduced to three years. The sentence was executed.

Don Grabiel Tuambacar, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to exile from this jurisdiction for four years, and was condemned to pay six taes of orejeras gold—half for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for the judicial expenses. He appealed to the royal Audiencia, as did the fiscal also; but the case was remitted to the governor, in order that he might execute justice upon him—except that the penalty was to be only four years' exile.

Calao, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to exile from this jurisdiction for four years. Half of his goods were to be applied as in other cases. He and the fiscal appealed to the royal Audiencia, whence the case was returned to the captain-general, in order that he might execute justice—except that the only penalty was four years' exile.

Omaghicon, chief of Navotas, was sentenced to prescribed exile in Nueva España for six years, and was condemned to pay sixty taes of orejeras gold, half of it to be set aside for the treasury of his Majesty, and half for the judicial expenses. This money was to be paid within a month, under pain of hanging. The fiscal of his Majesty and the culprit appealed to the royal Audiencia; there the sentence was revoked, and the guilty man was condemned to die, and to lose half of his goods, the latter to be applied as specified above. Thus he was condemned on a new trial, and put to death; and inquiries are being made about his goods.

Don Geronimo Bassi was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for ten years. His property was to be divided between the treasury of his Majesty and the judicial expenses. He and the fiscal of his Majesty appealed to the royal Audiencia—which, after an examination and a new trial, revoked the sentence and condemned him to death, and to the loss of all his goods in favor of the royal treasury. The sentence was executed.

Don Phelipe Salalila, chief of Misilo, was exiled to Nueva España for twelve years, and condemned to pay seventy taes of gold de orejeras, of which half was to be set aside for the treasury of his Majesty and half for judicial expenses. He was to pay the money within twenty days under pain of death. He and the attorney of his Majesty appealed to the royal Audiencia—which, after an examination and a new trial, revoked the sentence and condemned him to death, and to the loss of all his goods in favor of the treasury of his Majesty. The sentence was executed upon him.

Don Esteban Taes, chief of Bulacan, was sentenced to prescribed exile in Nueva España for eight years, and condemned to pay sixty taes of orejeras gold, for the treasury of his Majesty and for judicial expenses. The money was to be paid within thirty days under pain of death. He and the fiscal of the king appealed to the royal Audiencia—which, on an examination and new trial, revoked the sentence, and condemned him to death and to the loss of all his goods in favor of the royal exchequer and the treasury of his Majesty. The sentence was executed.

Magat Salamat was condemned to death. His goods were to be employed for the erection of the new fortress of this city. He appealed to the royal Audiencia; but the case was remitted to the governor, in order that justice might be done—except that the goods were to be set aside for the treasury. The sentence was executed.

Don Agustin Manuguit was sentenced to exile in Nueva España for six years, and condemned to pay twenty taes of orejeras gold toward the building of the new fortress. Failing to pay this sum, the term of his exile would be doubled. He agreed to pay it, and the sentence was executed.

Don Luis Balaya, chief of Bangos, was sentenced to exile from his village for two years, one prescribed and the other unconditioned. He was also condemned to pay ten taes of orejeras gold toward the building of the fortress, to which he agreed.

Alonso Lea was acquitted on the trial.

Amarlangagui, chief of the village of Tondo, was exiled from this jurisdiction for four years, two prescribed and two unconditioned. He was also condemned to pay fifteen taes of orejeras gold toward the said building of the fortress. He agreed to this, and the sentence was executed.

Don Joan Banal, chief of Tondo, was sentenced to exile from this jurisdiction for six years, and condemned to pay ten taes of orejeras gold toward the building of the said fortress. He agreed to this, and paid the money.

In the case of Amaghicon, Indian chief of the island of Cuyo, sentence is yet to be passed by the governor; for the man was brought hither only a short time ago, as he lived very far from this city.

The said sentences, as specified, were executed upon the above-named persons. Those who were exiled to Nueva España are about to sail in the ships which are to be despatched this year to that country. As for the goods [confiscated], most of the men have paid their fines; but in case of those who have failed to do this, the alcaldes-mayor have been ordered to make investigations about them. They are already doing so, as appears from the said trial and process, to which I refer. And, in order that the whole matter may be evident, I give by the said command the present record, in Manila, on the thirteenth day of July in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine. I affix my seal, in testimony of the truth.

Esteban de Marquina, notary-public.


We, the notaries who have here signed our names, certify and attest that Esteban de Marquina, from whom proceeds this authenticated record, is indeed a notary-public, of the number authorized in this city, as is stated herein, and is now exercising his office; and that the deeds, attestations, and records which have been and are transacted in his presence have been and are thoroughly certified and authenticated, both within court and without. Done at Manila, on the thirteenth day of July in the year one thousand five hundred and eighty-nine.

Reference:
The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803; explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the Catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commericial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the beginning of the nineteenth century; [Vol. 1, no. 7], Blair, Emma Helen, ed. d.1911., Robertson, James Alexander, joint ed. 1873-1939., Bourne, Edward Gaylord, 1860-1908. Cleveland, Ohio: The A. H. Clark company, 1903-09

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