So far as the various extant accounts go, it cannot be conclusively said that Oryang was indeed, Raped. No accounts or documents, including that of the autobiography of Gregoria de Jesus, support the allegation.
The rape accusation must have been nurtured by an article in the opinion section of the "Inquirer" written by Ambeth Ocampo, the pertinent portion of which is quoted below:
"Then of course, the catalog of rape in the Philippines will not be complete without mention of Gregoria de Jesus, wife of Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio, who was raped by Col. Agapito Bonzon. The colonel was neither investigated nor punished by Emilio Aguinaldo for this crime. The rape of Gregoria de Jesus is one of the heart-rending episodes of the Philippine Revolution and deserves full and separate treatment." (Ocampo [Opinion])
There are two key points raised by Mr. Ocampo in this article, first, Gregoria de Jesus, or Oryang, was raped, and, second, Colonel Bonzon was neither investigated nor punished by Aguinaldo.
Let us tackle the first point. In the "Inquirer" article, Mr. Ocampo specifically says Oryang was raped. Yet, in his book, "Looking Back", this is what Mr. Ocampo says:
"Was she or wasn't she raped? All calls for investigation of the rape charge was ignored by Aguinaldo. Put all these things together and you will see why historians blame him for the death of Bonifacio. I do." (Ocampo [Rape], 83)
In the above quote, Mr. Ocampo did not say Oryang was raped. But in the "Inquirer article, he jumped to the conclusion that she was raped. How did Mr. Ocampo come to that conclusion? Was he able to gather sufficient proofs after twenty-six years that convinced him to change his position from "was she or wasn't she raped" in the 1990 book to "she was raped" in the 2016 "Inquirer" article? There is nothing in the "Inquirer" article that explains the change. Ambeth Ocampo is an influential historian and thus, carries the important responsibility of being extra-cautious in making unfounded and unexplained conclusions. Any clarification on this regard from Mr. Ocampo will be greatly appreciated.
In Oryang's autobiography, there is no mention of rape or any attempt to dishonor her. But she said she was tied to a tree and was being forced to reveal where the money and treasure of the Katipunan was hidden. (De Jesus, 18 and 65-68)
And in her own testimony during the trial of Andres Bonifacio, Oryang did not mention rape or any rape attempt. However, her testimony says: "After she had crossed the street, Colonel Yntong ordered the people in a nearby house to leave the place and he forced her to ascent the stairs." (Kalaw, 30) The narrative stopped abruptly. What happened after she was forced to ascent the stairs? The apparent incomplete narrative was filled in by Santiago Alvarez who wrote:
"Colonel Intong had made a move to take his [the Supremo's] wife to an unoccupied house, but thanks to the intercession of some of his [Colonel Intong's] own head-soldiers, he had been thwarted in his beastly intention." (Alvarez, 130)
Alvarez continues and mentions the second attempt:
"The same Colonel Intong had made a second attempt to abuse his [Bonifacio] wife while they were at Indang. She had been dressing his [the Supremo's] wounds when suddenly there barged in a head soldier who claimed to be a major. This interloper had insisted on taking his [the Supremo's] wife away, but she was luckily spared again by the propitious arrival of General Tomas Mascardo." (Alvarez, 130)
To sum it up, there is no mention of rape in all the statements above - by Oryang, by Bonifacio, and by Santiago Alvarez. It is very likely, however, that if indeed Oryang was raped the culture of silence in those days on violation of chastity must have prevented her from revealing the full story. But until a credible account surfaces, the conclusion is the alleged rape did not happen.
Let us move on to the second point. Mr. Ocampo says Colonel Bonzon was not investigated or punished by Aguinaldo. This is not exactly telling the complete story. Based on Bonifacio's testimony that an attempt was made to dishonor his wife Baldomero Aguinaldo, the auditor of the trial wrote in his report to Aguinaldo:
"The testimony of the wife of Andres Bonifacio about the attempt to dishonor her should also be looked into." (Kalaw, 38)Unfortunately, no further action was taken on Baldomero's recommendation because the last major defensive town of Cavite held by the revolutionary government, Maragondon, where the trial of Bonifacio was held, was under heavy attack by the Spaniards and a furious battle raged with significant loss of lives on both sides. Maragondon was completely overrun after a long and hard fought battle and the rest of the smaller towns – Mendez Nunez, Amadeo, Alfonso, Bailen, and Magallanes were easily captured.
The revolutionary government broke up and dispersed to adjacent areas of Batangas and Aguinaldo, accompanied by many refugees, escaped and proceeded on a long and arduous trek to Biak-na-bato in Bulacan. How, under this condition would an attempted rape complain be given consideration and priority? Those people were not sitting in their offices and taking their morning coffee as some contemporary historians would want us to imagine. Of course, Aguinaldo's priority would be to count the losses, regroup and reorganize.
Rape is a mortal sin in those days - vengeance for the relatives of the victim and instant death to the perpetrator. As an example, a certain Colonel Ritual raped the beautiful daughter of his Lieutenant. Antonio, the father, did not show any sign of indignation openly but carefully planned his revenge. He had a sumptuous luncheon consisting of boiled and fried chicken, pesang kanduli and adobong hito, a flask of gin, two bottles of dry red wine and other appetizers. When the colonel and his assistant started to dine, a heavy blow struck the head of the Colonel who fell dead instantly. His companion attempted to fight back but he was also struck on the head and killed. (Alvarez, 237-238) This is how atonement for staining the honor of a woman was usually made by relatives in those days.
Oryang is the niece of Mariano Alvarez, President of the Katipunan Magdiwang council, and therefore a cousin to General "Apoy", Santiago Alvarez, the Captain General of the Magdiwang army. The Alvarezes held power in half of Cavite. Why did Mariano Alvarez not lift a finger to seek revenge or even demand justice for dishonoring his niece? And the answer is, the Alvarezes probably took Oryang's silence to mean no rape had indeed occurred and so there was no need for revenge or recompense. And today's story of this supposed rape of Oryang is really heating up the atmosphere of hate on the memory of innocent personalities before any credible evidence had been brought to bear. There lies the malicious intent.
1. Ocampo, Ambeth: "Rape No Laughing Matter Under Any Context", Opinion
Section, Philippines Daily Inquirer, April 20, 2016 issue;
2. Ocampo, Ambeth: "Looking Back", Anvil Publishing, Inc., 1990;
3. De Jesus, Gregoria: "Autobiography of Gregoria de Jesus", Philippine Magazine, Philippine Education Co., translated and annotated by Leandro H. Fernandez, vol. 27, no. 1, June 1930 );
4. Kalaw, Teodoro M.: The Court Martial of Andres Bonifacio", Manila Book Co., 1926; and,
5. Alvarez, Santiago: Recaling the Revolution", translated by Paula Carolina S. Malay, University of Wisconsin, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, 1992)