La Liga Filipina
When upon his return to the Philippines in July, 1892, Rizal organized the La Liga Filipina, this constituted a forward step in the reformist ideas of the times in the sense that the new group sought to involve the people directly in the reform movement.
Many elements of society who were anxious for change were attracted to the Liga, among them, Andres Bonifacio who became one of the founders of the organization.
As listed in the constitution Rizal prepared, the Liga’s aims were :
- To unite the whole archipelago into one compact, vigorous, and homogenous body;
- Mutual protection in every want and necessity;
- Defense against all violence and injustice;
- Encouragement of instruction, agriculture, and commerce; and
- Study and application of reforms.
As Rizal envisioned it, the league was to be a sort of mutual aid and self-help society dispensing scholarship funds and legal aid, loaning capital and setting up cooperatives. These were innocent, even naive objectives that could hardly alleviate the social ills of those times, but the Spanish authorities were so alarmed that they arrested Rizal on July 6, 1892, a scant four days after the Liga was organized.
With Rizal deported to Dapitan, the Liga became inactive until, through the efforts of Domingo Franco and Andres Bonifacio, it was reorganized. Apolinario Mabini became the secretary of the Supreme Council.
Upon his suggestion, the organization decided to declare its support for La Solidaridad and the reforms it advocated, raise funds for the paper, and defray the expenses of deputies advocating reforms for the country before the Spanish Cortes.
At first the Liga was quite active. Bonifacio in particular exerted great efforts to organize chapters in various districts of Manila.
A few months later, however, the Supreme Council of the Liga dissolved the society.
The reformist leaders found out that most of the popular councils which Bonifacio had organized were no longer willing to send funds to the Madrid propagandists because, like Bonifacio, they had become convinced that peaceful agitation for reforms was futile.
Afraid that the more radical rank and file members might capture the organization and unwilling to involve themselves in an enterprise which would surely invite reprisals from the authorities, the leaders of the Liga opted for dissolution.
The Liga membership split into two groups :
the conservatives formed the Cuerpo de Compromisarios which pledged to continue supporting the La Solidaridad while the radicals led by Bonifacio devoted themselves to a new and secret society, the Katipunan, which Bonifacio had organized on the very day Rizal was deported to Dapitan.