Artemio Garcia Ricarte
October 20, 1866 — July 31, 1945
A Filipino general during the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. He is considered by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the "Father of the Philippine Army". Ricarte is also notable for never having taken an oath of allegiance to the United States government, which occupied the Philippines from 1898 to 1946.
Ricarte was born in Batac City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines to Faustino Ricarte and Bonifacia García. He finished his early studies in his hometown and enrolled at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. At the University of Santo Tomas and then at the Escuela Normal, he prepared for the teaching profession. He was sent to the town of San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias) to supervise a primary school. While there, he met the likes of Mariano Álvarez, another school teacher and surviving revolutionary of the 1872 Cavite Mutiny. Ricarte then joined the ranks of the Katipunan under the Magdiwang Council, where he held the rank of Lieutenant-General. He adopted the nom-de-guerre "Víbora" (Viper).
After the start of the Philippine Revolution on August 31, 1896, Ricarte led the revolutionists in attacking the Spanish garrison in San Francisco de Malabon. He crushed the Spanish troops and took the civil guards as prisoner. At the Tejeros Convention Ricarte was elected Captain-General and received a military promotion to Brigadier-General in Emilio Aguinaldo's army. He led his men in various battles in Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas. Aguinaldo designated him to remain in Biak na Bato, San Miguel, Bulacan to supervise the surrender of arms and to see to it that both the Spanish government and Aguinaldo's officers complied with the terms of the peace pact.
When the Philippine-American War started in 1899, he was Chief of Operations of the Philippine forces in the second zone around Manila. In July 1900 he was captured in Manila and deported to Guam together with Apolinario Mabini.
In early 1903, both Ricarte and Mabini would be allowed back in to the Philippines upon taking the oath of allegiance to America. Just as their transport USS Thomas pulled in to Manila Bay, both were asked to take the oath. Mabini, who was ill, took the oath but Ricarte refused. Ricarte was set free but banned from the Philippines. Without setting foot in the Philippines, he was placed on the transport "Galic" and sailed to Hong Kong.
In December 1903, Ricarte returned to the Philippines as a stowaway on board the "Wenshang". Ricarte planned to reunite with former members of the army and rekindle the Philippine Revolution. Upon meeting with several former members and friends, he discussed his general plan and the continuation of the revolution. After said meetings, some of these members turned on Ricarte and notified the Americans, specifically ex-General Pio del Pilar. A reward for US$10,000 was then issued for Ricarte's capture, dead or alive. In the following weeks, Ricarte traveled throughout central Luzon trying to drum up support for his cause.
In early 1904, Ricarte was stricken by an illness that put him at rest for nearly 2 months. Just as his health was returning, a clerk from his outfit, Luis Baltazar, turned against him and notified the local Philippine Constabulary of his location at Mariveles, Bataan. On March 29, 1904, Ricarte was arrested and jailed. He would spend the next six years at Bilibid Prison. It should be noted, Ricarte was well received and respected by both the Philippine and American authorities. He was frequently visited by old friends from the Philippine war as well as U.S. government officials, including then Vice-President of the United States Charles W. Fairbanks.
Due to good behavior, Ricarte served only 6 of his 11 year sentence. On June 26, 1910 he was released from Bilibid Prision. But upon his exit he was detained by American authorities and taken to the Customs-House in Bagumbayan. He was again ordered to pledge his oath of alligence to the United States. He still refused to swear allegiance and within the hour of the same day, he was again put on a transport and deported to Hong Kong. His name was repeatedly brought to light whenever any type of uprising occurred in the Philippines. To get away from false propaganda, he and his wife moved to Yokohama, Japan where they lived in self-exile. While in Japan, Ricarte opened a small restaurant, Karihan Luvimin, and returned to teaching. His book, “Himagsikan nang manga Pilipino Laban sa Kastila” (The Revolution of Filipinos Against the Spaniards) was published in Yokohama in 1927.
Just as Ricarte's life was fading away in to obscurity, World War II began and Japan invaded the Philippines. The Japanese flew Ricarte back to the Philippines to help them pacify the Filipinos. In December 1944, Ricarte was forced to establish the Makapili, a pro-Japanese organization during World War II which was used to root out guerrillas.
Near the end of World War II, Ricarte again found himself taking flight from American and Filipino forces. It is stated by Colonel Ota, that he ask Ricarte to evacuate the Philippine island but Ricarte refused, stating "I cannot take refuge in Japan at this critical moment when my people are in actual distress. I will stay in my Motherland to the last." Due to the hardship and difficulties from evading American and Filipino attacks, Ricarte became ill and suffered from debilitating dysentery. On July 31, 1945 at Hungduan, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Ricarte died at the age of 78. His grave was found 9 years later in 1954 by treasure hunters. Ricarte's body was exhumed and his tomb now lies in Manila at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. On April 2002, at the same place where he dies, a landmark was inaugurated by Mr. Ambet Ocampo of The National Historical Institute, and Mrs. Teodoro, a granddaughter of Artemio Ricarte.
- In 1972, a monument was erected at Yamashita Park in Yokohama, Japan
- The birth house of Artemio Ricarte is now the Ricarte National Shrine in Batac City, Philippines.
- A marker was placed at Poblacion, General Trias, Cavite for General Artemio Ricarte for the battles and good deeds he accomplished in Cavite