Leon Kilat: and then all went quiet on the Carcar front
a dummy's guide to leon kilat, carcar and the philippine revolution (First of Three Parts)
To more easily rein in the innumerable islands and unrelated tribes, Spain administered las islas as one nation. Significant was calling the entire islands by one name, plus the giving out of surnames to non-Spaniards in it. This unification success in turn may have also opened the eyes of indios to governance, to uniting themselves as one as the Spaniards had.
For some days immediately after their tres de Abril (1898) victory, the Cebu Katipuneros have the Spanish forces and civilians reeling and seeking refuge at the Fuerza San Pedro, and the revolucionarios take over the ciudad. Why the rebels didn’t make a wholehearted go for the fort itself, to end the struggle once and for all –– but they content themselves with the extramuros.
We haven’t got a clue why — presumably the tres de Abril attack plan must have assessed the scenario where, if the attack succeeded, the Spaniards retreat and hole up at the fort–then, what?
We can only wish a stash of KKK communiques would be found to shed light on the reason. Maybe the fort was simply unassailable, whatever.
Anyway, accounts and, well, probably rumors, too, later sprung up of Spaniards or their known cohorts being killed when chanced upon on the streets. Looting is not uncommon and even mestizo Sangley establishments are not spared. Spanish priests are hunted down. Interestingly, some of those priests were known to have fathered children—Antolin Frías and Emiliano Díez had known children in Talisay, Naga and San Fernando — and twice interestingly, to Duterte family women; talk was rife of priests being captured and executed, actually among them the priest Fray José Baztán around whom would weave the Cordova legend.
But in no time, the Spanish regroup, reinforcements arrive, sending the revolucionarios on the retreat this time; some are caught and their secret plans squeezed out from these captives.
Some days later, Leon Kilat arrives in Carcar on 7 April, determined on making his last stand in the town. Despite his band being on-the-run, he is met like a conquering hero, which he was by the tres de abril. The town’s cheerfulness may have been to ingratiate itself to the revolutionary, but with the end of persuading him to move his resistance elsewhere and sparing the town.
The Katipunan secret society had established a foothold in Carcar with the recruitment of two sets of brothers from prominent families, Magno and Eliseo Regis and Severino, Nicanor and Jaime Enriquez. The Regises were mestizo sangleys; the Enriquez family was of San Nicolas stock, that town being the Katipunan seat. Meanwhile, Eliseo Regis is caught and executed on the 7th but his burial record on that day in Carcar will twist the facts surrounding his death — afusilado por insurecto (shot by rebels).
Don Florencio Noel, four times gobernadorcillo of Carcar, is summoned by a coadjutor to the confessional and the priest presents the scenario to him: the revolucionarios, with their leader Pantaleon Villegas, are planning a last-ditch stand in Carcar, and Leon Quilat himself, as the leader was known far and wide, his celebrated nom de guerre fairly well-known perhaps an indication of just how secret was this secret society, was on his way to the town.
Andres Abellana had already prepped the town for that day of Quilat’s eventual coming and, in so doing, himself missed the tres de Abril which uprising had been moved up from the original plan for Holy Thursday, April 7.
What happened was: Talisay rebels, advised to prepare for action, taking the tip to be for sooner rather than later, on Saturday, April 2, waited at Tabunok for the action. None obliged and when they returned home that evening instead ambushed a guardia civil three-man patrol, which they then easily disarmed and with which captured arms proceeded to kill two Spanish soldiers resting at the station.
The premature fervor blew a shrill whistle on what would very possibly have been a fair-strength attack wrought with some military planning covering a sizeable area up to Talisay — plus the option to see the thing through.
Instead, what happened as a result, into the night, the now alerted Spaniards undertook several raids. Perhaps not in gentle persuasion were secret identities extracted from the captives and one by one rounded up, leading the resistance leadership to decide on moving up any attack, and thus setting the date for the following day right away — Palm Sunday, the 3d of April, up from the 7th.