Leon Kilat: and then all went quiet on the Carcar front
A dummy’s guide to Leon Kilat, Carcar and the Philippine revolution (Last of Three Parts, Epilogue)
On wrongs swift vengeance waits, the poet Alexander Pope had pontificated. But vengeance in Carcar? Surprisingly, in Carcar, was there ever a call that Leon Kilat, the generalissimo himself, be avenged?
Where were the Katipuneros? By this time, the whole town must already know who were the men — probably the entire cast — involved in the assassination. They did not run away or hide.
Yet, Kilat was avenged only decades later, and much of it only by political propaganda.
Leon Kilat became an all-consuming issue in Carcar local politics during the American period. The Noel stronghold on the town was being challenged by Mariano Mercado, also a non-Carcar native, supported by other Carcar politicians. Perhaps not to alienate the other politically potent members of the cabal, Mercado and his faction simply zeroed in on the Noel family and its participation in the Leon Kilat assassination and drummed them up as the perpetrators of the Kilat assassination, so much so that most people in Carcar up to now think only the Noel family and their henchmen were responsible, and even though Florencio Noel as the capitan, was doubtless the most influential of the lot–the primus inter pares–but the fact of the deed being a principalia decision was all drowned out in the politics of the moment.
But was there ever a reprisal—vengeance– carried out in Carcar against these members of the town’s elite?
How could there have been? Carcar families were interwoven in kinships and the Carcar Katipuneros – the Regis brothers and the Enriquez brothers — along with them. The Regis brothers were nephews of Anacleta Noel, whose second husband was ex-capitan Leocadio Jaen, himself. Anacleta’s own daughter by her first husband, Catalino Regis, was married to Nicanor, one of the Enriquez brothers, and Nicanor’s baptismal godfather had been capitan Timoteo Barcenilla. Interwoven, indeed: Magno and Eliseo Regis’s brother was married to Apolinario Alcuetas’s niece from the Canaya family.
Meanwhile, a Carcaranon himself was taking over the new order of business, to lead the Philippine government defense against the coming Americanos: 28-year-old General Troadio Galicano y Dayagro was put in charge of the entire south of Cebu. He, whose grandparents had come from Bohol and whose father, the long-time fiscal of the church was himself implicated in the Quilat affair — the general Troadio was married to a daughter of Francisco Velez. Would Don Troadio allow a lynching of his own father-in-law?
So, even as Carcar honored the memory of Pantaleon Villegas of Bacong, Negros – Leon Kilat – peace reigned.
That’s how the events, and the players, played out in Carcar, each with his own reason, each with his own values, each with his own story to tell. No indictment here, no excuses either. As the song said, “that’s just the way the story goes”.
Like Florencio Noel, they too seemed to have got it: Revenge was not the answer, Carcar was. And the town’s families interweave on. Rare would be that new storm to ever rise in Carcar more potent than its families.
[i]Capitan Timoteo (Tioy) Barcenilla (Leon Kilat stayed in his house at the corner of Luan-Luan and San Vicente), Apolinario (Nario) Alcuitas, Simeon Paras, Florencio Noel, Francisco Velez, Nicolas Velez, Guillermo Galicano, and the two coadjutors, Fr. Doroteo Ayaso and Fr. Francisco Blanco, and “many other members of the town elite (principales)” (Sales/Go, Ang Sugbu, 231-238)
[ii]Ang Kamatayon by Vicente Alcoseba as translated and retold by Emil Justimbaste in Leon Kilat and the Cebu Revolt.