erected 1959 sculptor: Roman Sarmiento -------
Gen. Pantaleon Villegas (Leon Kilat), a native of Bacong, Negros Oriental, headed the Katipunan in Cebu. After the initial success of the 3 de Abril (1898) uprising, the Spaniards regrouped and the Katipuneros retreated. On the 7th, Kilat and some of his men arrived in Carcar to make their last stand in the town. He was feted by the most powerful set of the town principalia but for the purpose of persuading him to move his resistance elsewhere. Kilat refused, giving the reason that plans and people had long been coordinated.
The general was assassinated in Carcar that very night by the same people who wined and dined him, and who either feared Spanish reprisal if they did not themselves stop Kilat, or simply sided with Spain, or both. As closely held to our hearts, one way or the other, this history is to us in Carcar, but what happened actually had no real bearing on the movement except as it affected Kilat, Carcar, an episode of the revolution and–maybe this–the future realignment of Cebu leaders. We never overthrew Spain and were no match for the arriving Americans either (see Carcaranons – Troadio Galicano).
Leon Kilat was buried in an unmarked grave in Carcar on 8 April 1898, his burial recorded in the parish Burials book (photo below), which record gave as cause of his death “asesinado por insurrecto” (assassinated by rebel[s]), which had some truth in it, one of the assassins having been his own Carcar bodyguard assigned to him, but did hide that the actual head conspirators were local government officials, perhaps with the knowledge of Spanish church leaders and, thus, hardly rebels.
In the Cebu Daily News (Mar 19, Apr 2, 2005), historian Trizer Mansueto, presumably researched from news articles of the period, wrote about the search for the hero’s bones in Carcar in August 1926, initiated by Bacong and Carcar town officials themselves.
In the same article, Mansueto wrote that the Carcar council that same month in 1926 passed a resolution naming the town plaza as the Plaza General Leon Kilat. Townspeople don’t know anymore if the name still stands, or if it had been changed, and how many times, the ordinary Carcaranon does not know. The town has an unenviable record in remembering its records–so much so that the current council called for the demolition of a fountain covered by a heritage ordinance passed by the council, and just because it seemed to them the best area to park their vehicles. If our memory blurs after just a handful of resolutions, why even pretend we have a heritage at all. Heritage is memory.
(Photo Aug 2009 by Wowie Madrio)
Another thing. Author of the dedication quote above etched on the right side of the Kilat monument was Caroline Atherton Mason, to honor Abraham Lincoln. The quote here substituted Nation for People which was her original. The town officials should move either to unequivocally cite the author of the quote or erase the whole thing or risk being called pompous plagiarists, they or he who had this sophomoric inspiration to substitute a word in a quotation and play innocent about its authorship.
The left side of the monument has another quotation: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” This is no Horatian ode, this was the man’s himself. So why’s Horace’s name not here? Were not crediting quotations this early portents of things to come from our townfolks in facebook?
And a third. The National Historical Institute made this plaque this year of the hero’s biography. So, I think our town should acknowledge the sculptor Sarmiento (see Sarmiento, Roman (II) in Carcaranons page) and the year the monument was created. That’s the least historical we should be treating our so-called historical landmarks. Again, if our memory holds, and History is memory.
At the back of the monument is the date it was erected–1959, plus who voted for (4 councilors plus the vice mayor) and against (4 councilors) the proposal to erect the monument. Disclosure of the officials’ names but not even the elementary courtesy of that of the sculptor underscores the politics of the town. In favor were the old Mariano Mercado faction and against were the Noel faction of the council. The mayor belonged to the Mercado faction and invited then First District Congressman Ramon Durano (with whom their faction was allied provincially) to inaugurate the Mercado monument.
And the whole thing, the entire drama, was played out in just one house. See The Barcenilla House.
(page under construction)