The Fateful Day: Captain Pedro Janolino and Felipe Buencamino

Originally authored on September 20, 2015

The first man General Luna met in Cabanatuan to respond to the summon of Aguinaldo was Captain Pedro Janolino, whom he disarmed in Angeles for cowardice. Together with the Kawit Battalion, they refused to take orders from Luna during the Battle of Caloocan in February 1899 and as punishment, Luna had disarmed and relieved them of their duties. On the way to Aguinaldo’s office his famous temper provoked by the failure of sentry to salute him thus, he slapped the slack guard. Upon being informed that Aguinaldo had left for San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, he ran upstairs and found Felipe Buencamino instead. They exchanged heated words.

When a rifle shot was heard, the General rushed down to investigate. Sprang from behind the door, where he had been concealed, Janolino attacked Luna from behind, inflicting a severe wound with a bolo. The Kawit Battalion mobbed the General and stabbed with daggers and shot. Mortally wounded, he still managed to wobble to the street away from his assassins. He fired his pistol but failed to hit anybody. Colonel Paco Roman came to his defense but  was shot to his death. Captain Rusca also tried to assist the stricken General but he too was shot and took refuge in the nearby church. As Luna fell on the convent yard, Aguinaldo’s mother Trinidad Famy Aguinaldo was said to have watched the killing and even managed to ask “Nagalaw pa ga iyan?” One of the assassins nudged Luna’s body with his boot to validate.

The following day, Luna was buried with military honors with Aguinaldo conferring however, the assassins went free. After Luna’s death, Aguinaldo ordered all chiefs of brigades under Luna arrested. Some were killed like Major Manuel Bernal, who was tortured first and his brother Captain Jose Bernal, who was released but was later assassinated in Candaba, Pampanga. Aguinaldo also ordered the disarming of two companies he suspected as pro-Luna.


* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures


Aide of Antonio Luna: General Benito Alejandrino Natividad

Originally authored on September 19, 2015

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A military leader, governor, and judge who hailed from Jaen, Nueva Ecija, He, together with his brothers, fought in the Philippine rebellion against the Spanish authorities to avenge their father’s death, a prominent lawyer and first martyr of Nueva Ecija. He also fought in the Philippine American War and served as aide to General Antonio Luna, who courageously fought in the Central Luzon campaign. Natividad was almost killed fighting by the side of Luna suffering a serious bullet wound in the leg. The young Lieutenant Manuel Quezon was promoted to Captain just for getting him safely behind the lines by hiding Colonel Natividad in a hay stack.

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At the age of 24, Natividad was promoted to brigadier-general for this act, becoming one of the youngest generals to fight the Americans. If only he was physically fit, he would have been with General Luna during that tragic trip to Cabanatuan. He became a cripple due to his wounds and temporarily took over the command of the Ilocos provinces which was the reason why General Manuel Tinio was recalled by Aguinaldo to help in the re-organization of the forces of Nueva Ecija in 1899. Natividad remained with a few riflemen and a number of armed insurgents who guarded the whole Ilocos region at that time. This also included the guarding of 4,000 Spanish prisoners and 25 American prisoners of war scattered in those towns. Despite their huge numbers, the prisoners did not even think of rising against the General because they were treated very well and deemed El Cojo or not a man to fool with. Notwithstanding his helplessness as a result of his wounds, he took his luck with the Tinio Brigade rather than surrender himself to the enemy. However, upon the capture of Aguinaldo in Palanan, Filipino soldiers, even if they were able to thwart the Americans until 1901, were forced to give up.

When the war ended, he continued his law studies at San Juan de Letran and became a full-fledged lawyer. Eventually, he rose to become a judge. Natividad was elected governor in Nueva Ecija and served from 1910 to 1913. Governor Natividad successively served as provincial fiscal in Zambales, Tarlac, Cavite, Rizal, Samar, Albay, and Leyte. He was also promoted as judge of the Court of First Instance in Leyte, Cebu, and Davao.

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He married late at the age of 40; his wife, Amalia Inocencio was 10 years his junior. She was a native of Cavite and they had two daughters, Aurea and Amparo. He lived long enough to play golf in the 1960’s to see June 12 declared as Independence Day. Reflecting on the past, he mentioned to his daughters that he could forgive the Spaniards but never the Americans because of their cruelties and deceptions. He died in 1964 and his remains were interred in San Agustin Church in Intramuros.

* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures

Aides of Antonio Luna: Colonel Francisco Roman and Captain Jose Bernal

Originally authored on September 19, 2015

From his headquarters in Bayambang, Pangasinan, deep into establishing a guerilla base in the Mountain Province in June 4, 1899, Luna received a summon via telegram from Aguinaldo in Cabanatuan , Nueva Ecija. Immediately, Luna left accompanied by Colonel Paco Roman, the brothers Major Manuel Bernal and Captain Jose Bernal, Major Simeon Villa, Captain Eduardo Rusca and 25 cavalrymen. The following day Luna and his party arrived at the outskirts of Cabanatuan but the broken bridge threatened to delay the whole party. The impatient General left his escort and proceeded to his summons with only Colonel Roman and Captain Rusca to accompany him. At about 3:00 P.M., they arrived at the casa parroquial (convent) in Cabanatuan where the Philippine Republic was holding office.

* – credits to the owner/s for the pictures