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

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