Carcar Tragedy: Leon Kilat's Fate in the Hands of Traitors

THE retreat of the katipuneros from San Nicolas and the city paved the way for the widespread arrests and executions of other civilians, whether or not they were involved in katipunan. Among those captured when the Spaniards retook the city were Alejandro Antioquia, Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, Prudencio Camara, Lucio Herrrera, Placido Datan, Jose Abelgas, Raymundo Jurado, Agapito Nadela, Andres Abellana who was recaptured after his release in Carcar, Januario C. Veloso, Carlos Castañares, Pedro Cui, Pascual Antonio, Epitacio Agustin, Cristino Lopez and Isidro Guibelondo (who was arrested in Talamban).

Church of CarcarAlso taken was Fr. Toribio Padilla, parish priest of the cathedral. He was placed undr house arrest at the Colegio-Seminario de San Carlos.

Later, these were released by the Spaniards. The lesser known civilians were summarily executed. The cousins Olimpio and Emilio Regis tried to use the "amnesty pass" offered by Gen. Montero, convinced that they would be granted clemency because they were not involved. Instead, the two were arrested and executed together with Candido Padilla.

Padilla, an ex-capitan of San Nicolas, could not save himself despite the petition of Fr. Jorge Romanillo, the parish priest of the town at this time. During the last hours of his life, he was however given the privilege of having his confession heard and allowed to visit the Santo Niño at the San Agustin church.

Another pro-Spanish Tagalog who served as a spy, Crispulo Valderrama, was also arrested and shot to death without trial. With him were Raymundo Jurado and Jose Abelgas from Carcar. The two were also executed.

So fierce and swift was the jeuz de cuchillo of Cebu's colonial masters that all adult males met by patrols in the streets were considered enemies who were to be shot if they did not know the password.

But of all the katipuneros who met their end, it was their leader Leon Kilat who died most tragically not only for the manner of his death but for the betrayal by one of his men in Carcar.

Even before the katipuneros' arrival in that southern town, Kabkab (Carcar) residents already learned of their defeat at the hands of the Spaniards, following the arrival of reinforcements from Manila.

They had mixed feelings about accepting Leon Kilat, afraid of retaliation from their Spanish masters.

Kabkab leaders, like kapitan Florencio Noel (Tan Insyong), Timoteo Barcenilla, kapitan Kadyo Jaen, kapitan Jacinto Velez, kapitan Simeon Paras, told Andres Abellana: "Tell Kilat to finish fighting in Naga, not in Kabkab."

To which Abellana retorted: "Sa wa pa mosibog si Don Leon nganhi, ang mga tawo gipahibawo una nga anhi padangpon sa Kabkab kay anhi tapusa ang away. Ug karon nga anhi na ang mga tawo, malisud na ang pagsulti kanila sa tagsa-tagsa nga ang away adto usab tapusa sa laing dapit."

(Before Leon retreated here, people were informed that they should proceed to Carcar because the fight will end here. Now that people are here, it is difficult to tell them that the fight will be somewhere else.)

In the story of Vicente Alcoseba who was with the group of Kilat at that time, the plan to kill the latter was actually hatched at the confessional in the church.

The coadjutor at the time, a Fr. Francisco Blanco who was teaching Latin at the Colegio-Seminario de San Carlos, would not meet kapitan Florencio Noel at the convent because it would be suspicious.

Alcoseba said it was Blanco who suggested to Noel that the only way Kabkab could avoid the retaliation of the Spaniards was to kill Kilat.

Little did Kilat suspect what would befall him that fateful Good Friday in 1898 in Carcar because when he arrived in the evening of Holy Thursday, he was accorded a courtesy due a visiting dignitary.

 First, he went to the house of kapitan Paras, then later transferred to the house of kapitan Tiyoy Barcenilla where he and his men were tendered goat's meat, chicken and pork. After supper, he was offered coffee and ginebra at the sala.

A house in Carcar where Kilat was said to be entertained prior to his deathWhile his men were telling stories of the uprising in Cebu, he asked kapitan Tiyoy if he could call a tailor who could make a "traje de rayadillo" which had become the katipunan's uniform. He wanted to change his clothes the next morning after he took a bath. Minutes later, a tailor named Segundo Alcordo came with his metrosan (a tailor's tape measure) to take his measurements.

Meantime, the plotters appeared ill at ease, said Alcoseba. Tiyoy Barcenilla could not stay put in his seat. Sometimes, he would confer with kapitan Kadyo at the back of the house and talk in whispers. Minutes later, he would shift to Kapitan Gundoy, as if something else was going on.

Then Apolinario Alcuitas, a recruit of the katipunan in Kabkab, shouted for everyone to hear: "Mga kaigsoonan, ipahibalo ko kaninyo nga karong gabhiona, may ihawon akong kabayo."

(Brothers, I would like to announce that tonight I am going to slaughter a horse.) At that time, Alcoseba could not understand the meaning of all these.

Since Leon Kilat was tired, it did not take long before sleep was in order. The room assigned to him was the one near the stairs of the five-bedroom house of Barcenilla. A son of the owner, Vicente, curious about Kilat's exploits, had a brief talk with the latter. He was the last person to talk to him alive.

For a while, Vicente and his uncle Mariano Alfafara talked for some minutes in the corridor outside the room occupied by Kilat. Very soon, they too, went to sleep in another room. Mariano was persuaded by Vicente to stay that night.

Vicente would wake up a few hours later when he heard loud noises coming from Kilat's room. He awakened Mariano and both went outside at once, only to be met by Florencio Noel coming up the stairs, carrying a huge crucifix and asking excitedly: "Naunsa na? Naunsa na?" (Has anything happened yet?)

Then Noel shouted: "Viva Espa¤a! Viva España!" Several others outside the house responded.

Vicente found the maid Kitay and both went inside Kilat's room from where loud noises came. There he saw to his shock the limp body of Kilat being pinned down by eight men, with some of them taking turns at stabbing it.

 The skull had been earlier smashed with with the butt of Kilat's own gun.

"Buhi pa ba?" Vicente heard Vinsyong Cui ask.

"Patay na intawon," answered Kitay. Vicente who was speechless leaned against the wall, in shock.

Then they took his body down the stairs till Cui told the other conspirators: "Ihunong. Ibutang una ninyo. Atong sulayan, ambi tuod dili ba dutlan." (Stop. Put it down. Let's see if he is invulnerable.) Each one took turns at stabbing the dead body and breaking some of his limbs. Then they carried Leon Kilat's body to the center of the town where it was displayed for all residents to see. It was 5:00 early Friday morning.