Friday, January 18, 2013

Filipino Martyr: CAMILO JACOB

(d. 1897)
Revolutionary Martyr from Bicol
Camilo Jacob was one of the 11 Bicolanas who were executed at Bagumbayan on January 4,
1897 as martyrs to the Philippine Revolution. He was a native of Polangui, Albay.
The outbreak of the revolution in the Tagalog provinces in August 1896 raised fears among
the Spanish authorities that the conflict might spread to the Bicol region. They began persecuting
liberal-minded Bicolanos whom they suspected not of holding separatist views but, worse, of
advocating the overthrow of Spanish authority in the Philippines. These included businessmen
and professionals, particularly adherents of Masonry, as well as members of the clergy.
Shortly after the outbreak of the revolution, the authorities arrested Vicente Lukban, who
belonged to the Masonic lodge La Luz Oriente. He headed one of its chapters, called Triangulo
Bicol, whose members were from the Bicol region. Upon interrogation, Lukban implicated Jacob
as one of the active supporters of the Katipunan.
At that time, Jacob, a professional photographer, was running a fairly successful business
in Albay and Nueva Caceres. Aside from maintaining a photographic studio in Naga, he traveled
around the towns of Bicol to ply his trade. Since photography was still a novelty and a luxury, most
of his clients were families of government officials and businessmen who wanted their portraits
On September 19, 1896, Jacob was arrested by the authorities in Naga. He joined others
accused of rebellion and sedition against Spain, like Tomas Prieto, Leon Hernandez, Ramon
Abella, Mariano Araña, Mariano Ordenanza, Macario Valentin, Cornelio Mercado, and Fathers
Inocencio Herrera, Manuel Subarbano, Severo Estrada and Severino Diaz, who were all arrested
that same day. They were beaten up, starved and insulted. Intermittently, they were individually
hung by their thumbs of fingers and beaten some more to force them to name their supposed
accomplices. They were given false promises of freedom if they did.
Later, Jacob and his fellow prisoners were taken to Manila on the steamer Isarog. Upon
their arrival in the city, they were brought to the old Bilibid, where they received more
On December 29, 1896, Jacob and 14 others faced a military court for rebellion and
sedition against Spain. The only evidence the prosecutors could present against them was their
avowed desire to end Spanish oppression in the country. Of the 14, Jacob and 10 others accused of
being sympathizers or bonafide members of the Katipunan, were sentenced to death. Two others,
Ramon Abella and Mariano Araña, were ordered deported to Fernando Po Island in Africa. One,
Mariano Ordenanza, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
On January 4, 1897, Jacob and 10 fellow Bicolanos were shot at Bagumbayan.

Galang, Zoilo M. Encyclopedia of the Philippines. Manila: 1935.
Insurreciones y Rebelliones. Bundle No. 62.
Quirino Carlos, Eminent Filipinos. Manila: National Heroes Commission, 1961.
Reyes, Jose Calleja, Bikol Maharlika. Quezon City: 1992.

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