Friday, January 18, 2013

Filipino Martyr: CORNELIO DELFIN

(d. 1897)
Revolutionary Martyr from Capiz
A native of Batang, Capiz, now a part of Aklan, Cornelio Delfin was one of the first
adherents of the Katipunan in Panay.
He was inducted into the revolutionary society by Francisco del Castillo and Candido Iban
sometime during the Christmas of 1896. The two men were acting under orders of Bonifacio to
spread the Katipunan in Panay and lead the revolution on the island at the most opportune time.
After arriving in Batang, Del Castillo and Iban contacted prominent men in the town,
urging them to convince others to enlist in the Katipunan.
Delfin was joined by the other recruits, namely, Gabino Sucgang, Simplicio Reyes, Isidoro
Jimenez, Valeriano Dalida, Teodorico Motus, and Albino Rabaria. Together with the first four
men, he would later offer his life in martyrdom to the cause of freedom. The group conducted
secret meetings disguised as parties in the barrios of Ochando, Kawayan, Tambak, and Lagatic. In
the sitio of Kumtang in Ochando, they inducted hundreds of members on the night of March 3,
The existence of the Katipunan in Panay was discovered by the Spaniards after the seizure
of the boat owned by Del Castillo. After hastily gathering his men, who were armed only with
lances and bolos, he led an attack on the headquarters of the civil guards at the capital town of
Kalibo, where he was killed. His loss was aggravated by the capture of Iban, with the help of
Filipino traitors, in Malinao. There followed sporadic skirmishes, but the leaderless rebels had lost
their will to fight.
When Col. Ricardo Monet, the commander of Spanish forces in the Visayas, proclaimed an
amnesty, some 50 rebels from Kalibo, including Delfin, decided to surrender on March 19 to 22.
Monet, who was ignorant of the rebels’ true strength and wanted to avoid prolonged warfare, had
heeded the advice of local friars to pardon all rebels. He promised to do this in his amnesty
proclamation. Once the rebels turned themselves in, however, they were instead imprisoned and
tortured to force them to reveal their leaders.
Of the 50 men, 20 were singled out, among whom Delfin. Their number was further
reduced to 19 when one of them, Nicanor Gonzalez, was released after his pretty mestiza wife,
pleaded on her knees to Col. Monet to spare him.
With Delfin among the 19 were Candido Iban and his brother Benito, Ramon Aguirre,
Tomas Briones, Domingo dela Cruz, Valeriano Dalida, Claro Delgado, Angelo Fernandez, Simeon
Inocencio, Catalino Mangat, Valeriano Malinda, Maximo Mation, Simplicio Reyes, Canuto Segovia,
Gabino Sucgang, Francisco Villorente, and Gabino Yonsal. The group was taken to a camarin, or
warehouse, on Amadeo Street on the night of March 23. There they were severely beaten again and
then shot to death.
In the morning of the following day, March 23, their bloodied remains were paraded
around the town as a warning to would-be rebels against Spanish authority.

Historical Calendar. Manila: National Historical Commission: 1970.
Roces, Alejandro. ed. Filipino Heritage Volume 8. Quezon City: 1975.
Sonza, Demetrio. Illustrious Ilonggos Volume 1. Iloilo City: Iloilo Provincial Historical Society,
Zaide, Gregorio F. “The Nineteen Martyrs of Aklan.” Philippines Free Press. March 22, 1952.

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