Patriot and Martyr
Domingo Abella was born in Nueva Caceres (now Naga City) to an affluent family. His father, Manuel, was a landowner and businessman in the Bicol Region.
A surveyor by profession, Domingo was also engaged in his father’s business. He was a sportsman who excelled in fencing, sipa and arnis among others. These added to his handsome physical qualities that even the Spanish male populace envied.
Abella threw his support to the Katipunan movement that reached Nueva Caceres and even attended its secret meetings and became active in recruiting more members. He encouraged the Negritos from Mount Isarog to join the movement. Upon the outbreak of the revolution in 1896, the authorities uncovered Abella’s involvement with the rebels. Consequently, he was arrested on charges of rebellion and for plotting to assassinate all the Spaniards in the region. Together with other suspects, he was brought to Manila in chains, aboard the Isarog, in September 1896. At Fort Santiago, Domingo was locked up in a filthy cell where he was whipped, insulted and buffeted by the Spanish soldiers. In a nearby cell, another prisoner, Dr. Jose Rizal, was awaiting trial.
On the 29th of December, a military commission tried the case against the Bicol rebels. In the trial, Domingo allegedly aided Florencio Lerma, who was alleged to have received from Tomas Prieto of Cavite, a shipment of arms to be used in annihilating the Spaniards. Despite failing to prove the existence of the alleged arms, the military court promptly found Domingo and the others from Bicol guilty of rebellion, a crime punishable by death in accordance with article 230 of the Spanish Penal Code.
On January 4, 1897, five days after Jose Rizal was executed, shots were once again heard in Bagumbayan. Domingo and his father, Manuel, and other accused Bicolanos were killed by Firing Squad. Their memory has been printed in History as the Bikolano Martyrs.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography Volume 4. Quezon City: Filipiniana, 1995.
Eminent Filipinos . National Historical Commission, 1965