FRANCISCO M. CARREON
(1868- ? )
Born on October 5, 1868 in Cotabato, Mindanao, Francisco M. Carreon was a Katipunero who fought not only in the revolution against Spain and in the Philippine-American War, but also in the Sakay-led guerilla struggle against the United States colonial regime in the Philippines during the early 1900’s until 1906. His father, Espiridion Carreon, was a sanidad militar assigned in Zamboanga. His mother was Jacinta Marcos. It is not clear what made the family move to Manila- one source says that it was due to a local war- nevertheless, Carreon found himself continuing his studies in Trozo, Manila.
When he came of age, he found work as blacksmith in a shop owned by a certain Marcelo Leaño, is earning one peseta a week. Later, he became a machacante in Ylaya, Tondo, this time earning over peseta a day. After a time, he decided to look for another job, and subsequently accepted appointment at the Casa Moneda in Intramuros, which was owned by his uncle, beginning in 1886. Two years later, he enlisted in the Spanish Cuerpo de Carabinero.
It was around this time that he married his fiancée Bibiana Bastida, by whom he had a child who died. In 1892, heeding the call of the Motherland, he joined the revolutionary organization, the Katipuan under the nom de guerre “F.C. Silanganan,” together with his brother Nicomedes, cousin Mariano Carreon, Tomas Rimigio, and Enrique and Cipriano Pacheco. Emilio Jacinto, who was Bonifacio’s right-hand man, was another cousin of his.
Deeply involved in revolutionary activities, and often joining the Supremo and the other Katipuneros in the former's house, Carreon became head of a Katipunan branch called “Silanganan,” whose treasurer was his brother Nicomedes and the fiscal was Mariano Carreon. In 1896, he headed the popular council in Trozo called “Dapitan”.
In 1896, he left the Cuerpo de Carabiñero to take the place of his brother in the Guardia Civil. That same year, beginning in January, he served as councilor of the Katipunan Supreme Council, together with Pantalion Torres, Briccio Pantas, Aguedo del Rosario, Teodoro Plata, and Vicente Molina.
He and his brother Nicodemes were among the many rebels who joined Andres Bonifacio in the house of Juan Ramos, sons of Tandang Sora (Melchora Aquino), soon after the discovery of the Katipunan by the Spanish authorities. Like the others, he tore his cedula upon the instigation of their leader, in a symbolic act of rebellion against heir oppressor. He was singled out by Bonifacio himself to perform dangerous task of returning to Manila and communicating with the other rebels who were directly under the Supremo’s leadership.
A true son of the people, Carreon took part in the Battle of Zapote Bridge on February 17,1897, which took the life of the young general Edilberto Evangelista. While in Imus, he rejoined Bonifacio, and being the latter’s staunch follower, was among those who defended the Supremo in April 1897 in the barrio of Limbon in Indang, Cavite from the attack led by Col. Agapito Bonzon and Jose I. Paua, who were ordered to arrest the Bonifacio brothers for alleged treason. Carreon would subsequently testify in the defense of his comrades during their trial conducted by the military court of the Aguinaldo-led revolutionary government, which found them guilty and order their execution.
Despite this personal setback, Carreon was among those who responded to Aguinaldo’s call to arms in May 1898 following the failure of the Treaty of Biak-na-Bato. Eventually, the Filipinos achieved victory and declared national independence in June 1898, but that victory would be short-lived. In February 1899, hostilities broke out between the revolutionary and American forces. Carreon continued the struggle even after Aguinaldo’s capture in March 1901. He joined the forces of fellow Katipunan veteran Macario Sakay, with whom he organized the Nacionalista Party in the early 1900’s.
Its other founding members were Pascual Poblete, Lope K. Santos, Santiago Alvarez, Andres Villanueva, and Aguedo del Rosario.
When Sakay established the Tagalog Republic, with Sakay himself as President, Carreon was named Vice-President and Executive Secretary, and as such, served as Sakay’s right-hand man and prepared his issuances. Others, including Generals Julian Montalan and Leon Villafuerte and Colonels Felizardo and Lucio de Vega, were each given a military command to take over, while Fidel Noble was named Secretary of War.
Although they were portrayed as common bandits by the American regime, the people continued to support them, providing them food and arms.
For several years, under Sakay’s leadership, Carreon and the others harassed the enemy with their guerilla tactics, agitating the colonial regime, and resisting every ploy to surrender, until the Americans enlisted the help of labor leader and president of the Partido Popular Independista, Dr. Dominador Gomez.
After several meetings with Gomez, Sakay finally agreed to come down from his mountain redoubt, on the condition that he and his compatriots were allowed to carry their guns, and more important, that the Filipinos would be granted permission to form the Philippine National Assembly. Thus, on July 14, 1906, Sakay, Carreon, and the others entered Manila. For a few days, the enemy left them alone. Trusting in the latter’s word of honor; they trekked from one town to another, lionized by the people.
Three days later, Col. Van Shaick, governor of Cavite, invited them a town fiesta in the province. It was to be their undoing. While dancing in the town hall, they were captured and disarmed, while Constabulary troops quickly secured the place, ready to shoot at any false move. They were first brought to a prison ship, forbidden from moving or speaking, and then brought to Manila, where they tried for murder, robbery, and even rape. They were incarcerated in the old Bilibid Prison.
Although they were all adjudged guilty by Judge Ignacio Villamor on August 6,1907, Carreon was given the lighter sentence of life imprisonment, along with Montalan, Felizardo, and Villafuerte, while Sakay, and Colonel De Vega were hanged like common bandits on September 13 the same year. After the execution, Carreon and the others faded into obscurity, seemingly forgotten by the people. It is said that the “best years of his life” were wasted in prison. He was later released through an indulto or pardon. In 1930, he was supposed to have absolved Dr. Gomez of any wrongdoing in his capture and those of his fellow Katipuneros in 1907.
Abad, Antonio K. General Macario Leon Sakay, Was He a Bandit or a Patriot? Manila:
J.B. Feliciano & Sons, 1955.
De Jesus, Gregoria. Mga Tala ng Aking Buhay at mga Ulat ng Katipunan. Maynila:
Limbagang Fajardo, 1932.
Memoirs of General Artemio Ricarte. Manila: National Heroes Commission, 1963
Ochosa, Orlino A. “Bandoleros” Outlawed Guerrillas of the Philippine-American War
1903-1907. Q.C.: New Day Publishers, 1995.
Photo: p. 125, Bandoleros by Ochosa