Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Filipino Martyr: FRANCISCO V. ROMAN

Francisco Roman was born in Alcala, Cagayan on October 4, 1869 to Jose Roman, a
Spaniard, and Pelagia Velasquez, a Filipina. He was the first cousin of the Palma brothers, Rafael
and Jose, who also figured in the history of Philippine revolution.
Roman and his family moved to Manila after his father, a licensee of the tobacco monopoly
system in Cagayan, decided to put up a tobacco factory at Tanduay Street in Manila. After some
years at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, his father sent him to Hong Kong to study commerce.
When his father died, the tobacco factory was left in his care. He transferred the factory in
Ilaya Street in Tondo and named it La Commercial. At the outbreak of the revolution in 1896,
Roman saved himself from being implicated by volunteering in the cavalry of the colonial regime.
But at the advent of the Filipino American War in 1899, he considered the Filipino cause his own.
He contributed financial support to the revolutionist and eventually joined the forces of General
Antonio Luna, then the Director of War of the Revolutionary Government of Aguinaldo.
General Luna named Roman a member of his General Staff and became his first aide-decamp,
with the rank of colonel. They worked together in fighting the Americans in Central Luzon.
On February 23, 1899, Colonel Roman led about 500 revolutionary soldiers and successfully
penetrated General MacArthur’s left flank in Tondo. He worked with the forces of Major Rosendo
Simeon de Pajarillo in pushing back the Americans to Azcaraga Street. Their limited ammunition
hampered what could have been a feat for them; thus, they retreated through the marshes of
Colonel Roman was at the convent of Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija in the afternoon of June 5,
1899, the fateful day when their compatriots assassinated General Luna. Roman rushed beside the
fallen general but upon realizing that he was also a target, he escaped towards the house of a fellow
revolutionist, Benigno Solis, where he was eventually stabbed and shot. He died at the age of 30,
leaving his wife Juliana Piqueras and two children: Juan, who later became a physician, and
Francisco Roman was buried beside General Luna at Cabanatuan Cemetery. Years later,
only the remains of Luna were successfully located and recovered.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography Volume 1. Quezon City: Filipiniana
Publications, 1955.
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.

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