Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Filipino Martyr: JOSE TURIANO A. SANTIAGO
JOSE TURIANO A. SANTIAGO
One of the stalwarts of the Katipunan, Jose Turiano Santiago was born in Trozo, Manila on
July 13, 1875. His parents were Jose V. Santiago and Telesfora Acosta.
Santiago was the half-brother of Restituto Javier, who was also a prominent member of the
Katipunan prior to their unfortunate expulsion from it in 1895. His father-in-law, Jose Dizon, a
founding member of the secret revolutionary society, was later martyred in Bagumbayan.
He was already affiliated with the Katipunan when he married Marina Dizon, who had
served as president and secretary of its women’s auxiliary. Their wedding took place on September
16, 1894 in the church of Binondo. He would eventually sire eight children: Jose Cirilo, Restituto,
Resurrecion, Jose Vicente, Pilar, Luz, Isabel, and Jesus.
It was during their engagement that Santiago and his would-be wife witnessed, along with
other ranking Katipunan members and officers such as Roman Basa, Dr. Pio Valenzuela, the
wedding of Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus according to Katipunan rites, at the house of
Santiago’s half-brother Javier.
Santiago is remembered in history for his impassioned toast to Rizal during a Katipunan
meeting on July 23, 1893. Following Emilio Jacinto’s own intense invocation at the end of the
meeting, he emotionally declared, “Cheers for the Philippines! Cheers for Liberty! Cheers for the
eminent Dr. Rizal! Death to the nation of oppressors!”
A Mason, Santiago joined the Katipunan in its early days in 1893, along with Briccio
Pantas, Alejandro Santiago, Aurelio Tolentino, and many others. Driven by revolutionary zeal, he
was among those tasked to organize Katipunan popular councils in the key areas of Manila in the
latter part of 1893. Trozo, his place of birth, was the area assigned to him, and there he founded
the Katipunan arm “Dapitan,” named after the place of exile of Rizal, the Katipuneros’ noble
inspiration. Its two sections were “Alapaap” (cloud) and “Silanganan” (east). Simultaneously,
other councils were organized: “Laong-laan” in Dulong-Bayan, “Ilog-Pasig” in Binondo, and
“Katagalugan” in Tondo, all meant to spread the Katipunan’s ideals and eventually obtain freedom
for the Filipinos. Subsequently, other branches were established, particularly in Cavite, as the
revolutionary movement grew and expanded.
Recognized early for his ability and leadership, Santiago was named secretary of the
Katipunan’s Second Supreme Council, which was under the presidency of Roman Basa, during a
reorganization meeting in early 1893. Its other officers were fiscal Andres Bonifacio, Treasurer
Vicente Molina, and councilors Briccio Pantas, Teodoro Plata, and Teodoro Gonzales. In 1895, he
served the council once again as secretary. He also served as councilor along with Procopio
Bonifacio, Alejandro Santiago and Restituto Javier.
In 1895, Santiago and Javier were expelled form the Katipunan on the ground that they
were traitors. It seems that a Spanish priest-professor of UST, Fr. Evaristo Arias, had, in some
way, gotten hold of a letter written in the Katipunan secret code. Since the Spanish husband of
Santiago’s half-sister, Felicula Javier, happened to be a friend of the priest, Santiago and Javier
unfortunately became the likely suspects, although they were never truly proven guilty. With his
departure, Emilio Jacinto replaced him as secretary in the Katipunan Supreme Council.
Soon after the discovery of the revolutionary organization in August 1896, the governorgeneral
ordered a crackdown on suspected rebels. Houses were searched and countless individuals
were arrested, including Santiago. Together with Dr. Valenzuela, Deodato Arellano, Teodoro Plata,
Aguedo del Rosario, and others, he was questioned in Spanish courts before his case was finally
settled. His brother, Restituto, was charged with sedition and rebellion, and tried before the
council of war, prior to being banished to the Canary Islands in 1897. His father-in-law, Dizon,
was arrested and executed in the fields of Bagumbayan on January 11, 1897. His wife Marina
fortunately was spared imprisonment, but was nevertheless placed under constant watch. He was
eventually released on September 11, 1897 and, subsequently, was able to get back into the
mainstream of society.
He actively rejoined the fight for freedom during the second phase of the Revolution. In
1898, the revolutionary government called upon him to serve as representative of the province of
Nueva Ecija in the Malolos Congress.
When the American military captured Manila in 1898, Santiago and his wife fled to the
safety of Meycauayan, Bulacan, and thought of returning a little when the situation warranted it. A
year later, however, the Filipino-American War erupted. Consequently, the couple joined the
embattled revolutionary forces in escaping towards Tarlac.
At war’s end, they returned to Manila, where they tried to live in peace once again. But
their troubles were not over as yet, for no sooner had Santiago resumed his profession as
accountant under a previous employer than he was exposed as an insurgent to the authorities.
Thus, once more, he left Manila for Hong Kong, temporarily leaving his wife and children.
From 1902 to 1904, he worked as cashier, assistant manager, and general manager of the
Abreu, Newbury and Reyes Office. Thereafter, he worked as accountant and secretary of the Globe
Drug Store from 1917 to 1924.
In 1924, he finally became a full-fledged accountant by acquiring his certificate in public
accountancy. He then served as auditor for various companies in Manila.
During the late 1920’s, the National Library appointed him president of a committee
composed of several former Katipuneros tasked to investigate the veracity of the papers of
erstwhile Katipunan member Colonel Pedro Cortes. Among other things, the papers alleged that
Teodoro Patiño divulged the secret society’s existence in a confession to Fr. Mariano Gil, and that
the latter, in turn, reported it to the authorities, thereby breaking the sanctity of the confessional.
However, Santiago denied these allegations, stating officially that it was Bonifacio himself who
allegedly ordered Patiño to divulge the Katipunan’s existence to the said priest, to hasten the
Santiago died during the Japanese occupation.
Agoncillo, Teodoro A. Revolt of the Masses, The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan
Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1996.
Cornejo, Miguel R. Cornejo’s Commonwealth Directory of the Philippines ,1939
Kalaw, Teodoro M. Philippine Masonry. Translated into English by Frederick H. Stevens
and Antonio Amechazurra. Manila: McCullough Printing, 1956.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography. Volume I. Quezon City:
Filipiniana Publications, 1955.
Minutes of the Katipunan. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1973.
Retana, Wenceslao O. Archivo del Bibliofilo Filipino, Recopilacion de Documentos. Tomo
Tercero. Madrid: 1897