Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Filipino Martyr: MACARIO VALENTIN
Revolutionary Martyr from Bicol
One of the 11 martyrs from the Bicol region who were executed by the Spanish authorities
at Bagumbayan during the Philippine Revolution, Macario Valentin of Nueva Caceres, now the city
of Naga, in Camarines Sur, was a night watchman at the Obras Publicas (Public Works) of the
The outbreak of the revolution in the Tagalog provinces in August 1896 fueled fears among
the authorities that it might spread to other parts of the country, particularly the Bicol region.
Already, they had instituted a reign of terror which resulted in the mass arrests of Filipinos
suspected of professing separatist views. The capture and interrogation of Vicente Lukban, a
member of the Masonry from Bicol, produced an alleged confession implicating prominent
residents of Nueva Caceres as active members or sympathizers of the Katipunan. These were
Mariano Abella, Tomas Prieto, Camilo Jacob, and Fathers Severino Diaz and Inocencio Herrera.
Valentin’s name was not included in the alleged confession of Lukban. He may have been
implicated by only one of the other arrested suspects who, like Lukban, underwent severe torture
and were tricked with false promises into naming supposed filibusteros among people they knew.
Valentin was one of five employees of the Obras Publicas who were arrested on suspicion
of abetting a projected rebellion against the Spaniards. The four others were Mariano Melgarejo,
Florencio Lerma, Cornelio Mercado, and Camilo Jacob. Only Jacob was mentioned in the Lukban
confession. They were jailed at the tribunal, where they were beaten and starved.
On September 19, 1896, they were taken with other prisoners to the vessel Isarog, which
sailed for Manila. Upon arrival in Manila, they were accorded treatment reserved for traitors, an
ordeal which lasted until December 29. On that they, Valentin and 14 others from Bicol faced a
military court jammed with Spanish spectators calling for their blood. The prosecution had no
significant evidence against them, not even the alleged confession of Lukban or that of Tomas
Prieto, who was one of the indictees. Yet, according to the prosecutors, their having openly
professed the wish to see the Philippines emancipated form the oppression of the Spaniards was
enough to find them guilty of sedition and treason.
Valentin and 10 others were sentenced to die by firing squad, while two of their codefendants,
Mariano Araña and Ramon Abella, were ordered exiled to Fernando Po. A third,
Mariano Ordenanza, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
On January 4, 1897, gunfire rent the air amid the lusty cheers of the Spanish spectators as
the so-called “eleven traitors from Bicol” were executed at Bagumbayan Field.
Galang, Zoilo M. Encyclopedia of the Philippines. Manila: 1935.
Manuel, Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography Volume 1. Quezon City: Filipiniana
Reyes, Jose Calleja. Bikol Maharlika. Quezon City: 1992.