Revolutionary Martyr from Bicol
Mariano Ordenanza is considered as one of the 11 martyrs from the Bicol Region during
the Philippine Revolution.
At the time of his arrest by the Spanish authorities on suspicion of sympathizers with the
revolutionary cause, he was an employee of the Obras Publicas, or public works department, of the
colonial government. Arrested with him were several of his co-employees namely, Mariano
Melgarejo, Florencio Lerma, and Camilo Mercado.
The spread of the revolution in the Tagalog-speaking provinces sparked fears among
Spaniards that it might soon reach the Bicol region with Bicolanos among its sympathizers if not
active participants. The mass arrests conducted by the authorities in Manila snared a member of
the Masonry from Bicol, Vicente Lukban, who later became one of the generals of the revolution.
Lukban was alleged to have mentioned the names of certain men from Nueva Caceres as leaders of
a planned revolution. Acting on this information, the authorities arrested Manuel Abella, a
prominent businessman; Tomas Prieto, a pharmacist; Fathers Inocencio Herrera and Severino
Diaz, priests connected with the Cathedral of Nueva Caceres, and Camilo Jacob, another coemployee
of Ordenanza in the Obras Publicas.
Tortured and deceived, they in turn were supposed to have mentioned the names of others
people who were also arrested and detained.
When the prison at Nueva Caceres became crowded, Ordenanza and other detainees were
shipped on the mail steamer Isarog to Manila.
On December 29, 1896, they were tried by a military tribunal along with prisoners from
other parts of the country. The courtroom was packed with rabid pro-Spanish spectators who
madly applauded every time a point was made against the accused. The case against them was
weak, relying as it did mainly on the professed wish of Ordenanza and the others to see the
emancipation of their country from Spanish oppression. However, that alone, according to the
prosecutors, was seditious and treasonous.
At the end of the trial, 11 prisoners from Bicol --- Fathers Inocencio Herrera, Severino Diaz
and Gabriel Prieto, Father Prieto’s brother, Tomas, Mariano Valentin, Florencio Lerma and his coemployees
Camilo Jacob, Cornelio Mercado, Mariano Melgarejo, and Domingo Abella --- were
ordered executed at Bagumbayan on January 4, 1896.
Ordenanza and two others, Ramon Abella and Mariano Araña, escaped the firing squad.
He was sentenced to 20 years’ incarceration at the Bilibid Prison in Manila, while Abella and Araña
were ordered deported to the west African island-prison of Fernando Po.
Ordenanza succumbed to disease and maltreatment at the Bilibid sometime in 1897.
Agoncillo, Teodoro, A. Revolt of the Masses. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.
Galang, Zoilo M. Encyclopedia of the Philippines. Manila: 1935.
Insurreciones y Rebelliones. Bundle No. 62.
Quirino, Carlos. Eminent Filipinos. Manila: National Heroes Commission, 1961.
Reyes, Jose Calleja. Bikol Maharlika. Quezon City, 1992.