Ramon Padilla was one of the 13 martyrs of Bagumbayan. He was a Mason and a member
of the Katipunan.
Padilla at the time of the outbreak of the Revolution in 1896 was said to be a clerk at the
Comandancia de la Marina (Navy). He had joined the reform movement and later the Liga
Filipina during its founding by Rizal in 1892. Along with countless others, he was arrested by the
authorities following the discovery of the Katipunan. The discovery was triggered by a personal
squabble among employees of the Diario de Manila, one of them- Teodoro Patiño- over an
expected pay increase. Many of the employees were Katipuneros. Patiño was not. Enraged by a
poison letter directed against him, Patiño betrayed the existence of the secret revolutionary society
to a Spanish friar, who immediately reported the matter to the military authorities. A crackdown
followed on suspected subversives and masons, whose homes were ordered searched from 1
October to 25 November 1896. In the list of those searched was one “Ramón Padilla y García”.
However, in his list of the “Bagumbayan Martyrs”, Zaide gives “A.” as his middle initial.
Imprisoned and tortured, Padilla and 12 others, including Roman Basa, who also was a clerk at the
Marina, were marched to Bagumbayan Field on January 11, 1897, and shot - a tragedy among the
Masons whose ranks were decimated during those days that historian and Mason Teodoro Kalaw
called “that period of terror.” Ramon Padilla is the last name in his list of martyred Masons.
An interesting detail about the otherwise largely undocumented life of Padilla concerns his
almost tragic confrontation with Emilio Aguinaldo.
Apparently, Aguinaldo had an altercation with Padilla, and felt aggrieved by it. According
to him, Padilla tried to impress people with his superior air, but only succeeded in showing how
rude and uncouth he really was.
The incident came to light shortly after Aguinaldo was inducted into the Katipunan.
Noticing his glumness, Bonifacio, who was with other high-ranking Katipuneros, asked him the
reason for it. Aguinaldo told him of his previous experience with Padilla. To assuage what he
considered Aguinaldo’s sullied honor, the Supremo immediately sent Dr. Pio Valenzuela and Jose
Dizon to the house of Padilla for redress, by way of an apology. If Padilla refused to offer one, the
two emissaries were to act as seconds to a duel.
Santiago Alvarez, who was also present, teased Aguinaldo about being nervous over that
prospect. Aguinaldo was infuriated. As it turned out, however, there was not going to be any duel.
Dr. Valenzuela and Jose Dizon returned and informed everyone that Padilla had decided to
apologize to Aguinaldo.
History might have taken a different course had he not done so.
On 20 December 1916, the municipal board of Manila named in his honor a small park on
Alvarez, Santiago V. The Katipunan and the Revolution. Translated into English by
Paula Carolina O. Malay. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1992.
Bauer, Charles A. “More Street Names of Manila and their Origins”, Historical Bulletin.
Volume XVI, Nos. 1-4 (January-December 1971) p. 383.
Kalaw, Teodoro M. Philippine Masonry. An English translation from Spanish [by]
Frederic H. Stevens [and] Antonio Amechazurra. Manila: Frederic H. Stevens, 1955.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography. Volume I. Quezon City:
Filipiniana Publications, 1955.
________________. Dictionary of Philippine Biography. Volume II. Quezon City:
Filipiniana Publications, 1970.
Zaide, Gregorio F. Great Filipinos in History Manila: Verde Book Store, 1970.]
______________. The Philippine Revolution. Manila: The Modern Book Company,