Romualdo Leysan was an officer of the Spanish colonial army assigned to the corps of
artillery. He was also the army’s chief of personnel. Although he belonged to the enemy side, his
best friend and confidante was a Katipunero named Antonino Guevara Mendoza, who became an
active organizer and ranking official of the revolutionary movement south of Manila. Leysan was
probably the Katipunan’s source of information regarding the movements and strengths of the
colonial forces. His friend, Guevara- who was also known by his nom-de-guerre “Matatag”- was a
source of confidential information about the Katipunan for the Spaniards. Leysan was warned
beforehand of the projected outbreak of the Philippine Revolution on August 23, 1896.
After the defeat of the Spaniard following Deweys’s victory at Manila Bay, Leysan defected
to the Filipino side and given the rank of lieutenant in the revolutionary army. In 1899, he
commanded the artillery brigade in Central Luzon and was given the rank of colonel. Later, he was
assigned to lead the Filipino forces under General Tomas Mascardo, which were fighting along the
towns of San Fernando and Porac in Pampanga. Mascardo appointed Leysan as his chief-of-staff
and ordered him to manage his headquarters in Dolores, Pampanga. One of the officers of Leysan’s
staff was a young captain named Manuel L. Quezon.
According to Quezon, Leysan was a brilliant officer whose knowledge of tactics brought
victories against the Americans in many skirmishes in the Pampanga-Bataan area. “Leysan had
served with ability and distinction as an officer of the Spanish Army,” said Quezon. “Mascardo
rightly considered him to be our chief-of-staff.”
General Mascardo divided his forces in Bataan into three commands. Leysan was given a
field assignment covering the area from the town of Bagac to Morong in Bataan. At the same time,
he stayed on as his chief-of-staff. Other commands were under Colonel Vitan-who operated from
Abucay to Dinalupihan, including the area between Bataan and Pampanga- and Quezon, from
Balanga to Mariveles. At the war’s peak he was ordered to plan the attack on the American line in
Angeles from three directions: from the “north, east and west”. He was likewise ordered to
command the third area of defense in Bataan, from Bagac to Morong in the west.
The historian Agoncillo cites a “Major Leisan” as being one of those ordered arrested (the
others being Lt. Col. Vitan, and Captains Ricafort, Martinez Ibañez and Quimzon) “for
insubordination” by General Antonio Luna in June 1899.
Leysan was believed to have surrendered to the Americans, following Mascardo’s own
surrender, upon learning of the capture of Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901.
Agoncillo, Teodoro A. Malolos: The Crisis of the Republic. Quezon City: University of
the Philippines, 1960.
Guevara, Antonino Mendoza (Matatag). History of One of the Initiators of the Filipino
Revolution. Translated into English by Onofre D. Corpuz. Manila: National Historical
Intendente Militar, 1897, Tomo-, Expediente 262, Folleto 98 (11 de Octubre de 1897,
Manila) [Document found in the National Archives]
Quirino, Carlos. Quezon :Paladin of Philippine Freedom. Manila: Filipiniana Book