FRANCISCO M. CARREON

(1868-     )

Revolutionary Leader

 

Born on October 5, 1868 in Cotabato, Mindanao, Francisco M. Carreon was a Katipunero who fought not only in the revolution against the Spanish and in the Philippine-American War, but also in the Sakay-led guerilla struggle against the United States colonial regime in the Philippines during the early 1900’s until 1906. His father, Espiridion Carreon, was a sanded military assigned in Zamboanga. His mother was Jacinta Marcos. He acquired his early education at a local school run by Jesuit priest, but had to continue his studies in Manila when war broke out in Jolo. He studied under a “Maestro Martin” at a public school situated along the Benavides street in Tronzo.

           

When he came of age, he found work as a blacksmith in a shop owned by a certain Marcelo Leaño, earning earnin one peseta a week. Later, he became a machacante in Ylaya, Tondo, this time earning one peseta a day. After a time he decided to look for another job, and subsequently accepted appointment at the Casa Moneda in Intramuros, which was owned by his uncle, beginning in 1886. Two years later, he enlisted in the Spanish Cuerpo Carabinero.

         

It was around this time that he married his fiancée Bibiana bastida, by whom he had a child who died. In 1892, heeding the call of the Motherland, he joined the revolutionary organization, the Katipunan, under the nom de guerre “F.C. Silanganan,” together his brother Nicomedes, cousin Mariano Carreon, Tomas Remigio, and Enrique and Cipriano Pacheco. Emilio Hacinto, who became Bonifacio’s right-hand man, was another cousin of his.

          

Deeply involved in revolutionary activities, and often joining the Supremo and the other Katipuneros in the farmer’s house, Carreon became head of the Katipunan branch called “Silangan,“ whose treasure was his brother Nicomedes and the fiscal was Mariano Carreon. In time, became a council or sanggunian. In 1896, he headed the popular council in Trozo called “dapitan,” whose section where Silangan and Alapaap, which were, in turn, headed by Juan de la Cruz and R. Concha.

           

In 1896, he left the Cuerpo de Carabinero to take the place of his brother in the Guardia Civil. That same year, beginning in January, he served as councilor of the Katipunan Supreme Council, together with Pataleon Torres, Briccio Pantas, Aguedo del Rosario, Teodoro Plata, and Vicente Molina.

           

He and his brother Nicomedes were among the many rebels who joined Andres Bonifacio in the house Juan Ramos, son of Tandang Sora (Melchora Aquino), soon after the discovery of the Katipunan by the Spanish authorities. Like the rest, he tore his cedula upon the instigation of their leader, in a symbolic act of rebellion against their oppressor. He was singled out by Bonifacio himself to perform the dangerous task of returning to Manila and communicating with the other rebels who were directly under the Supremo’s leadership.

 

A true son of the people, Carreon took part in the battle of Zapote Bridge on February 17, 1897, which took the life pf the young general Edilberto Evangelista. While in Imus, he rejoined Bonifacio, and being the latter’s staunch follower, was among those who depended the Supremo in the early part of 1897 in Montalban from the attack led by Col. Agapito Bonzon and Jose I. Paua. The later had been ordered by elected revolutionary president, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to capture Bonifacio and his forces. Carreon would subsequently testify in the defense of the Bonifacio brothers during their trail conducted by the military court of the revolutionary government. He would,navertheless,lose his friends through the harsh penalty of death meted out to them.    

 

Later, during the period of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato,he lost his own brother Nicomedes,who was then on the verge of surrendering to the Spaniards, at the hands of fellow revolutionaries who opposed the pact.

 

When the treaty failed, General Aguinaldo on all patriots to fight anew for the Motherland.Carreon was among those who have responded. Eventually, the revolutionists achieved victory and declared national independence in June 1898, but that victory would be short-lived. In February 1899,hostilities between the revolutionary forces and the American military broke out. Carreon continued the struggle even after Aguinlado’s capture by the Americans in March 1901. He joined the forces of fellow Katipunan veteran Macario Sakay, with whom he would organize the Nacionalista Party in the early 1900’s. Its other founding members were Pascual Poblete, Lope K. Santos, Santiago Alvarez, Andres Villanueva, and Aguedo del Rosario.

 

When Sakay established the Tagalog Republic, with Sakay himself as a President, Carreon was named Vice President and Executive Secretary, and such as, served as Sakay’s right-hand man and prepared his general correspondence. Others, including Generals Julian Montalan and de Leon Villafuerte and Colonels Felizardo and Lucio de Vega, where each given a military command to take over, while Fidel Noble was named Secretary of War.

 

Although they were portrayed as common bandits by the American black propaganda, they were loved and supported by the people, who continued to provide them with food and arms.

 

For several years, under their President’s leadership, General Carreon in other harassed the enemy with their systematic guerilla attacks. They unsettled the so-called “peaceful” colonial regime, protractedly resisting every entreaty of the authorities to yield peacefully, until the latter enlisted the help of the renowned labor leader of the Partido Popular Independista, Dr. Dominador Gomez.

 

After several meetings with Gomez, Sakay finally agreed to come down from his mountain redoubt, on the condition that he and his compatriot were allowed to carry their guns, and more important, that the Filipinos would be granted permission to for the Philippine National Assembly. Thus, on July 14, 1906, Sakay, Carreon, and the others entered Manila. For a few days, they were left alone by the enemy. Trusting in the latter’s word of honor, they traveled on foot from one town to another, basking in the adoration of the hundreds of people who followed them. Everywhere they went, they were accompanied by a brass band and offered free food and lodging.

 

On July 17, Sakay, Carreon, and the others were invited by an American colonel, Van Shaick who was then the governor of Cavite, to attend a town fiesta in the province. The acceptance would prove to be their undoing. While dancing at the festive town hall, they were capture and disarmed, with the hall itself being surrounded by Philippine Constabulary troops who were ready to shoot at any move on their part. Trapped, they had no choice but to surrender. They were brought to a prison ship, where they were disallowed to even move or speak. The ship then brought them to Manila. For less than a month, they underwent trial for their alleged crimes of  murder, robbery, and even rape. The likes of Ramon Diokno and Felipe Buencamino, Sr. served as their defense lawyers. They were incarcerated in the old Bilibid Prison.

        Although they were all adjudged guilty by Judge Ignacio Villamor on August 6,1907,Carreon was given the lighter sentence of life imprisonment, along with Montalan, Felizardo, and Villafuerte, while their leader, General Sakay, and Colonel De Vega were hanged like common bandits on September 13, that same year. After the execution, Carreon and others faded into obscurity, seemingly forgotten by the people. Later, Carreon was released through an indulto or pardon. He then joined the Bureau of Labor.          

    

Jocelyn P. Molina

 

 

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