Early Katipunan Martyr



Apolonio de la Cruz was on of the early plebeian heroes who responded to the call of motherland to serve unselfishly and offer their lives in the struggle for independence.


There is litter information about the early life of de la Cruz viuda de Lammoglia, offer that Apolonio was born sometime in 1864 and was the only child of Felipe de la Cruz who had her origins in Bigaa, Bulacan. Around the year 1884, de la Cruz who was about twenty years old, married Apolonia Gallardo, a daughter of a Guardia Civil. They had three children, Emigdio, who was born in 1885, Victor in 1889 and Segunda, who were born in 1895.


Like a number of other workers at the painting office of the Diario de Manila where he worked as foreman, Apolonio de la Cruz was a member of the Katipunan, the secret revolutionary society that drew heavily from the working class of its affiliates. With Mapaghiganti (to avenge) as nom de guerre, he was the treasurer of the Katipunan chapter in Tondo, Manila.


The news paper Diario de Manila was published by the Ramirez y Compañia that was located at Num. 40 Calle Beaterio, corner Num. 1 Calle Magallanes in Intramuros, Manila. It had its business and editorial offices at 31 Escolta corner Calle San Jacinto In Binondo, Manila. The printing plant was operated by Filipino workers many of who were member of the Katipunan. They conducted their activities under the unsuspecting eyes of the management who were active and reserved members of the Spanish colonial forces. The Katipuneros did their secret activities during lunch break between 12:00 and 2:30 when the Spanish personnel would take their meals and their siesta. The prints men  would avail of the plant’s furnace to manufacture daggers, knives and lithographic types with which they printed receipts and propaganda and material for the Katipunan. They also held daily meetings, collected dues and conducted initiations of new Katipunan members at the upper floor of the plant. These Katipunero prints men provided the types and expertise to the Katipunan printing press, which published the Katipunan newsletter, the Kalayaan.


Apolonio de la Cruz was a leader in these clandestine activities and held the rank of Jefe. He attended the historic meetings of the chiefs of the Katipunan in Pasig on May 1, 1896 and was entrusted with important documents of the organization.


Sometime before the existence of the Katipunan was exposed in August 1896, he had a petty, if covert, rivalry with a Visayan co-worker, Teodoro Patiño, who was in-charge of tool and equipment. Patiño who was not a Katipunero, was a troubled, and troublesome person. Before he worked at the printing plant, he was a streetcar conductor. Addicted to vice of gambling, he wagered further a day’s receipts at the cockpits and lost all his money. In his attempt to recoup his losses, he wagered further without money and again lost. He barely escaped from the crowd of irate bettors.


Patio’s rivalry with De la Cruz had to do with a two-peso increase in wages that one of them expected to receive from the plant’s general manager, the Spaniard La Front. Since Patiño was close to La Front, it seems certain that the increase would be given to him. This was resented De la Cruz, not mention his co-Katipuneros de la Cruz decided to write La Front an anonymous letter accusing Patiño of secretly selling some of the office equipment. Naturally, this incensed Patiño, who must have suspected the identity of the letter-writer.


Apparently, it was this incident that prompted Patiño to expose the Katipunanto the authorities, and his motive was clear enough: revenge. However, it was his sister, Honoria, a certain Tor Teresa de Jesus, a Visayan nun, who prodded him to do so through Father Mariano Gil, an Augustinian priest. His sister lived in an Augustinian orphanage in Mandaluyong.


Father Gil, who had long suspected the secret society’s existence, lost no time in locating the Spanish authorities, which then raided the printing press on August 19, 1896. Incriminating evidence was found in the possession of De la Cruz, including a punta diamante or ceremonial dagger and a list of Katipunan members. De la Cruz was immediately arrested and thrown to prison with other suspected Katipuneros. Probably, all of them were tortured.


The unexpected discovery of the Katipunan advanced the timetable for the launching of the Philippine Revolution.


As for De la Cruz, he was executed by firing squad on February 6, 1897 together with nine other comrades in the Katipunan, namely Roman Basa, Teodoro Plata, Vicente Molina, Hermenegildo de los Reyes, Jose Trinidad, Pedro Nicodemus, Feliciano del Rosario, Gervasio Samson and Doroteo Dominguez.



Mendoza, Arleen