ISIDORO TORRES

(1866 - 1928)

 

 

  General Isidoro Torres was a scion of one of the prominent families in Bulacan. Like the del Pilars, Santoses, Rojases, Aldabas, Teodoros, Gatmaitans and the Hernandezes, his family gave a legacy of revolutionaries.

 

  He was born on April 10, 1866 to Florentino Torres and Maria Dayao, in Matimbo, Malolos, Bulacan. He learned his first lessons in cartilla under Maestro Jose Reyes, took his grammar education in Malolos, finished the first and second years of the secondary course in the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and obtained his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Santo Tomas.

 

  His popularity derived from the social ascendancy of his family and also from his active participation in the affairs of the community. In 1882, barely aged 16, he was involved in a plot to kill Father Moises Santos, the parish priest who imposed exorbitant church fees. Due to the social position of his family, he was exonerated during the trial.

 

  In 1890 he was a cabeza de barangay, a position he held for two years. While a cabeza de barangay, he joined the Katipunan. With Deodato Arellano, Doroteo Karagdag, Juan de Leon and Manuel Crisostomo, he organized the Sangguniang Lalawigang Balangay Apoy, a chapter of the Katipunan in Bulacan.

  When the secret society was discovered, he narrowly escaped arrest. He fled to Masukol, Paombong, Bulacan where he gathered 3,000 men from Hagonoy and Tondo.

 

  On November 20, 1896, the Spanish gunboat Napindan blocked the Masukol River. Bloody engagements occurred. In spite of the enemy’s superiority in arms, his men held them off in Bustos, San Miguel and Kalumpit. He was better known as Matang Lawin in the revolutionary circle. He attained the rank of Colonel when the fighting raged around Biak - na - Bato. In June 1897, he was appointed Brigadier General by Aguinaldo upon the organization of military departmental zones in Central Luzon at Mt. Puray.

 

  Upon resumption of hostilities against the Spanish government in the Philippines in 1898, he was again in the battlefields. Together with General Geronimo, they captured Macabebe, Pampanga on July 3, 1898. He represented Balabac in the Malolos Congress. He headed the 6,000 man strong Filipino Army that marched in the parade at the inauguration of the Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899.

 

With his contingent, he fought in the invasion of Manila under the command of General Antonio Luna.

 

  He was appointed Director of Arms, Assistant Secretary of War and later military governor of Bulacan. Up[on the establishment of the Central Government of Luzon under General Pantaleon Garcia in 1900, Torres as politico - military  governor, conducted guerrilla warfare against the Americans. But the better trained and equipped Americans were victorious everywhere. And with the illustrados collaborating with the Americans to attain peace and induce the surrender of leading Filipino generals, the spirit and strength of resistance was gradually dissipated.

 

  In the battle, he avoided suicidal assaults by his men on the enemy. For this he was at one time placed in military confinement. To him, “the life of a man is a thing of much value, especially to those who love him.” He ordered his commanders to avoid summary executions without review and the hasty approval of cases of “war criminals.”

 

  When peace was restored in Bulacan, he was offered the governorship. He refused it and instead sailed for Singapore, then Japan where he stayed for sometime. He came home in 1903. With his wife Amalia Bernabe, he peacefully settled in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija where he became justice of the peace from 1910 to 1912. He was elected municipal councilor and later delegate to the Philippine Assembly.

 

  After his death on December 5, 1928, a research on his life was conducted by the National Historical Committee. Consequently, a marker with an inscription briefly narrating his life was installed in his birthplace.

 

 

 

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