PIO VALENZUELA

(1869 - 1956)

 

 

  Pio Valenzuela was born in Polo, Bulacan on July 11, 1869.  His parents, Francisco Valenzuela, a capitan mayor, and Lorenza Alejandrino, were affluent.

 

  After he was tutored at home, he was brought to Manila to study at San Juan de Letran College.  In 1888, he enrolled at him University of Sto. Tomas and finished his Licenciado en Medicina in 1895.  He practices his profession in Manila and Bulacan.

 

  In July 1892, when he was a medical student and the Katipunan was barely a week old, he joined this secret organization. He became a close friend of its founder, Andres Bonifacio, and was godfather to the Supremo’s and Gregoria de Jesus’s first child.  After their house burned down, Bonifacio and his family lived with Valenzuela in the latter’s house.

 

  Even before he was conferred the medical degree, he was elected physician of the society in January 1895 and fiscal general in December.

 

  In December 31, 1895 election, he could have won the presidency of the Katipunan Supreme Council had he not refused his compadre Bonifacio’s offer to campaign for him.  He was inducted together with the other elected officials at Bonifacio’s residence on New Year’s Day in 1896.

 

  On January 16, 1896, after spending a two-week stay in Polo, he returned to Manila and took up residence at No. 35 Lavezares Street in San Nicolas.  It was considered a convenient place for him to live and edit the projected Katipunan official organ.  The printing press was transferred from the house of Bonifacio and put under his management with the help of Ulpiano Fernandez, a printer of El Comercio, and Faustino Duque, a San Juan de Letran Student, who were both from his hometown.

 

  He suggested the name Kalayaan for the society’s organ, which Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto approved.  The latter took charge of editing it and upon Valenzuela’s suggestion; Marcelo H. del Pilar’s name was printed as editor with Yokohama, Japan as the place of publication.  This was to mislead the Spanish authorities. 

 

Because of the lack of many printing types, he and Jacinto had to secure them. For each type that was stolen by the four employees of the printing press of Diaro de Manila, Valenzuela paid a peso. Aguedo del Rosario and Apolonio de la Cruz gave him types free of charge.

 

A thousand copies of the first issue of Kalayaan dated January 18, 1896 came out in mid-March. This maiden issue of eight pages published a news item written by Valenzuela under his nom-de-plume Madlang-Away entitled Catuiran? Describing the cruelties of Spanish priest and civil guards of San Francisco del Monte against a poor barrio lieutenant.

 

He distributed copies of this paper in his province, Bulacan. After its distribution to other parts of Luzon, the Katipunan rapidly gained many adherents and sympathizers.

 

He considered the publication of Kalayaan as the most important accomplishment of the Secret Chamber of the Katipunan. This body, composed of only three members, Valenzuela, Bonifacio and Jacinto, was organized in Valenzuela’s Lavezares house in early 1896. In one of its meetings in July 1896, it decided the assassination of the notorious Fray Mariano Gil, parish priest of Tondo who discovered the existence of the Katipunan. Dr. Valenzuela and Bonifacio attempted to execute this plan but failed. Then they distributed at various places letters implicating wealthy Filipinos in the Katipunan movement.

 

He was a member of the Katipunan committee which met with the Japanese Admiral named Canimura and handed to him a memorial to be delivered to the Emperor of Japan beseeching him for help in the Filipinos’ emancipation struggle. He was a signer of this memorial.

 

He administered the Katipunan oath of membership to Isidro Torres, Feliciano Jocson and three others who all proved loyal to the organization. He also organized many branches of the Katipunan in various municipalities of Morong and Bulacan. In April 1896, Valenzuela in the company of Bonifacio and his brother Procopio and Jacinto organized the Katipunan branch in Kawit.

 

He did not neglect his profession. He gave free medicine to the poor.

 

At the secret general meeting called by Bonifacio on the night of May 1, 1896 at sitio Ugong in Pasig, Valenzuela present to the body a motion to solicit contributions to buy arms and munitions from Japan in order to carry out the revolution as early as possible. The motion was carried on condition that it first is submitted for approval of Dr. Jose Rizal who was in exile in Dapitan. Since he was the most highly educated member of the society, he was chosen as the emissary to consult with Rizal..

Accopanying the blind Raymundo Mata, who was supposed to consult Rizal, and Rufino Mugos, he left for Dapitan on June 15, 1896 under the assumed name Procopio Bonifacio aboard the ship Venue. Immediately after their arrival six days later, he and Rizal discussed privately the Katipunan plan. Rizal told him that the revolution should not be started until sufficient arms had been secured and the support of the ealthy Filipinos had been won over.

 

Upon his return to Manila, many Katipuneros came to him to ask about Rizal’s reply and the day set for the revolution. As this would run the risk of exposing the Katipunan to authorties, he was advised by Bonifacio to keep away from the streets and hide from the members. He moved to the house of Dr. Anastacio Francisco and then transferred to that of Maximo Cecilio, a pharmacist. He had to practice his profession at night and at daytime; he went to towns far from Manila in disguise.

 

In preparation for the eventuality that the Katipunan was discovered, Bonifacio assigned him to procure at least 2000 bolos.

 

When the Katipunan was discovered, he fled to Balintawak on August 20, 1986. However, availing of the amnesty offered by the August 30 decree of Governor General Ramon Blanco, he surrendered to the Spanish authorities on September 1.

 

He was detained, tried and deported to Spain when he was tried anew and sentenced to cadena perpetua. He was imprisoned frist in Madrid, then in Malaga, Barcelona, and still later in Manila, Africa serving his term for about two years.

 

He returned to the Philippines in April 1899. In Manila, he was denounced to the American Military authorities as a radical propagandist and once more imprisoned up September of the same year.

 

To suppress in agreesive leadership upon his release, he was made municipal president of Polo. From 1902 to 1919, he served as president of the military division of his district. From 1919 to 1925, he served the people of Bulacan for two terms as provincial executive. As governor, he was uncompromising against graft and corruption in the government.

 

After he retired from politics, he wrote his memoirs on the revolutionary days. He also practiced his medical profession, but only for philanthropic purposes.  He was married to Marciano Castry by whom he had seven children. Early in the morning of April 6, 1956, he passed away in his hometown.

 

 

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