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Biography of Apolinario de la Cruz (1815-1841)


Filipino revolutionary leader, born in Lukban (Tayabas, province of Quezon) on July 22, 1815 and died in Manila on November 4, 1841, who led a rebellion against Spanish colonial rule at the head of a religious organization, the brotherhood of San José, founded by himself.

Little is known about the life of the young Apolinario de la Cruz, unless it came from a wealthy family and firm Catholic convictions, circumstance that had influence in his early religious vocation. He joined the secular order of the Cofradía de San Juan de Dios, associated with the hospital of the same name and one of the few that supported Filipino natives among their members. It was precisely this last feature, the discrimination of the Spanish Church hierarchy towards the native clergy, which led him to make the decision of founding his own religious organization, along with a group of friends the confraternity of San José (1832), after having been expelled from the former for insubordination. Apparently, this brotherhood not covered initially no feature that would make it suspect in the eyes of the authorities, religious or civil, limited to the worship of the Holy; However, was slowly growing in the number of members, spreading to other provinces in the South of Luzon, as well as acquire a more complex organisation governing under parameters similar to the of a secret society (rites of initiation, hierarchy, autonomous financing) with Apolinario de la Cruz, already known as brother polishing, at the top.

Determined to further expand the activity of the brotherhood, Apolinario de la Cruz began to hold meetings in a public way, but failed by the authorities the legal permission because of the distrust of the rest of regular orders. Despite the official ban meetings continued, to the point that one of them, held in October, 1840, there was the arrest of several members and the sending of a protest by the own Apolinario de la Cruz, which focused their criticism on the Franciscan friars, who had not allowed the release of the prisoners against the orders of the provincial Governor. In the following months the Polish brother don't give up in the effort that the authorities recognize the Guild San José claiming that their activities do not quebrantaban any law, but he always ran into a negative rotunda; Consequently, its members were forced underground.

Finally, in the course of one of those clandestine meetings held in the town of Isabang (Tayabas) on October 11, 1841, a contingent of government troops commanded by the provincial Governor Joaquín Ortega tried to stop them by force, but they were severely decimated by the brethren, well-organized and superior in number. Despite the victory achieved, the seriousness of this event - the Governor Ortega fell died in the skirmish - he said the fate of Apolinario and his followers, that pursued by several columns were forced to take refuge in a Fort on the banks of the Alitao River. Decided to not accept the surrender, Apolinario challenged the authorities naming King the Tagalogs and Supreme Pontiff, but could do little against the assault of the Government forces: nearly a thousand rebels died in the battle while he was captured on October 30, apparently betrayed by one of his own men.

Judged and sentenced to death in summary judgment, Apolinario De la Cruz was shot a few days later, and his body quartered and exposed in public for derision of his followers. However, it was so severe the punishment that subsequently earned a reproach from the Madrid authorities to the Governor of the Islands.


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