Leon Kilat: Hero of the Battle of Tres de Abril
The Philippine Revolution started in August 1896 when the secret society KKK (Kataástaasan, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng̃ mg̃á Anak ng̃ Bayan) was discovered by the Spanish colonial authorities.
Although the main battlefronts were in Manila and surrounding provinces, other islands followed suit and joined in the quest to liberate the islands from the Spaniards.
The Revolt of Cebu was started not by its own son but by another from a neighboring island. Born in Bacong, Negros Oriental on July 27, 1873, Pantaleon Villegas was the son of Don Policarpio Villegas and Doña Úrsula Soldi.
Commissioned by General Emilio Aguinaldo, Leon Kilat organized Cebuano revolutionaries upon dispatched. They initially planned to start the revolt on Good Friday but preempted by its discovery.
So, on April 3, 1898, in what was known to be as Battle of Tres de Abril, Leon Kilat and the Cebuano revolutionaries launched the uprising. The following day, they gained control of the city as the Spanish soldiers retreated back to Fort San Pedro.
When the reinforcements from Manila arrived on Maundy Thursday, Leon Kilat went down south and found his way to Carcar thinking that he might be safe as the town was far from the sea and out of reach by cannons.
Unbeknownst to him though that his untimely demise would happen in Carcar. Inside the house of Timoteo Barcenilla, the conspiracy of local leaders to assassinate Leon Kilat took place. Led by his aide-de-camp Apolinario Alcuitas, the plotters subjugated and bludgeoned to death a sleeping Leon Kilat. His rifle was used to smashed his head.
At five o’clock in the morning of Good Friday, the conspirators dragged the lifeless body of Leon Kilat to the town plaza for all the people to see. The sight was a chilling reminder and stern warning against any quarter who will fight against Spain.
On August 2, 1926, the Bacong municipal government exhumed the remains of Leon Kilat and transferred and finally laid to rest in his hometown. In 1926, a monument was erected in front of the town hall during the presidency of A. S. Ausejo.
On July 27, 2008 on the occasion of his 135th birth anniversary, the National Historical Institute installed a marker as a recognition to the heroic deeds of Leon Kilat.