In commemoration of Bonifacio Day on November 30, the following article highlights the life of Valentin Diaz, one of the founders of the Katipunan or K.K.K., the secret society that started the Philippine Revolution of 1896, and that of his cousin Eulalio Diaz who fought the Americans during the Philippine-American War.
A Pact sealed with Blood 1: The Diazes of Paoay
By George M. Hizon
The Katipunan, also known as the K.K.K. is probably the most famous secret society formed in the Philippines. The movement’s acronym, the K.K.K. stood for Kataastaasan Kagalanggalangan na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan and its ultimate aim was to establish an independent Philippine state. Although many articles were written about the Katipunan, little was written about its members, except for Andres Bonifacio. This article is dedicated to two of the Katipunan’s members, Valentin Diaz and his cousin Eulalio Diaz, who even after surrender of last Filipino general to the Americans, have tried to revive the struggle for Philippine Independence in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
Valentin Diaz Katipunan Co-Founder and Treasurer (1849-1916)
Due to the secrecy that shrouded the life of many of the Katipunan’s members, little is known of the early life Valentin Diaz. Records show that he was born on November 1, 1849 in Paoay, Ilocos Norte to Geronimo Diaz and Maria Villanueva. In 1857, his family moved to Tayug, Pangasinan. Again, nothing is known of the educational background of Diaz. But it can be presumed that he studied because in 1857, he became the gobernadorcillo of Tayug. Moreover, he and his family must have been influential, for the Spanish authorities awarded such positions only to members of important families.
Exactly when and how he came to live in Tondo is not known. But when the reformist movement, the La Liga Filipina was formed by Dr. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio at Ilaya St. in Tondo, Diaz was listed as one of its founding members. On July 6, 1892, the La Liga was dissolved following the arrest of its founder, Dr. Jose Rizal. The following day, former La Liga members decided it was time to set up a more radical movement. It was named the Katipunan, and its aim was to overthrow the 350-year old Spanish Government in the Philippines. In a darkly lit alley in Manila, with 72 Azcarraga St. as address, the men gathered and performed an ancient blood compact (incision on the left forearm) and signed their papers of membership with their own blood. Among the Katipunan’s founders were Deodato Arellano, Ladislao Diwa, Andres Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Jose Dizon and Valentin Diaz. Valentin Diaz later served as the Katipunan’s treasurer.
During the outbreak of hostilities between the Filipinos and the Spaniards, Diaz fought as a major in the revolutionary army of Andres Bonifacio. When a ceasefire agreement between the Filipinos and the Spaniards was promulgated on Nov, 1, 1897 (the Pact of Biak na Bato), Diaz became one of its signatories. Later, he joined General Emilio Aguinaldo in exile in Hong Kong because this was one of the conditions stipulated in the agreement. When the hostilities between the Filipinos and the Spaniards broke out again, Diaz was brought back from exile and fought with the armies of General Francisco Makabulos and then Colonel Servilliano Aquino in Central Luzon ( from the book “Filipinos in History”, vol. 3, by the National Historical Institute). They first laid siege on the town of Dagupan, Pangasinan. On June 22, 1898, Colonel Ceballos, the commander of the Spanish Army in Pangasinan surrendered to the advancing Filipino forces. On July 1, Makabulos along with 700 of his men laid siege on the Spanish garrison in Tarlac. Ten days later, the garrison surrendered. Later, Bienvenido Flandes, Francisco Gomez Gonzales, Inocencio La Fuente, and Jose Maria Ovellana signed the terms of capitulation for the Spanish Government while the winning Revolutionary army was represented by Valentin Diaz and Jose Bunuelos. A total of 1,500 Spanish prisoners were captured and about 1,300 firearms were confiscated.
During the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), Diaz once again served in the Philippine Army as a colonel. He was first under the command of Artemio Ricarte and later, Antonio Luna. Both were famous Ilocano generals.
In 1916, Katipunan co-founder Valentin Diaz died in Manila at the age of 67. Today, Valentin Diaz is memorialized with a national heritage marker at his birthplace in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
After a two-year exile in Guam, General Artemio Ricarte and Apolinario Mabini were brought back to the Philippines by the U.S. authorities in early 1903. Upon reaching the Manila dockport, Mabini pledged his allegiance to the United States of America. He was very sick and died soon after. Ricarte, on the other hand, did not. He escaped and tried to foment another rebellion.
Emboldened by Ricarte’s escape, a group of former Ilocano revolutionaries tried to incite another rebellion in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. Foremost among the leaders of this group were Eulalio Diaz, Canuto Butardo, Valentin Butardo, Sergio Sadang Sr., Sergio Sangcali, Sotero Abutan, Panfilo Paclibari and Eugenio Raganit. Eulalio Diaz was the cousin of Katipunan co-founder Valentin Diaz. Like Valentin, little was known of Eulalio’s early life although records show he was once the gobernadorcillo of Paoay.
During the Philippine-American War, Diaz fought as a guerilla leader in Fr.Gregorio Aglipay’s army. In the book “The life and church of Gregorio Aglipay 1860-1960”, the authors Pedro S. de Achutegui and Miguel Anselmo Bernad described the guerrila’s actions ‘they came out in large numbers, from their hiding places, and the Americans retreated to Batac where houses were also set on fire. The Americans were reinforced from Laoag, and the Filipinos after a running battle which lasted for several hours were almost successful in driving out the new aggressors’. But Aglipay was captured in 1902. Later, Diaz and remnants of his forces went underground.
In 1903, Diaz would resurface as an instigator of another revolt. From the last days of June up to the first week of July, 1903, Diaz took his followers in the outskirts Paoay (in the remote forest of Buga, Sulcue, Pias and Baranio) and formed a secret society called the Kanayonan, an equivalent of the Katipunan but based in the countryside of Ilocos Norte. The group’s aim was to overthrow the U.S. colonial government in the Philippines. A blood compact similar to the one that took place in Manila in 1892 was conducted as the new members were sworn ‘to defend the country with the last drop of their blood’.
But even before the first shots of the new rebellion was fired, a traitor turned against Diaz. On August 25, 1903, Eulalio Diaz, Valentin Butardo, Canuto Butardo, etc. were charged with conspiracy to commit rebellion and sedition. It was a much publicized trial that lasted for a year and became the ‘highlight’ of the new Anti-Sedition Law passed by the U.S. administration. On April 16, 1904, all of them were found guilty of the charges and were sentenced to 6 years imprisonment with hard labor, to pay a fine of $5,000, gold and the cost of the prosecution. “The penalties of imprisonment, hard labor and gold bars were very heavy. It was probably meant to discourage future acts of rebellion and sedition during the American period” according to grandson Eulalio “Galland” Diaz III. Diaz III is a practicing lawyer
Earlier, in March 29, 1904, General Artemio Ricarte, one of the instigators of the revolt was captured in Mariveles, Bataan. His dream for another rebellion to take place in the Ilocandia region was dashed with the incarceration of Eulalio Diaz and members of his Kanayonan.
On April, 1904 however, another rebel took over from where General Ricarte and Eulalio Diaz left. His name was Macario Sakay and he would raze havoc on the U.S. forces from April, 1904 to July, 1906.
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To LRA (Land Registration Authority) chief Eulalio “Galland” Diaz and Vicente “Enteng” Villarama, thank you very much for the valuable information.