Philippine Heroes and Heroines-Antonio Luna

General Antonio Luna

Antonio Luna was born in Binondo, Manila on October 29, 1898.He was
the younger brother of Juan Luna, the famous painter. He served
as Editor of La Independencia, whose first issue came out on
September 3, 1898. He was one of the propagandists in Spain
who were working for political reforms in the Philippines. He
contributed articles to La Solidaridad.

At the outbreak of the Philippine-American War, he was appointed
by General Emilio Aguinaldo as Chief of War Operations on September 26, 1898
and assigned the rank of brigadier general. He saw the need for a military
school, so that he established a military academy at Malolos and recruited
former officers of the 1896 revolution for training. He proved to be a strict disciplinarian and thereby alienated many in the ranks of the soldiers.
He fought gallantly at battles in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija
against the better equipped U.S. forces. In the battle at Caloocan,
the Kawit Battalion from Cavite refused to attack when given the order.
Because of this, he disarmed them and relieved them of duties.

On June 2, 1899, he received a telegram from Aguinaldo, ordering him
to proceed to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija for a conference the next day.
When he arrived at the Cabanatuan Catholic Church convent on June 5,
the designated venue, Aguinaldo was not there. As he was about to depart,
he was treacherously shot, then stabbed to death by Aguinaldo's men at
the stairs of the convent. He was hurriedly buried in the churchyard,
after which Aguinaldo relieved Luna's officers and men from the field.

The demise of General Luna, the most brilliant and capable of the
Filipino generals, was a decisive factor in the fight against the
American forces. Subsequently, Aguinaldo suffered successive, disastrous
losses in the field, retreating towards northern Luzon. In less than
two years, Aguinaldo was captured in Isabela by American forces led
by Gen. Funston, and later made to pledge allegiance to the United States.


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