Today in Philippine History, October 4, 1869, Francisco Roman was born in Alcala, Cagayan

Tuesday October 02, 2012 ()

Colonel Francisco Roman   
(Colonel Francisco Roman. Photo credit: Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin )   
On October 4, 1869, Francisco Roman, revolutionary leader and military aide to General Antonio Luna, was born to Jose Roman, a Spaniard, and Pelagia Velasquez, a Tagalog, in Alcala, Cagayan.

Roman, a tobacco manufacturer helped the revolutionary government by donating money from his own pocket. He was enlisted as a soldier during the Filipino-American war.

Roman is considered the hero of the Caloocan battle that drove the Americans back to Azcarraga Street in Caloocan City in February 1899.

On June 5, 1899, Roman was assassinated together with the General Antonio Luna at the casa parroquial in Cabanatuan, Neueva Ecija by soldiers of the Kawit battalion. The following is an account on the Luna and Roman assassination extracted from an article Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin:

Today in Philippine History,   October 4, 1869, Francisco Roman was born in Alcala, Cagayan

On June 4, 1899, Luna was directing the establishment of a guerilla base in the Mountain Province from his headquarters in Bayambang, Pangasinan Province, when he received a telegram summoning him to a conference with President Emilio Aguinaldo in Cabanatuan, 75 miles (120 kms.) away. He immediately left for his appointment accompanied by Col. Francisco "Paco" Roman, Maj. Simeon Villa, the brothers Maj. Manuel Bernal and Capt. Jose Bernal, Capt. Eduardo Rusca, and a bodyguard of 25 cavalrymen.

If he had not been bogged down by his wounds, Colonel (later General) Benito Natividad, who was then General Luna’s top aide and a Nueva Ecija native, could have accompanied Luna to Cabanatuan instead of Colonel Roman.

On June 5, Luna and his party arrived at the outskirts of Cabanatuan but the broken bridge threatened to delay the whole party. The impatient General left his escort and proceeded to his summons accompanied only by Colonel Roman and Captain Rusca. At about 3:00 p.m., they arrived at the casa parroquial (convent) in Cabanatuan where the Philippine Republic was holding office.

The first man the general met was an officer he had disarmed in Angeles for cowardice. His famous temper provoked, General Luna slapped a sentry who failed to salute him and, upon being informed that Aguinaldo had already left for San Isidro, Nueva Ecija (Aguinaldo actually went to Bamban, Tarlac Province), he ran upstairs and saw Felipe Buencamino. They exchanged heated words.

A rifle shot was heard and the general rushed downstairs to investigate, and there, waiting for him, were Capt. Pedro Janolino and members of the Kawit Battalion of Cavite Province. These were the same soldiers who had refused to take orders from Luna during the battle at Caloocan on Feb. 10, 1899; as punishment, Luna had disarmed and relieved them of their duties.

The men mobbed him. Luna was stabbed with daggers and shot. Mortally wounded, he still managed to stagger to the street, away from his assassins. He fired his pistol, but didn't hit anybody.

Colonel Roman (born Oct. 4, 1869 in Alcala, Cagayan), came to his defense but was shot to death. Captain Rusca also tried to assist the stricken general but was shot in the leg. He took refuge in the nearby church.

As Luna fell on the convent yard, all he could say was "Cow....ards! As...sas...sins!"

Aguinaldo's mother, Trinidad Famy y Aguinaldo was said to have watched the killing. She shouted "Nagalaw pa ba iyan ?" (Is he still alive?).

One of the assassins nudged Luna's body with his boot. The general was dead.

Buencamino emptied Luna's pockets and took the telegram that Luna had received.

The following day, Luna was buried with military honors but the assassins went free.

After Luna's death, Aguinaldo ordered all chiefs of brigades under Luna arrested.

It is said that Roman never left Luna's side throughout their battles in Central Luzon. Even in the end, Colonel Francisco Roman never left General Antonio Luna's side as they were buried beside each other in the Cabanatuan Cemetery.

Colonel Roman was married to Juliana Piqueras who bore him two children named Juan and Carmen.

References:
Philippines News Agency archives
Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin


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