Emilio Jacinto, the young general who was known as the “Brains of the Katipunan” was recently honored in Magdalena, Laguna, during his 120th death anniversary.
The event called “Peregrinasyong Jacinto,” held in front of the municipal hall where a statue of Jacinto was unveiled in 2017 was organized by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino led by its chair National Artist Virgilio Almario with the support of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
It was marked by performances from the local rondalla group, a theatrical performance by the Teatro Pingkian, and a lecture on Jacinto by historian Xiao Chua.
Among its honored guests is former tourism secretary and heritage advocate Gemma Cruz Araneta who, during a speech exalted the life of Jacinto.
“Kailangan natin ang kaniyang mga paninindigan lalong-lalo na sa mga panahong ito (we need his convictions specially during these times),” she said.
Almario on his part said Jacinto should be celebrated not only as a military leader but a writer who is comparable to Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio.
He said Jacinto has a substantial body of works and that the whole framework of the Katipunan ideology is reflected in his writings.
Among his works are the “Kartilya ng Katipunan” with Bonifacio and essays such as the “Liwanag at Dilim” and “A La Patria.”
He was also the editor of the first and only issue of the Katipunan’s newspaper Kalayaan which was published in 1896.
Jacinto was born in 1875 in Trozo, Manila, (now an area in Tondo between Abad Santos and Rizal Avenue). He studied at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran and later took law at the University of Santo Tomas.
In a battle in Magdalena, Laguna, in February 1898, he was struck by a bullet in his hip, was brought to the convent of the town’s church, and jailed in nearby Santa Cruz.
Chua explained he was released from jail because he pretended to be a spy for the Spaniards and later became a beef trader.
He said Jacinto died in April 1899 after contracting malaria.
Jacinto is often overlooked but he is comparable to other great heroes of the country because of the pieces that he wrote, explained Chua. —CONTRIBUTED