Sunday, October 28, 2007

Antonio Luna

Antonio Luna was a Filipino pharmacist, a propagandist and a military general during the Filipino-American war.

He was born on October 29, 1866 in Urbiztondo, Manila to Don Joaquin Luna and Doña Laureana Novicio, both from prominent families of Badoc, Ilocos Norte. He was the younger brother of Juan Luna.

He enrolled at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila where he finished Bachelor of Arts in 1881. At University of Santo Tomas, he won the first prize for his work "Dos Cuerpos Fundamentales de Quimica" (Two Fundamental Bodies of Chemistry). He left for Europe and entered the University of Barcelona where he obtained his Licentiate in Pharmacy. In 1890, he got his degree in Doctor in Pharmacy by the Central University of Madrid.

As a pharmacist, he made researches such as his El Hematozoario de Paludismo which was a scientific treatise on malaria. He then tour the Europe, in countries like Belgium and France and work together with famous bacteriologist like Dr. Latteaux and Dr. Laffen. He was appointed by the Spanish government to study tropical and communicable diseases.

As a propagandist, he contributed to La Solidaridad and used the pen name Taga-Ilog. He wrote an article, Impresiones, that described his observation on Spanish customs and idiosyncrasies. He returned to the Philippines on 1894 and became an advocate in making the Philippines as an Spanish province and the Filipinos enjoying the rights and priveleges of an Spanish citizen. Because of his advocacy for liberalism, he was arrested and deported to Spain. He then left for Belgium where he studied military strategies under General Geral Leman.

In 1898, he returned to the Philippines, and was appointed by Gen. Aguinaldo as Chief of War Operations, and was assigned as a brigadier general. He then established a military academy in Malolos and recruited former generals of the 1896 Revolution as trainors. A Red Cross Chapter was also established. Luna proved to be a strict disciplinarian. For instance, Gen. Pedro Janolino was relieved when his Kawit batallion refused to fight during the battle of Kalookan. Because of his disciplinary measures, he created enemies among officials and civilian troops.

At the Fall of Marilao on March 29, 1899, he was crushed not only by the defeat but by the lack of discipline among Filipino troops. He tendered his resignation but Aguinaldo refused to accept it. He continued to fought gallantly against the Americans in Pampanga, Tarlac and Pangasinan.

On June 4, 1899, he received a telegram from Aguinaldo for a conference in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. When he arrived the next day, he found out that Aguinaldo had moved in Pampanga. He cursed the president and the guards which were the same men he relieved during the Battle of Kalookan. As he was leaving, he was treacherously shot and stabbed by Aguinaldo's men. He was hurriedly buried in the convent.

Antonio Luna's death was a great loss and a deciding factor on the campaign against the Americans. With the most capable general dead, Aguinaldo's troop suffered great losses that lead to the capture of the president.

Antonio Luna - an Ilocano pride. His brilliance as a scientist, his advocacy in liberalism, and his military genius.

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