The Pulahans of Leyte
Cultist Beginnings
Pulahan Origins
Early Skirmishes
Second Phase of the Anti-Pulahan Campaign
Continuing Military Operations
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More Encounters BUT the pulahanes were not finished. In August 4, 1904, a band of 50 entered Abuyog, killed three policemen and sequestered their arms, burnt the archives, and executed a visitor they met at the entrance of the town. The municipal hall which was made of nipa was splattered with blood all over: on the ground, floor, walls, chairs and furniture,
even the ceiling where some people were hiding.

Then they burnt down the building, robbed Chinese stores, and entered the house of Juan Villote and killed him, saying he was a spy. Villote was a former town president. The raid was led by Baldomero Tisado.

A combined force sent in pursuit came upon an outlaw camp at Tangbaw, in the district of Vito. Ten were killed, several wounded and eight captured. One of those captured was Baldomero Tisado. After this event, authorities believed that the region was again normal. Only seven men were unaccounted for, the balance having been killed or were in jail in Abuyog and Baybay.

A report of Leyte governor de Veyra in August 20, 1906 said 283 cases had been filed in various courts throughout the province, 43 of these for "bandolerismo" and 27 for sedition. Every month, the number of prisoners averaged 97 and the prisons were filled to overflowing owing to those charged with bandolerismo.37

In the meantime, the military and constabulary set up outposts in areas located between Tanauan, Tabontabon, Dagami, Burauen, Julita, La Paz, Dulag and Tolosa. Abuyog was also garrisoned. Because of alarming reports, forces were stationed at Baybay, Palompon, Villaba, San Isidro del Campo and Capoocan. Jaro had a company of regular troops ever since. It was also at this time that a military camp was established in Tacloban.

Expeditions sent to scour the mountains the week after the Abuyog raid produced no results. So government thought that the pulahanes were "convinced of the strength of the loyal forces" and decided to disperse after hiding their arms. "The best known are probably in hiding, while the others have probably returned to their homes, pursuing their regular avocations as peaceful citizens," Henry T. Allen reported.

Those captured during this period were "thin and emaciated and show evidence of exhaustion, loss of sleep and hunger." They said it was difficult to get supplies. Was this proof that public sentiment was turning against the movement? Maybe. But with the US-backed troops using tactics familiar to the military, the risks of helping the pulahanes at this time were getting too great. A lot of volunteers and paid informants roamed around the towns and barrios, that the pulahanes had to avoid roads and trails and were afraid to enter the barrios. 38

In December 5, 1906, a force of 25 constabulary men under Capt. Ham was attacked near La Paz by the pulahanes led by Basilio Samson. Samson and 40 other pulahanes were killed. The Americans lost 5 troopers and three rifles, and Lt. Yates of the constabulary was wounded.39
After La Paz, the pulahanes withdrew to the interior parts of Leyte and became relatively inactive. The intensive campaign waged by the constabulary, regular troops and the Filipino volunteers led by Jorge Kapili, erstwhile of the revolutionary army of Aguinaldo, broke up the large bands. Many of them surrendered or were picked up by the troops.

In June 11, 1907, US troops and scouts under Lt. Jones of the 8th infantry reportedly fired on four suspected outlaws. One was wounded and captured. He turned out to be Faustino Ablen.

However, a story circulated among Ablen's descendants in Ormoc have a different story about his capture. According to Bartolome Ablen, grandson of Faustino's brother Gregorio, American troopers were patrolling in sityo Mahilawon, barangay Mahayag, in Ormoc, when they chanced upon the hut where Faustino lived with his wife and daughter. At that time, Faustino was taking a bath in a nearby spring.

When the troopers came upon his wife, they asked her where Faustino was. Because he left word to tell anybody asking for him where he could be found, she told him where he was, instructing a daughter to accompany the troopers.

Near the spring, one of the soldiers took his gun, aimed and fired. Faustino was hit in one of his eyes and fell. The shot was not however fatal. So they had to carry him in a sling down the mountain to Ormoc town where he was displayed to the populace. Then his captors whisked him away in a boat. His family never heard from him again.40

The picture at the index section of this site would however disprove Bartolome Ablen's claims. The caption at the back of the picture clearly shows that the official version of Ablen's story is authentic. Ablen was captured in Dagami, Leyte which is in the eastern side of Leyte's mountain range.

Ablen's capture ended the campaign. Felipe Ydos surrendered four months later. But pulahanism did not disappear. Some went to Mindanao and started a major uprising of the 1920s known in the Philippine History as "The Colorum Uprising of Surigao".41

From then on in Leyte, the arena of the struggle for independence shifted to parliamentary venues - the Philippine Assembly, the provincial and municipal governments - which, as later events would show, left the masses completely out of the picture. As in more than one decade of armed struggle, the elite leadership once again played their cards to the hilt and continued to dominate the political landscape as never before.*
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