VITO L. BELARMINO
(1857 - 1933)
One of the most brilliant major-generals of the revolutionary
a;my, Vito Belarmino was born in Silang, Cavite, on June 15, 1857, to Severino Belarmino, a cabeza de barangay and Damiana Loyola.
After receiving his early education at home, he was sent to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran but was unable to pursue his studies due to the recurrence of a plague in Manila.
At the age of 19, he entered the government service and successively held the positions of teniente mayor, cabeza de barangay, secretary of the local tribunal, and gobernadorcillo. Later, he was appointed Justice of the peace.
During the Revolution, he engaged in various skirmishes with the Spanish forces. In 1896, he, together with Vicente Giron led an attack on the convent and the Spanish guards in Silang. He joined Aguinaldo in the assault against Infantry Battalion No. 72 of the Spanish Army stationed in Talisay, Batangas. In this encounter, Aguinaldo left to him the leadership of the successful attack on the convent and church and on the Spanish guards.
On October 29, 1898, he was placed in command of the province of Albay with others to establish a republican government there and to assume the position of military commander of both Camarines and Sorsogon. He was also given the power to appoint the chief and memhers of the General Staff, the officers of the General Headquarters, rile president and members of the Court-Martial the chiefs and offrcers of the Signal Corps, of the Medical Corps, of the Ordinance Service and of the Quarter Master Corps. He organized the infantry of the province into a regiment and formal artillery batteries which he stationed in Capuntocan, Legaspi, in Cabugao, and at the port of Tabaco, both in Albay. He also organized a company of engineers, and a platoon of cavalry. To all these units were assigned the necessary panels of staff, field and line officers.
At Legaspi, Albay, the Filipino patriots under Belarmino and
General Jose Pawa fought hard against General William Kobbe who had to exert much effort to take the town. On February 8, 1900, Tabaco was captured and on February 23, Naga fell. General Pawa surrendered on March 27, 1900 but Belarmino, after the bloody encounter, organ, ized his own guerrilla outfit and repeatedly harassed American installations in the Bicol region.
After the Filipino-American War, Belarmino went back to his hometown where he retired into private life. Totally blind in 1928, he spent the rest of life in darkness but still managed to serve others His lack of sight was wonderfully compensated by a keen ability to diagnose a person's ailment by merely taking the pulse rate. He was also capable of describing possible remedies so that he came to be popularly known in Cavite as the "Blind Veteran" and the "Wonderful Doctor."
On July 14, 1933, at the age of 76, Belarmino died of a cerebral attack, leaving behind his six children.