By: Ely Lagajino
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9 (NKJV)
The Commander in Chief of the Commonwealth ordered the Philippine Constabulary (PC) to train teams of soldiers to fight and capture the infamous rebel leader, Teodoro Asedillo, operating in Southern Tagalog and Laguna areas.
Asedillo, a teacher by profession with a patriotic spirit, refused to follow the order of a foreign head of education to use English as a medium of instruction. Consequently, he lost his profession but got another job as Chief of Police in Paete, Laguna.
Later he organized labor unions and founded Anak Pawis. In one of the labor rallies in Manila, two police officers were killed, with Asedillo’s name implicated. Realizing that he would not get a fair trial, he hid in the mountains of Tayabas, where he recruited members of his rebel group.
Asedillo used the Robin Hood principle, raiding supplies of rich haciendas and distributing them to the poor. In return, the poor supported and loved him, but the rich complained as victims.
Alarmed by the unrest and failure of the local police to capture the rebel, the President ordered all PC regional headquarters to send their teams. Each team was given a time limit to arrest the bandit dead or alive. After the expiration time of the assaulting team, another team followed until Asedillo was captured.
Soon the PC teams from Mindanao were dispatched, followed by a contingent from the Visayas and later from part of Luzon. Their operations ended, but Asedillo escaped. Rumors spread that he might be using “anting-anting,” a talisman or magic amulet.
Meanwhile, the Bikol PC headquarters chose Sergeant Satur to lead a team because of his reputation in successfully capturing criminals with “anting-anting.” Being a sergeant, he selected and trained one squad, a manageable number suitable for his tactics to win the rebel through peaceful negotiations.
Soon he and his men became the next assaulting team. The team went from one barrio to another, conversing with farmers about their mission to convince Asedillo to surrender peacefully and defend himself for an impartial trial.