A footnote now, a chapter then (5)

By: Zeidrick-J Cudilla

ALVA J. HILL, a teacher and lawyer, was privileged to offer his legal services to “Emperor” FlorIntrencherado. In his memoir, he generously described the man as “in his early sixties, with steel-grey hair and a long mustache, well built and heavy for a native Filipino”. Having had the extraordinary opportunity to access the majesty’s extravagance and to converse personally with him, his first-hand account can be considered with scholarly relevance to the story of the “emperor”.

The Friday the 13th incident in Victorias in 1927 was only one of the many atrocities committed by the minions of Intrencherado. The Intrencherandistas tried to level to the ground the houses of the affluent families in Silay. In the town of La Castellana, around sixty kilometers from Bacolod, the pawns tied and flogged three Spanish landowners and captured policemen in duty after throwing sand to their eyes. Municipal records were reduced to ashes in La Carlota, the same type of destruction done in Victorias. However, Intrencherado’s sympathizers were unsuccessful in Bago after the mayor warmly welcomed the rabble-rousers, gave the chance to look around the interiors of the building, and locked them up after the last Intrencherandista entered the town hall to the delight of the men of the Philippine Constabulary.

Back in Jaro, supporters forged an unbreakable allegiance to Intrencherado by barricading the palace complex. Yielding the sharpest of weapons, it looked like the turmoil would have to endure over the next few days. It did. Loyalists increased in number as negotiations between the “royal” household and local government officials went on. After the Philippine Constabulary wired Manila of the ensuing tension, Governor General Leonard Wood hastened to Iloilo and arrived on the morning of May 17 through the presidential yacht Apo.

Hill writes: “After inquiring about [Intrencherado’s] health and chatting amiably with his favorite female attendant,… I explained to her that His Excellency, the Governor General from Manila, had arrived in the harbor on his private yacht, had sent his aide-de-camp out to call upon the Emperor, and that it was his [“emperor’s”] duty to receive the aide with appropriate courtesy and respect.” A plan to take Intrencherado to a hospital in Manila had been hatched and was about to be realized. The American papers read: “When Governor General Wood’s aides got to Intrencherado’s palace, they found an elderly man bedecked in splendor—wearing a uniform with braid and decorations. He saluted them with his sword.” It was already “late in the afternoon” before the robed “royalty” acceded to the protocol.

Hill continues: “What a thrill I experienced as our procession marched peacefully and triumphantly through the opened ranks of the army of the Emperor and entered our car. [Intrencherado] headed for the wharf. General Wood… posed with the Emperor for several photographs; the latter throwing out his chest and beaming with pride.”

While individual accounts by journalist Carroll Alcott and by Hill do not agree as to which vessel Intrencherado was brought, it is of no doubt that he arrived in Manila two days later and was transported to San Lazaro Hospital. Governor General Leonard Wood narrated that “the whole matter has been handled without loss of life… his followers are dispersing to their homes. No occasion for any anxiety.” Three years before, he prophesied the end of the world on February 4, 1929. When that year came, the apocalypse exploded in his face as he was transferred to the Insular Psychopathic Hospital in Rizal. There,Intrencherado wrote letters and gave interviews for the press until he faded away from view with hisdeathin 1935.

Note for editor: This concludes the five-part article for “Emperor” FlorIntrencherado.