Gen. Antonio Luna was Assassinated by Members of the Kawit Battalion in Cabanatuan on June 5, 1899.
Luna’s involvement in the 1896 Revolution made him a marked man and was linked with the militant Katipunan by the Spanish authorities. He was charged with illegal association and deported to to Spain in 1897, and imprisoned at the Carcel Modelo in Madrid.
After his release, he studied military tactics and strategy in Belgium, then went back to the Philippines in July 1898. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo appointed him Chief of War Operations on Sept. 26, 1898 and assigned the rank of brigadier general. On January 23, 1899 he was appointed commanding general of the Philippine Army.
Gen. Antonio Luna had a violent temper and a sharp tongue. He fought several battles in Caloocan, Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija against a better armed U.S. troops. At Caloocan, the Kawit Battalion from Cavite defied orders to attack. They told the general that they only took orders from General Emilio Aguinaldo, their townmate. He quickly disarmed them.
On May 5, 1899 the Schurman Commission offered an”autonomy” deal for the Philippines. The remaining members of the Malolos Congress accepted the offer. Luna was against entering into any deal with the Americans. In a Cabinet meeting on May 21, 1899, at Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija he confronted them saying, “To To compromise with the enemy is to have a new era of slavery and suffering! Luna slapped Buencamino, and called everybody a traitor. As soon as he left, the Cabinet told Aguinaldo that Luna was planning a coup d’ etat for June 13.
On June 4, 1899, Luna received a telegram directing him to attend to a conference with President Emilio Aguinaldo at the headquarters in Cabanatuan. He arrived at the place on June 5 but Aguinaldo was not present. He saw some soldiers of the Kawit Batallion whom he had scolded and disarmed months earlier. General Luna slapped a sentry who failed to salute him and proceeded upstairs and saw Felipe Buencamino. They had a heated argument, a rifle shot was heard
and the Luna rushed downstairs. There he was mobbed by the Kawit Battalion. He was stabbed with daggers and was shot repeatedly.
Though wounded, he still managed to walk to the street, away from his attackers. He fell but managed to fire his pistol, but didn’t hit anybody. As he fell, he uttered these words: “Cow….ards! As…sas…sins!” Trinidad Famy y Aguinaldo, Aguinaldo’s mother, was said to be watching the assassination and asked the men, “Nagalaw pa ba iyan?” (Is he still alive?). Upon learning that Luna was dead, Buencamino emptied the general’s pocket and took the telegram that Luna received. He was buried the following day with military honors but his assassins went free.