Julio Llorente (May 22, 1863- 1940) was a Cebuano leader who fought against the Spaniards and aided in appeasing the guerillas during the American Administration.
Julio Llorente y Aballe was born in Cebu on May 22, 1863. He born to one of the wealthiest families in Cebu. His father was Don Ceferino Llorente, a Spanish who owned several inter-island vessels and a sugar estate in Medellin.Julio Llorente's mother, Martina Aballe, was a Cebuano from Argao, a town located south of Cebu.
Llorente was educated in a private school in his hometown. He then had the opportunity to go to the city of Manila in 1876 and study at Ateneo de Manila. Afterward he left for Spain and there he obtained a degree of Doctor of Laws in 1881 at the Universidad Central de Madrid. Llorente was then admitted to the bar and practiced law in the foreign country.
It was during this time that he got acquainted with Jose Rizal and other personalities from the Propaganda Movement. He got involved with this movement through some articles he regularly contributed to La Solidaridad. He was also a member of the editorial staff of the newspaper España en Filipinas published by the Filipino reformists. Moreover, he was a member of the nationalist society called R.D.L.M which was founded by Jose Rizal in Paris, France.
Llorente came back to Cebu where he occupied several positions in the Department of Justice. He was a substitute magistrate in the Audiencia of Cebu and later on served as a teniente alcalde segundo from 1892-1893.
The outbreak of the Revolution in Cebu was marked by the revolt that occurred on April 3, 1898 at Valeriano Weyler Street, now known as Tres de Abril. Llorente was arrested in his mother’s house and taken to a prison called Cotta de Cebu. He was imprisoned for suspected links with the revolution together with other urban illustrados like Don Pedro Cui and Don Isidro Guivelondo. Even though Llorente was never considered the forefront of the revolution he was still tried by a Military Tribunal created by the Spaniards and sentenced to death. He remained in prison for 10 months. It is said that Segismundo Moret, ex-minister of the colonies, intervened with the sentence and helped free Llorente. Another account states that it was the Treaty of Paris and his association with the Propaganda Movement that saved Llorente’s life. On December 24, 1898, the Spaniards left Cebu. By the time the Americans had arrived in February 1899, Llorente was free to interact with the other local leaders of that time.
On February 23, 1899, the day after Cebu was surrendered to the Americans, Luis Flores convened a meeting of top officials in the provincial government of Cebu. The purpose of the meeting was to decide on the request of the Americans for local officials to continue in office. The main issue that arose was who held legitimacy in the government. Flores and those on his side contended that they had still had authority as a civil government; however Arcadio Maxilom and those on his side argued that the moment Flores surrendered Cebu to the Americans, the legitimacy was passed on to the military government. What resulted was the creation of two governments: the civil government headed by Flores and Llorente and the military government headed by Juan Climaco and Arcadio Maxilom.
A popular junta was convened in Cebu on April 16, 1899 for the purpose of electing a new set of provincial officials. Flores resigned from his post and Julio Llorente was elected provincial President of Cebu by a popular junta composed of representatives from 40 out of 58 towns in Cebu.
Llorente showed support to the Americans even though they had some reservations about him. Nonetheless they considered him as a better alternative than Flores. With Maxilom and Climaco establishing their own government, Llorente now had to fight for the legitimacy of his own government. He attempted to do this by undermining the government established by Maxilomand Climaco. An example of how Llorente tried to undermine the military government of Maxilom and Climaco was by cutting off their salaries from public funds. In fact, on May 15, 1899, Llorente decreed the abolition of Maxilom’s government and authority over towns.
In May 4, 1899 Julio Llorente, President of Cebu, warned the people that they are not to furnish money or food to persons in the military service. He also informed Arcadio Maxilom that the latter’s office has been abolished. These moves are part of the leadership struggle between the insurgent Maxilom and the pro-American Llorente.
The Philippine Commission established a civil government in Cebu on April 18, 1899. They appointed Julio Llorente as the Governor. The commission also promulgated Public Act No. 116 by virtue of which San Nicolas is joined to Cebu City and ceases to be a separate town. Llorente’s term as provincial president, however, was only short-lived because upon the outbreak of hostilities between the Americans and the resistance movement on August of 1899. Lt. Col. Thomas Hamer took over as military governor. Llorente was only to relinquish this post with the establishment of civil government in Cebu upon the visit of the Taft Commission on April 17-18, 1901. By this time Llorente was already a member of the Federal Party, which was the party strongly supported by Taft himself.
The Taft Commission announced their appointments for the Cebu provincial government on April 18, 1901. The list of officials were Julio Llorente as governor, Leoncio Alburo as secretary, Lt. Fred S. Young as treasurer, Maj. James E. Case as supervisor, and Miguel Logarta as fiscal.
By August of 1901, Llorente’s provincial government made stringent pacification efforts to put the war between the Americans and insurgents to an end. Townspeople were urged not to show support to the guerillas. Together with the Americans, Llorente established a peace commission that would aid in talks with the guerilla leaders. By December 1901, insurgent leaders had already surrendered and the war was formally put to an end.
On February 3 to 5, 1902, the first election for governorship in Cebu was held. There were two candidates for the governorship. The first was Julio Llorente and the second was Juan Climaco. Llorente was succeeded by Climaco as governor of Cebu.
After his term as governor of Cebu, Llorente was appointed as governor of Samar in 1902. In 1903, he was named judge of first instance of the 12th district which included Leyte and Samar. Within a few months, he was transferred to the 4th district which included Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija. This latter position was the position he held for the next ten years.
It is mentioned that Llorente sold all his properties in Cebu and lived in Manila, feeling that he was not given due recognition by his fellow Cebuanos. It was in Manila where he died a “poor and largely forgotten man” in the 1950s.
- Wani, Rhoda. 2005. The Lives of Luis Flores, Julio Llorente, Juan Climaco and Arcadio Maxilom: Collaboration and Resistance in Cebu, 1898-1902. http://kas207.blogspot.com/2005/11/lives-of-luis-flores-julio-llorente.html (accessed May 2, 2008)