|1866? – 31 December 1896 (other sources: 6 February 1897)|
|Place of birth:||Tondo, Manila|
|Place of death:||Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park), Manila|
|Mother:||Juana de Jesus|
Early life and education
Plata was born in Tondo, Manila. His father, Numeriano Plata, was training for the priesthood but stopped due to unknown reasons and later taught catechism to children and became a mailman in Tondo. His mother, Juana de Jesus, was a sister of Gregoria de Jesus who became the wife of Andres Bonifacio.
The exact date of Plata’s birth is not known. The date here given is based on the information given by his first cousin, Agapito Plata, who stated that Plata was four years older than him. Even his wife, Espiridiona Bonifacio was unsure of his birth date, stating at one time that her husband was 33 years old when they were married in 1893, then in a succeeding conversationasserting that he was 35 years old during the time of their marriage.
Plata obtained his diploma in secondary education from the Escuela Municipal. It is not known whether he was able to go to college or not.
Plata was appointed as a clerk in Binondo, Manila and he became acquainted with Andres Bonifacio after attending a reception in honor of Jose Rizal on 26 June 1892. In the evening of 7 July 1892, Plata, Bonifacio, and Ladislao Diwa founded the Katipunan after being certain of Rizal’s deportation to Dapitan.
The Katipunan or KKK followed a triangular pattern of initiation during the early years of its existence. Therefore, the three founding members formed the first triangle of the organization. Later on, Plata initiated Briccio Pantas and Valentin Diaz into his triangle. He was the designated secretary of the organization under the presidency of Deodato Arellano and he helped draw the laws of the KKK with the help of Jose Dizon and Valentin Diaz, with Deodato Arellano's concurrence.
In February 1893, when Roman Basa was president of the Katipunan, Plata was made into one of the organization’s counselors. He was already boarding with Diwa in the home of Bonifacio along Santo Cristo Street. It was here that he met Bonifacio’s younger sister Espiridiona, who would later on become his second wife.
In 1894, Plata worked as a clerk in the court of first instance of Mindoro, bringing his young wife along with him. It is for this reason that his name does not appear in the lists of officers of the third (1895) and fourth (1896) supreme councils of the Katipunan.
Plata was summoned back to Manila by Bonifacio in the middle of 1896 for an important meeting. Bonifacio was already thinking of starting the revolution and had named Plata as secretary of war.
After the existence of the organization became known to the Spanish authorities, the members moved outside of Manila and into Caloocan. Bonifacio then held an assembly for planning the revolution and made Plata general-in-chief. However, Plata did not approve of the plan, reasoning that the movement still lacked firearms and ammunitions to start the war against the Spaniards.
Plata went back to Mindoro while the remaining Katipuneros tore their cedula (residence and identity certificates), signifying the start of the Revolution. An arrest order was already waiting for Plata in Mindoro but he was fortunate to have been forewarned by the judge. He took shelter in Marinduque but was still caught by the Spanish authorities.
Plata was brought back to Manila and jailed in Fort Santiago. There are conflicting versions as to the date of his death. The National Historical Institute names him as one of those executed on 6 February 1897 (??) at Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park),along with Apolonio de la Cruz, Vicente Molina, Hermenegildo de los Reyes, Jose Trinidad, Pedro Nicodemus, Feliciano del Rosario, Gervasio Samson, and Doroteo Dominguez. However, E. Arsenio Manuel states that he was actually executed earlier, on 31 December 1896, the day after Rizal's execution.
Plata married 17-year old Espiridonia Bonifacio in 1893. She was the sister of Andres Bonifacio. Plata was already a widower when he courted Bonifacio while boarding in the Bonifacio home along with Ladislao Diwa.
Plata left a son who did not survive. It is unknown, however, if the son was the product of his previous marriage or of his marriage to Bonifacio. His only brother, Hermogenes, also served in the Revolution.
- Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography, Volume 1. Quezon City: Filipiniana Publications, 1955.
- “Ladislao N. Diwa (1863-1930) Co-founder of the Katipunan.” National Historical Institute. (Accessed 9 March 2010).
- “Apolonio de la Cruz (1864-1897) Early Katipunan Martyr.” National Historical Institute. (Accessed 9 March 2010).