written by Rafael Kayanan
Great Great Grandfather of Christopher Castaneda Sayoc
The Manila Times — Wednesday, August 30, 1967
Hall of Fame, By Sol H. Gwekoh
L. Topacio: builder of Zapote Fort
Had not the brave and fearless General Licerio Topacio y Corcuera of Cavite given way to his young and gallant provincemate, General Emilio Aguinaldo, history would have taken a different course? But instead of assuming the presidency of the Revolutionary Government which was originally offered to him, Topacio let Aguinaldo have it by endorsing wholeheartedly his nomination during the momentous Imus convention in 1897.
When Aguinaldo was advised of his election to this exalted position, he was at his camp in Pasong Santol, a barrio of Imus, busy directing the skirmishes with the Spanish enemy. Despite the summon that he take his oath of office and assume the new post, he refused to leave the battlefield. Only after a second summon had been sent to him that he agreed to go and lead his fellow rebels in the common cause.
Aguinaldo who was grateful to the Imus patriot, sought in return, Topacio’s advice whenever he was faced with serious and perplexing matters that needed immediate and sound judgment from whom he held in high regard and absolute confidence.
It was bruited about that Topacio was the lone associate of Aguinaldo who could approach him and cheer him up from the discouragement which he suffered constantly during the revolutionary days, especially when he started encountering military reverses from the Spanish forces who invaded Cavite and the surrounding provinces.
So solicitous was Topacio for Aguinaldo’s welfare that he even looked after his morale by boosting it whenever he found it exceedingly low, and by making Aguinaldo regain his composure and return him to the enthusiasm and interest in pursuing further the war efforts. In this manner he saved Aguinaldo on several occasions, and saw him rise to prominence and fame.
In the setup of the revolutionary government, Topacio was named a member of the cabinet with his appointment as the ministro de fomento. As his duties were similar to those of the military engineers of today, he became Aguinaldo’s project engineer and supervised the field work of the revolutionary army.
Topacio was the first high ranking Filipino rebel official not only to plan out but also to build actually the fortification of the Zapote bridge in Zapote, Cavite, which General Edilberto Evangelista made good use of in the battle of Zapote in February 1897.
For his invaluable services and outstanding achievements to the revolutionary movement as well as for his extraordinary courage and fighting spirit, Topacio was given the rank of general of the revolution.
A native of Imus, Cavite, Topacio was born on August 27, 1839. He was 85 when he died on April 19, 1925.
Topacio joined the Katipunan secret society soon after its introduction in Cavite province. He was among the first Katipunan members to urge Supremo Andres Bonifacio to wage a revolution against Spain in his desire to put an end to the numerous abuses being committed by the Spanish officials of the administration on the Filipino people.
One of the two local heroes of Imus — the other being Colonel Felipe Topacio who was with Colonels Bonso and Pawe in the command of the Aguinaldo troops that captured the Bonifacio brothers, Andres and Procopio, at Limbon, Indang, Cavite — Topacio was recently honored by the municipal council with the renaming of the town plaza to General Licerio Topacio.