BEFORE Leon Kilat's arrival in Cebu, the Cebuanos were already organized under the following structure: Candido Padilla, chief; Teofisto Cavan, secretary; Alejandro Climaco, treasurer; and Atilano Lopez, Frisco Abriyo, Luis Flores, Eugenio Gines, Florencio Gonzales, Lucio Herrera, Jacinto Pacaña, Francisco Llamas, Arsenio Cabreros, Justo Cabajar and P. Toribio Padilla as members.
They would often meet in secret places, sometimes in the house of Cabeza Llamas or the Chinese Lucio Herrera. Or at Jacinto Pacaña's place or at the house of Capitan Candido Padilla. Andres Abellana would relate that the house of Paulino Solon in Sambag (where the Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital is now located) was used often because it was secluded and had plenty of trees. Solon (also known as Paulino Bungi) had a huge front yard where a tamarind tree stood and benches made of wood or split bamboo.
No exact date is given when Leon Kilat arrived for his final mission in Cebu. Some sources say he arrived in Mid-February or late March of 1898. But according to Andres Abellana in 1928, Kilat visited him sometime in December 1897. Afterwards, he was introduced to other cabecillas and leaders of the local chapter.
But before him, Kilat had already met Mariano Hernandez, one the organizers of the katipunan. Kilat had hesitations about Abellana being a former capitan who might report him to the authorities. Abellana in turn had his own apprehensions about Kilat whom he suspected of being a spy who was just fishing for information.
Thus, Abellana told him he did not want the Spanish regime to fall. Still Abellana would introduce him to other ring leaders like Candido Padilla and Florencio Gonzales who, like Abellana, refused to trust him.
"Nagkinidhatay lang ug mibalidad," recalled Abellana.
Finally, they brought him to Mariano Hernandez who showed them Aguinaldo's letter introducing Leon Kilat. The letter erased all their doubts, and they were happy that the man they had waited for was here at last.
In the meantime, the propaganda materials prepared and compiled by Domingo and Plata reached Cebu through Anastacio Oclarino and Gavino Gabucayan in January 1898. The latter had instructions to organize the katipunan in the Visayas and Mindanao and prepare the plan of establishing a dictatorial government. But this would not materialize due to the arrest and execution of Cavan and Gonzales.
In the instruction of Plata and Domingo, the persons appointed to lead this government were: Florencio Gonzales, as general in chief; Luis Flores, general for war plans; Jacinto Pacaña, supplier of weapons; Lucio Herrera, treasurer of war; Solomon Manalili, auditor; Candido Padilla, captain of the army; Fortunato Gonzales, lt. col. of the army and Bonifacio Arenas, division colonel. Mariano Hernandez was the supreme military authority who appointed the members of the macheteros (bolomen) against the cazadores, the bodyguards of Gen. Montero.
Aguinaldo's letter must have superceded the order of Domingo and Plata because it was Leon Kilat who had now assumed the leadership of the katipunan. He met with Luis Flores, Florencio Gonzales, Alejandro Antequia and Crisologo Franco Bermejo in whose presence he organized barangay no. 1 with Flores as chieftain in Sawang, Cebu City.
In the town of San Nicolas, he made contact with Teopisto Cavan in his house, then requested him to fetch Gregorio Padilla. In a meeting with the latter, Leon Kilat asked the latter not to divulge the plan of the revolt if he valued his own life. Then he organized barangay no. 2 with Padilla as chief of San Nicolas.
Leon himself assumed command of the katipunan army in the same locality, ordering every person to produce bladed weapons following certain measurements and telling each one to remember him only as Leon Kilat.
The katipunan was growing fast. While Leon Kilat was in Cebu, many young men were drawn to the organization. In the workplaces where abaca was being processed and in commericial houses, very few were not members of the katipunan. The young men of San Nicolas and the city Cebu were one in their aspirations for the motherland. In practically all places, there were groups headed by their own jefes, ready to fight.
Then an important meeting took place on March 11, 1898 at the sugar cane field of Jacinto Pacaña where it was decided to start the revolt on April 8 (Good Friday).The suggestion was brought up by Catalino Fernandez who argued that the all the Spaniards would be joining the procession on Good Friday and their guns would be facing down and without cartridges. They could take all the leaders in one blow with the least resistance.
Present in that meeting were the leaders of the katipunan in Cebu: Leon Kilat, Candido Padilla, Luis Flores, Eugenio Gines, Florencio Cavan, Jacinto Pacaña, Atilano Lopez, Francisco Llamas, Alejandro Climaco, Justo Cabajar, Alejo Miñoza, Hipolito Labra, Placido Datan, Alipio Barrera, Alejandro Villona, Nicanor Avila and others. They resolved to keep their agreements in secret that not even their wives, parents or brothers and sisters would be told about their fateful decisions that day.
They also conspired with the members of the voluntarios leales (royal volunteers) that in case of a shooting match with katipuneros, they would fire over their heads. Or they would aim their guns at the Spaniards should the latter refuse to surrender. Everybody in the meeting agreed.
That same March 11 meeting decided to send three leaders to Manila for military training. Francisco Llamas was told to leave immediately, bringing money and bladed weapons with him. Nicolas Godines and Eugenio Gines would follow later. This they did to avoid detection by Spanish authorities who were getting more and more suspicious of people going on boat trips to Manila.But these activities could not go on without being detected by the Spanish authorities. By the middle of March 1898, they began to notice certain conditions in the city and San Nicolas. Rumors floated about the existence of a secret society. Many of the katipuneros, especially those who frequented Manila, were placed under surveillance.