Ruperto Kangleon

Ruperto Cadava Kangleón (March 27, 1890 – February 27, 1958) was a Filipino military figure and politician. He was a native of the municipality of Macrohon in the province now named Southern Leyte.

Ruperto Cadava Kangleón
Senator of the Philippines
In office
December 30, 1953 – February 27, 1958
Secretary of National Defense
In office
May 28, 1946 – September 1, 1950
PresidentManuel Roxas
Elpidio Quirino
Preceded byAlfredo Montelibano
Succeeded byRamon Magsaysay
Military Governor of Leyte
In office
October 23, 1944 – May 28, 1946
Personal details
Born(1890-03-27)March 27, 1890
Macrohon, Southern Leyte, Captaincy General of the Philippines, Spanish Empire
DiedFebruary 27, 1958(1958-02-27) (aged 67)
Manila, Philippines
Political partyLiberal
Military service
Branch/servicePhilippine Army
Commands81st Infantry Regiment, PA
92nd Infantry Division, PA (1944-1946)
Black Army (1942-1944)
Battles/warsWorld War II
*Battle of Leyte

Kangleón was the acknowledged leader of the Resistance Movement in Leyte during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II. As such, his guerrilla forces helped pave the way for the American Leyte Landings on their return to the Philippines in 1944.

Before the war, Colonel Kangleon was replaced and re-joining the group of soldiers under the pre-war 92nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in the General Headquarters in Leyte during the Liberation. And after the war, Ruperto Kangleon served as the Philippine Secretary of National Defense under Presidents Manuel Roxas and Elpidio Quirino.

World War IIEdit

Military serviceEdit

Kangleon was a former Lieutenant Colonel and was the commanding officer of the 81st Infantry Regiment[citation needed] of the 81st Division, USAFFE on 1942 at the general headquarters in Samar. The ordered to proceed to Davao where he and his men valiantly fought the troops of the Japanese Imperial army during the Japanese Invasion and Occupation. He was captured by the Japanese Imperial Army forces and was put to prison in the Japanese Internment Camps in Agusan. He managed to escape from prison in December 1942, and returned to Leyte, where he formed as a guerrilla movement.[1]:123 With the help of Iliff David Richardson, Kangleon was able to establish contact with Col. Wendell Fertig on Mindanao.[1]:126,135,140 Soon after the Battle of Baybay, against Miranda's guerrillas on 15 Aug. 1943, Kangleon was able to consolidate and unite all forces on Leyte.[1]:141–143 Kangleon then moved his headquarters from Maasin to Don Lorenzo's Casa in Malitbog.[1]:168 In Nov. 1943, under orders from Col. Fertig, Kangleon, Richardson, and other guerrilla leaders were in Mindanao to coordinate activities, and meet the submarine USS Narwhal delivering American aid.[1]:168–178 However, by then the Japanese had made the Casa, in Malitbog, their headquarters for southern Leyte.[1]:229 On 1 Feb. 1944, Kangleon's forces went on the offensive, which included attacks on Japanese garrisons at Anahawan and Linoan, forcing the Japanese to not venture away from the coastal towns of southern Leyte.[1]:219–224

Kangleon's GuerrillasEdit

Kangleon's contribution to the war was the reason for his appointment to the defense portfolio. He led a number of guerrilla organizations, among the fiercest, with the greatest reach and had undertaken numerous operations against the Japanese Imperial Army in Visayas and sometimes in other islands was the dreaded Black Army.

The Black Army was the main force of Kangleon that led in the liberation of Leyte Island during the last phase of the war. The island served as the United States Army entry point into the Philippine Archipelago when the U.S. invaded and defeated the Japanese. One of the highlights of the ferocious battle against the Japanese Army was the raid on Camp Buga-Buga that was an extremely difficult objective to take. It was a huge network of camps entrenched in large caves that opened into the face of insurmountable cliffs in Southern Leyte.

Leyte LandingEdit

Col. Ruperto Kangleon reporting to General Douglas MacArthur.

When the Allies led by General Douglas MacArthur landed on Battle of Leyte, Kangleon's guerrillas assisted them and three days later, on 21 October 1944, Kangleon was recognized as the overall commander of guerrilla forces on Leyte, the 92nd Division.[2]:12 Gen. MacArthur personally pinned on Kangleon the Distinguished Service Cross of the United States of America, a decoration awarded for extraordinary heroism in combat witnessed by Philippine President Sergio Osmeña as well as commanders of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, at the Leyte provincial capitol building.

Later careerEdit

Secretary of National DefenseEdit

Kangleon became Leyte’s civil governor upon the re-establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth under President Osmeña. On May 28, 1946, he was appointed Secretary of National Defense by President Manuel Roxas, the first of the Commonwealth and the Republic of the Philippines, in the same way that Kangleon was the Defense Secretary during the closing American colonial rule and held the position upon the declaration of independence on July 4, 1946. But due to policy differences with the next president, Elpidio Quirino on the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Kangleon resigned as Defense Secretary on August 31, 1950. Kangleon was trying to ask President Quirino to remove the generals whom he considered deadwood to which the President disagreed.


Kangleon’s resignation from the Cabinet paved the way for his entry into the politics. Kangleon ran for Senate even without the endorsement of the incumbent President Quirino. He became senator and was appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Pensions and vice chairman of the Committee on National Defense and Security. He championed the cause of the Filipino veterans by filing bills and resolutions for their welfare and advancement. However, even before he could finish his six-year term in the Senate, Sen. Kangleon succumbed to myocardial infarction on February 27, 1958, exactly a month away from his 68th birthday.

The Filipino nation led by President Carlos P. Garcia mourned his untimely death. Sen. Kangleon was buried at the Manila South Cemetery on March 4, 1958, and was reinterred in his hometown of Macrohon, Leyte on February 27, 1994. [3]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wolfert, I., 1945, American Guerrilla in the Philippines, New York: Simon and Schuster
  2. ^ Prefer, N.N., 2012, Leyte 1944, Havertown: Casemate Publishers, ISBN 9781612001555
  3. ^ "6th Secretary of National Defense". Department of National Defense, Philippines. DND. Retrieved 4 May 2020.