Sunday, December 30, 2007


I have seen for myself the evidence, in your own handwriting, that must have convicted you. The original of a letter you wrote in 1893, in your own elegant hand, presented at Trial in 1896, but hidden for nearly a hundred years in a Spanish monastery. Words you wrote from the depths of your heart in dark Dapitan, proclaiming, defending and glorying in the Shipwreck of your Faith! A veritable handwritten confession to Capital Apostasy that merited, in the eyes of the Court, no less than execution and death. But how and why such stunning and definitive evidence came before the honorable Court transcends all other mysteries surrounding the events leading up to December 30. Why that evidence was then hidden away by the Jesuits is for me the most telling sign of a guilty and uneasy conscience on their part. In shame and guilt, they just had to HIDE the murder weapon. It would seem that your "friends" and "mentors" tried to bend you to their will one last time, but in failing to do so, succumbed themselves to the essential vanity and venality of absolute power: the power over the right to life, and not just liberty or the pursuit of happiness. They failed to win your surrender by dangling the possibility of a Catholic marriage to Josephine, insisting you "retract" to win such permission. They did not know about the Miscarriage, it seems... But never, never had these Men in Skirts suffered such a bitter intellectual and moral defeat as at your hands with, "Nego supositum!" Three hundred years of Jesuit pride of place in the Archipelago were not to be upended by one willful and self-aggrandizing indio, who somehow managed to master the Castillian language and refute three centuries of Spanish colonial education policy.

Pablo Pastells convicted you after realizing how you had toyed with him and refuted the dogmatism he thought still prevailed in the world. They had no choice. Here was an utterly religious man of science who denied their version of Catholicism. The Jesuits silently pronounced the first of what has become a famous annual imperative (or expletive): Fuego!

Your family knew the truth, which is why in 1911, when you had become, by American ingenuity and genuine admiration of your fellow countrymen, the National Hero, your sisters refused the Jesuit Order the high honor of officiating at your final funerary rites. The honor was bestowed on the Masonic Temple of Tondo, in honor of many fallen revolutionary heroes, for your transfer from digs at the old Paco Chinese Cemetery to the present lonely Monument by the Sea at the Luneta.

There of course, to this day, you are guarded day and night, lest you get out and cause more trouble.
Martyrdom becomes you.

In some ways, Pepe, you had to die. Just like Jesus Christ before you, and Ninoy Aquino and Benazir Bhutto...

Your literature broke the hypnotic spell of the Spanish Taliban, the stifling hand that for centuries endeavored by official fiat and conscious policy to deprive the indios of the knowledge of the world, of language and tradition, of history and religion. You proved that morality is not the same as religion. You stole the light of language and lit a prairie fire with it that singed the Spanish to their balls and their armpits. As the inventor of Damaso and Ibarra, of Maria Clara, Dona de Espadana, Basilio, Simoun, Padre Florentino, and dozens of other memorable characters with Shakespearean vitality and variety, you have yourself become immortal as part of our imagination and history. Your thoughts and words, your literature, are already there, suffusing our hearts and minds even before we know it.

I think I know why the Americans chose you. They sensed a creative kindred spirit, like Thomas Jefferson or Ben Franklin in you, though I prefer an analogy to Miguel de Cervantes cum Mark Twain. Too bad neither Andres Bonifacio nor Emilio Aguinaldo amounted to George Washington.

But you Sir, belong to the Aristocracy of all humanity. Even America sensed that immediately. You would be right at home in the 21st Century. And of course, here at Philippine Commentary, you most certainly are.

Here, you are loved and cherished, not worshipped.


john marzan said...

i'm glad America was there to pick the National Hero for us.

stuart-santiago said...

i would think that even if america had not intervened (kahit hindi sila sumawsaw), jose rizal would be as loved and cherished as he is now.

blackshama said...

Rizal was our first science literate Pinoy. He was a Darwinist. Too bad we don't have someone as devastatingly witty as him now. What would he say about the Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo, Born Again, Ang Dating Daan, El Shaddaiu and all religious fundamentalists who impose their unscientific ideas on the State and the people in the name of "conscience"?

Rizal is our National Hero of Science.

john marzan said...

"Rizal was our first science literate Pinoy. He was a Darwinist. Too bad we don't have someone as devastatingly witty as him now."

what about djb rizalist?

blackshama said...

If DJB Rizalist can impress the Germans and not just us tontos Indios pero los bravos,then why not? :)

PS: Forget the Spanish. They were never the center of science advancement in Europe or anywhere.

RR said...

"In some ways, Pepe, you had to die. Just like Jesus Christ before you, and Ninoy Aquino and Benazir Bhutto..."

Wakanga! Same liga na pala si NInoy, Benazir Bhutto at Mang Pepe kay Jesus Christ. Kailan pa yan?

DJB, mula ng sumabit ka kay Gloria panay na lipad ng isip mo. Kahawa yun kasi. Hala ka diyan.

john marzan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john marzan said...

If DJB Rizalist can impress the Germans and not just us tontos Indios pero los bravos,then why not? :)

Germans? What about the Americans?

blackshama said...


Rizal believed the Americans were "hambog".

Any idiot can impress an American!

RR said...


"Any idiot can impress an American!"

Sorry! My bad! Deep thinker ka pala.

tiki said...

Here are more things to consider:

The Taleban do not represent an imperialist power, and that makes the term "Spanish Taleban" strange. If it refers to Christian fundamentalism, then one should ironically refer to the current U.S. as "Taleban," too, especially given Dubya's point about going to war because he had received a message from God. Also, the Taleban are fighting on home ground against an invading force, which Spain was not doing against indios or against the U.S. Spain eventually sold the Philippines to the U.S. Given that, if Spain represents the Taleban, then what does the U.S. represent?

On more interesting point: the Taleban came from the ranks of the mujahedeen, which were recruited by Saudi Arabia, trained by Pakistan, and armed by the U.S. to counter the Soviet Union The latter allowed them to maintain power in Afghanistan for several years before several military powers decided to invade and see if they could control the oil-rich Afghan-Kazakhstan region. Besides the U.S., one of those military powers is Russia.

It's interesting that Rizal is compared to Mark Twain, because Twain was very much against the U.S. occupation of the Philippines.

Finally, the U.S. fought Britain because they were against the very idea of an aristocracy, which would have made the choice of a national hero described as such odd. Also, given this previous conflict between the U.S. and Britain, one might compare that to Philippine struggle and argue that the Philippines was the U.S. and both Spain and the U.S. represented Britain. Of course, the difference is that the Philippines was eventually sold by one colonizer to another.

Today, with the U.S. invading and struggling in two countries and given that reaction to that invasion even by its allies, not to mention the analogy between Rizal and Twain, it is likely that Rizal would be very much at home in the twenty-first century and would certainly follow Twain's lead.

Amadeo said...

But Rizal himself harbored a more agreeable attitude toward the Jesuits. And he also had ample exposure to them when he was exiled in Dapitan since almost the entire island of Mindanao during that time was being served by the Jesuit Order.

Here is a quote from Jesuit historian, Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, whose family hails from Mindanao:

“The night before Rizal sailed for Dapitan, he wrote from his prison in Fort Santiago to his mother and sisters who lived in exile in Hong Kong: Tonight or early tomorrow (he wrote) I am being exiled to Dapitan. I am not afraid because wherever I go I am in God’s hands. Besides, there are no friars there, only Jesuits.”

Remember also that much earlier the Jesuits were expelled from the islands by Spain, only to be allowed back after many years.

Mr. Brown said...

This is a follow up on Jose Rizal as it was December 30 and I was busy doing the things I don’t usually do and that is think aloud.

But just as I was about to write about that famous hero I usually rant about.

I asked myself if its still relevant to write about him or if theres’s still any point in doing so.

You see he’s dead and his works are either removed from the classrooms (if it wasn’t for Claro M. Recto’s bill) or sensationalized short of becoming a legendary myth in his own respect.

You see I’ve been admiring him for a long time and in doing so I also found out about his weaknesses.

One being an authentic womanizer and a rabid patron of cabarets (if you take Ambeth Ocampos’ words for it)

Another being an individual suffering from an obvious extreme inferiority complex (if you take Austin Craigs words for it)

While what really interests me more are his endings in his novels as it tells particularly of his character I still imagine how it would appeal to foreigners and their struggles. I ask myself was it ever made to be a handbook for revolution in other countries? (i think I read somewhere that yes it did but i have yet to confirm it)

With all my questioning and prodding I thought why not create my own profile of Rizal? But then I thought it would be too unfair because I don’t know him personally (of course) but to have a subjective profiling of a national hero would be fun I guess.

Ok so let me start off first with how he fares amongst the other heroes like Bonifacio, Mabini, Jacinto etc…

I honestly think he doesn’t even come close to Bonifacio.

I always have this bias towards people who are poor and who paved their way up the ladder through hard work and intelligence.

You see Jose Rizal was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Bonifacio doesn’t go near anywhere his wealth and his status in society.

Jose Rizal had a resplendent resume while Bonifacio has none.

Under different circumstances if Bonifacio were also rich he could’ve been the better hero and could be the national Hero.

Another thing is the question of influence.

Paciano worked under Bonifacio, and Jose Rizal worked under Paciano. Ergo if it wasn’t for Bonifacio there will never be a Rizal.

Jose Rizal wrote the Noli and El Fili but he never practiced what he wrote. Bonifacio wrote and was a leader even before the Noli and El Fili was written, and he was practicing them even before the novels.

The thing is Jose Rizal was popular among the rich because he could stand up among them but what would a peasant dreaming of a better country do among the upper class?

So I personally believe Jose Rizal was nowhere near Bonifacio.

But the big difference was that Jose Rizal was able to leave his legacy through his writings and Bonifacio doesn’t have that.

That is where Jose Rizal became different.

In modern times Jose Rizal could’ve been a famous blogger earning thousands of pesos (or dollars) with his biting satire and he could be a great artist at that and perhaps if he has a digicam he might put all the places he’d been too (specially the clubs) he hangs out in.

If Jose Rizal were alive today he would’ve been one of the Conrado De Quiros raving in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

He wrote prodigiously at that, his writings had become synonymous to his nature being observant and at times malevolent.

And being malevolent he cud’ve been shouting against this government who cheated its way to power. Against this government who is guilty of killing hundreds of activists and journalists.

He might have been standing up with the people of sumilao begging for their land alongside his beloved jesuits or perhaps with his brother masons.

But alas this generation is not his. And if he ever lived this time he might be as dead as those whom we relegate to oblivion and brand as subversive.

Perhaps I don’t need to look into books and read about Rizal. I just have to look at each Filipino sacrificing his/her own life for the country and his/her people.

Then and just then will I find the real Jose Rizal.

DJB Rizalist said...

A warm welcome to Philippine Commentary, Mr. Brown.

philip said...

Your welcome dean ^_^

Anonymous said...

InDIos We Trust! Dr.Jose P.Rizal shall always live in the heart and consciousness of the New Filipino!We shall always be students of your Life and Works..