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Rizal and the Katipuan

On June 21, 1896. Dr. Pio Valenzuela, Bonifacio’s emissary, visited Rizal in Dapitan and informed him of
the plan of the Katipunan to launch a revolution. Rizal objected to Bonifacio’s bold project stating that
such would be a veritable suicide. Rizal stressed that the Katipunan leaders should do everything
possible to prevent premature flow of native blood. Valenzuela, however, warned Rizal that the
Revolution will inevitably break out if the Katipunan would be discovered.

Sensing that the revolutionary leaders were dead set on launching their audacious project, Rizal
instructed Valenzuela that it would be for the best interests of the Katipunan to get first the support of
the rich and influential people of Manila to strengthen their cause. He further suggested that Antonio
Luna with his knowledge of military science and tactics, be made to direct the military operations of the
Revolution.

Dr. Jose Rizal in Dapitan and the Katipunan

Posted under General History

Thursday December 15, 2011 (7 years ago)

The Spanish government could have been satisfied of Rizal's innocence of any treasonable designs
against Spain's sovereignty in the Islands had it known how the exile had declined an opportunity to
head the movement which had been initiated on the eve of his deportation. His name had been used to
gather the members together and his portrait hung in each Katipunan lodge hall, but all this was without
Rizal's consent or even his knowledge.
The (Katipunan) members, who had been paying faithfully for four years, felt that it was time that
something besides collecting money was done. Their restiveness and suspicions led Andres Bonifacio, its
head, to resort to Rizal, feeling that a word from the exile, who had religiously held aloof from all politics
since his deportation, would give the Katipunan leaders more time to mature their plans. So he sent a
messenger to Dapitan, Pio Valenzuela, a doctor, who to conceal his mission took with him a blind man.
Thus the doctor and his patient appeared as on a professional visit to the exiled oculist. But though the
interview was successfully secured in this way, its results were not so satisfactory.

Far from feeling grateful for the consideration for the possible consequences to him which Valenzuela
pretended had prompted the visit, Rizal indignantly insisted that the country came first. He cited the
Spanish republics of South America, with their alternating revolutions and despotisms, as a warning
against embarking on a change of government for which the people were not prepared. Education, he
declared, was first necessary, and in his opinion general enlightenment was the only road to progress.
Valenzuela cut short his trip, glad to escape without anyone realizing that Rizal and he had quarreled.

Bonifacio called Rizal a coward when he heard his emissary's report, and enjoined Valenzuela to say
nothing of his trip. But the truth leaked out, and there was a falling away in Katipunan membership.

Doctor Rizal's own statement respecting the rebellion and Valenzuela's visit may fitly be quoted here:

"I had no notice at all of what was being planned until the first or second of July, in 1896, when Pio
Valenzuela came to see me, saying that an uprising was being arranged. I told him that it was absurd,
etc., etc., and he answered me that they could bear no more. I advised him that they should have
patience, etc., etc. He added then that he had been sent because they had compassion on my life and
that probably it would compromise me. I replied that they should have patience and that if anything
happened to me I would then prove my innocence. Besides, said I, don't consider me, but our country,
which is the one that will suffer. I went on to show how absurd was the movement. Then later, Pio
Valenzuela testified. -He did not tell me that my name was being used, neither did he suggest that I was
its chief, or anything of that sort."

"Those who testify that I am the chief (which I do not know, nor do I know of having ever treated with
them), what proofs do they present of my having accepted this chiefship or that I was in relations with
them or with their society? Either they have made use of my name for their own purposes or they have
been deceived by others who have. Where is the chief who dictates no order and makes no
arrangement, who is not consulted in anything about so important an enterprise until the last moment,
and then when he decides against it is disobeyed? Since the seventh of July of 1892 I have entirely
ceased political activity. It seems some have wished to avail themselves of my name for their own ends."

This was Rizal's second temptation to engage in politics, the first having been a trap laid by his enemies.
A man had come to see Rizal in his earlier days in Dapitan, claiming to be a relative and seeking letters to
prominent Filipinos. The deceit was too plain and Rizal denounced the envoy to the commandant, whose
investigations speedily disclosed the source of the plot. Further prosecution, of course, ceased at once.

The visit of some image vendors from Laguna who never before had visited that region, and who seemed
more intent on escaping notice than interested in business, appeared suspicious, but upon report of the
Jesuits the matter was investigated and nothing really objectionable was found.

The Katipunan, which had been organized on the eve of Rizal's deportation but had done little since,
took on new life through the zeal and ability of Emilio Jacinto, a young student whose patriotic mother, a
nurse (midwife) was sister of a Liga Filipina and Masonic leader later shot. Jacinto epitomized the
Filipinos' historic grievances in an impressively simple but dramatic initiation ceremony that taught
Philippine history and developed patriotism so successfully that the thousands who now crowded into
the revolutionary society were eager to, and did risk everything in their country's cause.

Reference:

Lineage, life and labors of Jose Rizal, Philippine patriot: a study of the growth of free ideas in the trans
Pacific American territory, Austin Craig, Yonkers-on-Hudson: World book co., 1914 (via The United States
and its Territories, 1870 - 1925: The Age of Imperialism, University of Michigan Digital Library)
11,762

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__________
On the Trail of Rizal's Relation with the Katipunan

Rizal's Stance?

Rizal .....Painting by P. Gonzales

It is a common belief in Philippine History that Rizal never supported the idea of an armed struggle. In
fact works I encountered written by authors and experts on Rizal, most mentioned that José Rizal was
more for autonomy than independence. There are also those who are in the opinion that substantial
research and studies are still needed to really conclude Rizal's true stance on the Katipunan and the
armed struggle it espoused.

Primary sources and established facts points out clearly that José Rizal disowned the 1896 Revolution led
by Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan. In his manifesto to the Filipino people written during his trial he
wrote:

"On my return from Spain, I learned that my name had been used as a war cry among some who were in
arms". ....

Then he wrote further: "From the beginning, when I had news of what was being planned, I opposed it,
fought it, and demonstrated its absolute impossibility. this is the truth, and there are living witnesses of
my words. I was convinced that the idea (the revolution) was highly absurd and what was worse, would
bring suffering. I did more. When later, in spite of my counsels, the movement broke out. I
spontaneously offered not only my services but my life and even my name to be used in any manner
thought opportune in order to suppress the rebellion.

Finally ending with this words: "Holding this ideas, I cannot do less than to condemn, and I do condemn,
this absurd and savage rebellion, plotted behind my back, which dishonors the Filipinos and discredits
those who could can be our advocates. I abhor this criminal activities and reject any manner of
participation in them, condoling with all heartfelt sadness with those who have been unwary enough to
have been fooled. Return then, to your homes, and may God forgive those who have acted in bad faith."
The said manifesto was never published. The Spanish Judge Advocate General recommended to
Governor Polavieja to suppressed it. Many historians believes that Rizal was saved from shame of his
manifesto being misinterpreted and disobeyed by the Filipinos in arms.

In his defense against charges of his association with the Katipunan Rizal pointed out to the court: "I
know nothing of the Katipunan and have had no relations or correspondence with them. I do not know
Andres Bonifacio, even by name...

Further on with his defense:"I have absolutely nothing to do with politics from the 6th July 1892 until the
1st of July 1896 when I was informed by Pio Velenzuela that an uprising would be attempted, I advised
against it and tried to reason him out of it.

Andres Bonifacio

Flashback: Before 1896

On 3rd July 1892, a week after his return from Hong Kong, Jose Rizal founded the "Liga Filipina." It was
inaugurated that July night at No.176 Ilaya , Tondo Manila with Ambrosio Salvador elected as President,
Agustin de la Rosa, Fiscal; Bonifacio Arevalo, Treasurer: and Deodato Arellano, Secretary. On that same
event, Rizal also met prominent patriots, members of the newly formed "Liga", who would later then
play a big role in our history. Patriots like Apolinario Mabini, Andres Bonifacio, Pedro Serrano Laktaw,
Timoteo Paez etc. The aims of the "Liga Filipina" were:

1. To unite the whole archipelago into one compact and homogeneous body.

2.Mutual protection in every want and necessity.

3. Defense against all violence and injustice.

4. Encouragement of instruction, agriculture and commerce

5. Study and application of reforms.


Four days after the founding of the "Liga Filipina", Rizal was arrested then deported to Dapitan. His
deportation, signaled the end of the moderate path. It was the start of the belief in arm struggle. On that
same day, in a secret conclave Andres Bonifacio and his colleagues in the beleaguered "Liga ", founded
the Kataastaasan Kagalangalangan Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or simply, Katipunan. It was a more
radical group for it's main objective was the independence of the whole archipelago through armed
struggle; Revolution.

Bonifacio's Banner

I cannot think of a better Tagalog word to translate the Spanish "La Liga" only one word fits: Katipunan

The secret society grew from day to day. But even in exile José Rizal played a prominent role at least in
it's rituals and daily practices. Teodoro Agoncillo in his book "The revolt of the Masses" wrote "In
studying the method, procedure, structure of the Katipunan, one is inevitably moved to the conclusion
that the society, such as it was, drew its inspiration from Masonry in matters of initiation rites and partly
from Rizal's La Liga Filipina in matters affecting structures."

Rizal name was a Katipunan pass word and a battle cry. His pictures adorned most of it's secret conclave.
To simply state it: José Rizal was the living inspiration of the Katipunan.

Never Knew or heard the Katipunan before?

One is now tempted to ask; When was the first time Rizal heard the existence of this secret society? (A
society that was becoming from day to day, evident even to the Spanish authorities) If he ever heard the
word "Katipunan" did it came to him that it was somehow almost a perfect translation to the word Liga?
Was he too busy with exile and with Josephine Bracken not to bother?

The Women's Chapter of the Katipunan (A Clear Evidence?)


Josefa Rizal

Again in Teodoro Agoncillo's "The Revolt of the Massess..Prominent women in various communities were
initiated in the Katipunan in the mid 1893. Among these women were Josefa Rizal (sister of Jose Rizal)
and Angelica Rizal Lopez.(niece). Both women subsequently became officers of the women's chapter.
Josefa Rizal was President while Angelica Rizal Lopez was Fiscal. Then Agoncillo (quoting the memoirs of
Gregoria de Jesus) mentioned the Katipunan wedding rites of Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus
whereby officer- members of the secret society was in attendance among them were Trinidad and Josefa
Rizal. Relying on this sources, I cannot help but conclude that there were substantial contacts between
the Rizal sisters and the Katipunan before the revolution. I also ask: Could it be that Jose Rizal had
foreknowledge of the existence of the Katipunan long before that fateful meeting with Pio Valenzuela in
Dapitan mid July of 1896? It is highly improbable that with his stature, Rizal would not be consulted by
his sisters about the existence of the Katipunan. Perhaps Rizal was too busy to listen to them or maybe
they did not mentioned it at all? Which is for me very remote. Rizal's reputation was so big for his family
to be ignored.. It is unthinkable that they did not even consulted him about this secret society.

And when Pio Velenzuela consulted Rizal in Dapitan, he came on the same ship which Trinidad took.......
coincidence?

Trinidad Rizal

A Family Oppressed

If there was a family in 19th century Philippines who we can say suffered heavily under the yoke of the
friars and a disfunctional colonial system then it would have to be the Mercado-Rizal family of Calamba
Laguna.

Starting with matriarch Doña Teodora Alonzo, who was arrested on malicious charges of attempting to
poison her brother's wife, She was ordered to walk from Calamba to to the provincial capital of Santa
Cruz, a distance of 50 km. She was then imprisoned in the capital for almost 2 and a half years.

Then there was the Calamba land row in the 1890's, were the Rizals and other families of the town were
forcibly evicted from their homes and from the land they were tilling by the Spanish authorities acting on
the request of the alleged owner of the estate, the Domnicans. Paciano and two brothers in law were
exiled to Mindoro another was banished in Bohol. Doña Teodora and sisters Josefa and Trinidad was then
summoned by the authorities. And for the second time Doña Teodora was a victim of another absurd
accusation. She was charged of declaring her name improperly. The authorities pointed out that she
should declare herself as Teodora Realonda y Rizal and not the mere Teadora Alonso. For the second
time the mother of Rizal, by that time aged 64 and almost blind, was forced again to walk the whole
afternoon going to Santa Cruz, with a daughter guiding her steps.

With this kind of injustice...who would not turn radical? Who would not find the Katipunan unattractive?
I believe the women of the Rizal family had seen the Katipunan as a means to gain justice to the wrongs
done to them. Revenge?

Jose Rizal in Survival Mode

The defense of Rizal, including his denial of the Katipunan I believe, was the time when our national hero
switched to "Survival Mode", What went into his mind? Somehow there could be this thought of trying
to evade death. Surviving to fight another day. I am convinced that he already knew the existence of the
Katipunan long before that meeting with Pio Valenzuela. He discouraged the armed struggle, not
because he was against it completely but because it was simply premature.

That time, it could be that he still held two options in his mind. First option was reform through
negotiation and positive action. the last option; Revolution. It was too late to realize that he has no
option after all. From the very beginning, events would actually find a way to resolve itself.

Overtaken by Event...Devoured by Saturn

Overtaken by the events, overtaken by the revolution, that's how historians described Rizal during his
last days. Pondering upon it deeper it was not only Rizal who was overtaken by the events. I guess
everybody involved in this history were overtaken. Bonifacio, the Katipunan, the Rizal Family, the entire
country. The idea that Rizal spread, the inspiration of 1872 etc., was like a wildfire that went out of
control. The changes Rizal dreamed of, the kind of revolution he wished had acquired a different face. It
has become a monster.
Goya's opus "Saturn devouring his children"

Like that painting of Spanish artist Francisco de Goya "Saturn devouring his Children"....one by one the
children of the revolution were devoured. Rizal was one of the first victims. Bonifacio would follow
others would be swallowed. Same was true with the Katipunan as an organization itself.

Uncommon Silence

Did Rizal rectify the issues about him and the Katipunan? Perhaps he did. Before his execution he stacked
his shoes and maybe also his clothes with papers and with messages. One of those those could be
another manifesto supporting the revolution? (Please consult my Blog:"Look In My Shoes") We will never
know or perhaps we will in the future.

Days after the execution the Rizal family retrieved a piece of paper inside Rizal's gas burner. It was a
verse, his swan song, the poem now known as "Ultimo Adios. The first who got hold of a copy were the
Katipuneros, sent to them by the Rizals.

Paciano- Older brother of Jose Rizal

The key to this whole puzzle, Rizal and the Katipunan, leads us to only one personality, Paciano Rizal. I
believe he was the person who knew more.

It was Paciano during his early association with father Burgos who opened the sensibilities of the young
Rizal towards socio- political issues, like the events of the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. Brothers are said to
have made a mutual pledge, that Jose Rizal would continue his studies for the redemption of the
country. It was Paciano who sent his brother Jose to Spain. It was Paciano who guided him trough in his
studies.(Even deciding whats the best school for his younger brother) Paciano was the the leader of the
Calamba tenants who challenged the Dominicans. Paciano was tortured and questioned by the
authorities about his brother's association with the Katipunan. He was also the one who discouraged the
planed rescue of Rizal by the Katipunan.
Paciano was the "hidden Katipunero" of the family, (even reached the rank of General). Judging from the
command he had among it's leaders one could not help conclude that he had long association with
them. Again I stress, longer than we thought.

But after the revolution and America took over. Paciano became silent. It was said that he never talked
about his younger brother ever again. Why the uncommon silence? Something heavy to bear?

Enigma

Rizal is an enigma. Despite all the contradictions we see, he still looms larger and ever there, a beacon.
Truly the Laong Laan and the Dimas Alang that he wished to be.

In the end, whether he had foreknowledge of the Katipunan or whether he supported it or not, Rizal
would still be the foremost Filipino, surely our hero for the ages.

Rizal Monument, Manila

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Revolt of the Masses by Teodoro A. Agoncillo

RIZAL-Filipino nationalist and Patriot by Austin Coates

The Trial of Rizal by Horacio de la Costa S.J

Kartilyang Makabayan: Mga Tanong at Sagot ukol kay Bonifacio at K.K.K ni Herminigildo Cruz

The First Filipino by Leon Ma. Guerrero

Veneration Without Understanding by Renato Constantino


Posted 18th February 2012 by La Solidaridad