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A Review

on the Article

“Rizal and the Revolution”


Floro Quibuyen

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for

GE 109 – Rizal’s Life and Works

Ato, Christine Joy

Calo, Norman John

Rosello, Leo

Sanchez, Nicole

Subio, Romelynn

Tabanao, Krisha

Mark Bon G. Basadre


Father Saturnino Urios University

October 15, 2019

The article entitled “Rizal and the Revolution” was written by Floro
Quibuyen. In the first part, it composes of different views of some historians
concerning the life of Rizal and the glimpse of Rizal being involved in the
revolution. Other writers claim that Rizal himself was really into the revolution
while some of the writers disagree with their views as Rizal did not want a

On the first statement of the article, Rizal repudiated the revolution

instead he was into assimilation. But some historians shared their views if
Rizal really pro or against the revolution.

Historians who said that Rizal did support the revolution are Galicano
Apacible, Jose Alejandrino, Dr. Gregorio Zaide, and Dr. Pio Valenzuela and the
historians who said that Rizal was against the revolution was Renato
Constantino, Trinidad Pardo De Tavera, and Wenceslao E. Retana. Majority of
the basis on their views is from the Memoir and the statements of Pio
Valenzuela since he was the secretary general and the founding member of
the Katipunan.

Its goal is to hear different sides about their studies and stand on Rizal
if he considered or into revolution or he opposes the idea of having a

One of its purposes is to gather some studies and reflect the different
stand of the historians since this topic consists of a wide range of possibilities
with regards to the main topic if he was into or not in a revolution.

An idea that starts this arguments is when Dr Pio Valenzuela was sent
to dapitan ask for Rizal's counsel and advice by the Katipunan Supreme
Council with regards to the planned revolution but without hesitation, he
opposed their idea on revolution because it was not necessary. Rizal added
that instead of doing revolution we must seek what is good for our country
and that is improvement and education of people as what indolence discussed
that education could bring solidarity to the country. But then Bonifacio
however, instead of telling the truth he told the Filipino people that Rizal
advice revolution instead of peace.

Because of that happening, there was a rise in studies from different

historians and turns out a debate between their studies. Through their
presented sides and pieces of evidence we, therefore, understand deeply why
this article is worth to read since this goes under their works not just Rizal's
but also coming from other books written by some historians concerning the
idea of Revolution under Rizal's side.

The first problem arose was the debate of different historians whether
Jose Rizal did support the revolution or not. Statement coming from Pio
Valenzuela’s statements/testimonies arose the debate in relation to this
matter. Pio Valenzuela states that as he met Rizal for counsel he shared to
Rizal that the Katipunan is planning for revolution and seeks for an answer
whether he agrees or not but then Rizal did not agree to the said plan and just
want a peaceful fight. As Valenzuela shares what Rizal’s reply, Bonifacio then
mocks Rizal as a coward as he disagree to their plan. Bonifacio then tells
Valenzuela not to say a word with regards to Rizal’s reply and spread a false
rumor that Rizal agreed for Revolution.

Pio in his another statement says that if they really want a Revolution
then they must have resources in order to fight the Spaniards. He suggested
to attract Antonio Luna because he is a man who came from Europe, and have
much influence in Manila. Said that they must bring sympathy of the men of
money and brains. This could ensure that the leading Filipinos and the
Laborers will be in vain.

The debates coming from the different historians address 2 fundamental

issues one is the question of Historiography, how valid are the historical
sources upon which Manuel, Agoncillo & Constantino base their interpretation
regarding to Rizal’s political stance towards Revolution. Second is the Meaning
of Rizal’s Martyrdom that impacts Rizal’s Voluntary Sacrifice on the
revolutionary struggle. They also stated that Rizal already betrayed the
Revolution twice by demonstrating his loyalty to Spain when he volunteered
to serve in the medical corps of the Spanish army during the Cuban
Revolution. Second is condemning the revolution when it finally erupted in the
Philippines, exhorting his countrymen to lay down their arms and abandon an
uprising that he condemned as “criminal”, “savage” and “absurd” according to
Constantino’s argument.

Problem also arose when Libel was filled to Vicente Sotto because he
published an article in which Jose Santiago has been expelled from the
Katipunan as a traitor. Sotto conducted his own defence using Valenzuela as
one of his witness and Valenzuela gave a sworn statement about Rizal in
contradiction to his statement in prison.

Unreliable declarations of Valenzuela becomes more persuasive when

considered in the light of hysterical prison testimony. One of the illustrados
were arrested and made Antonio Luna cried. He joined the revolutionary forces
and providing himself as the most brilliant general in Aguinaldo’s Army.
Paciano arrested and interrogated at the outbreak of the revolution. He
refused to say a word that’s why Paciano was severely tortured that’s why
they emerged later as a revolutionary general commanding a battalion.

When we read the articles or books of history in the Philippines, it is not

surprising to see words about the martyrdom of our most celebrated hero, Dr.
Jose Rizal. In fact, it seems that his name already occupied a permanent and
prominent place in every publication that has something to say about the

Truthfully, there is nothing wrong about immortalizing Rizal and his

heroism in books and literatures read by several generations of Filipinos and
non-Filipinos. Probably, most writers deemed that doing such is a fitting way
of paying respect and gratitude to his contributions and sacrifices for the
benefit of the Filipino people and of our nation. It’s just unfortunate that in
trying to present him as an icon of heroism.

Historians cannot deny that Rizal played a major part in the country’s
struggle for reforms and independence. His writings, particularly the Noli me
Tangere and El Filibusterismo were viewed as the guiding force for other
patriots to rally for the country’s cause. While most of us believed that Rizal
dedicated his life and labor for the cause of the revolution and venerated him
to a certain extent, a brave historian rose up and went against the tide by
making known to the public his stand that Rizal was NOT an actual leader of
the Philippine Revolution. While most of his biographers avoided this topic, it
is important to note that this greatest contradiction in Rizal made him more
significant than ever.

In his Rizal Day lecture in 1969 entitled “Veneration without

Understanding,” Prof. Renato Constantino tried to disclose the real Rizal and
the truth of his heroism stripping off the superficial knick-knacks adorned on
him by hagiographers and hero-worshippers.

The very striking fact that Constantino forwarded was the notion that Rizal
was not a leader of the Philippine Revolution, but a leading opponent of it.
Accordingly, in the manifesto of 15 December 1896 written by Rizal himself
which he addressed to the Filipino people, he declared that when the plan of
revolution came into his knowledge, he opposed its absolute impossibility and
state his utmost willingness to offer anything he could to stifle the rebellion.
Rizal thought of it as absurd, and abhorred its alleged criminal methods.

Rizal in his manifesto put into premise the necessity of education in the
achievement of liberties. Most importantly he believed that reforms to be
fruitful must come from above and that those that come from below are shaky,
irregular, and uncertain.

Rizal’s weakness for this matter was his failure to fully understand his
people. He was unsuccessful in empathizing with the true sentiments of the
people from below in launching the armed rebellion. He repudiated the
revolution because he thought that reforms to be successful should come from
above. It could be understandable that the hero thought of such because it
was the belief of the prevailing class to which Rizal belonged. It is also
possible that Rizal disproved the revolution due to his belief that violence
should not prevail. In this case, Rizal unintentionally underestimated the
capacity of those from below to compel changes and reforms.

This hesitation of Rizal against the revolution was supported by Dr. Pio
Valenzuela’s 1896 account of the revolution after he was sent by Andres
Bonifacio to Dapitan to seek Rizal’s opinion and approval in launching an
armed rebellion against the Spanish administration. In September 1896,
Valenzuela before a military court testified that Rizal was resolutely opposed
to the idea of a premature armed rebellion and used bad language in reference
to it, the same statement was extracted from him in October 1896, only that
he overturned that it was Bonifacio, not Rizal, who made use of foul words.

However, Valenzuela after two decades reversed his story by saying that
Rizal was not actually against the revolution but advised the Katipuneros to
wait for the right timing, secure the needed weapons and get the support of
the rich and scholarly class. Valenzuela recounted that his 1896 statements
were embellished due to duress and torture and it was made to appear that
in his desire “not to implicate” or “save” Rizal, testified that the latter was
opposed to the rebellion. This turn of events put historians into a great
confusion, making Rizal’s stand over the Philippine Revolution, controversial
and debatable, making him
both hero and anti-hero.

Constantino, in reality did not disrobe Rizal the merit he deserves, what
he did was a critical evaluation of Rizal as a product of his time. He pointed
out that even without Rizal, the nationalistic movement would still advance
with another figure to take his place because it was not Rizal who shaped the
turn of events but otherwise. Historical forces untied by social developments
impelled and motivated Rizal to rose up and articulate the people’s sentiments
through his writings.

The revolution that happened in 1896 is the period to which we the

Filipinos are united in order to attain our freedom from the Spanish colonizers.
We Filipinos are also taught since grade school that Dr. Jose Rizal is one of
the brave people that stood up against the Spaniards. His works such as the
Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo helped provoke the Filipinos to fight or
revolt in order to achieve our country’s freedom. However, there are some
speculations that Rizal had disapprove the concept of engaging war against
the Spaniards and that he recommended the assimilation of the Philippines to
Spain. With this speculations in mind Filipinos are confused as to what is the

According to Dr. Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera, when Bonifacio asked the

advice of Rizal if would it be good to start organizing a revolution, Rizal
opposed and told him that instead of engaging in war they should focus more
in the improvement and education of the Filipinos and look for reformation in
peaceful ways. Regardless of what Rizal said Bonifacio told the Filipinos that
Rizal himself agreed on the concept of a revolution. However, Dr. Gregorio
Zaide insisted that Rizal agreed on starting a revolution, referring to the
memoir written by the secretary general and founding member of the
Katipunan, Dr. Pio Valenzuela on May 27, 1914, which cited that “Rizal was in
favor of the revolution” and that “ Rizal believed that independence is won,
not asked for.. Rizal’s credo was a true revolution--a fight to the last, for the
freedom of the Philippines”. Three years after Zaide’s article appeared, E.
Arsenio a historian and anthropologist, came out with his critique of Zaide,
with a number of primary resources from Retana’s collection which contradicts
Pio Valenzuela’s memoir and interview with Zaide. One of the documents that
is considered as the definitive evidence is the 15 December manifesto,
according to the translation of Austin Coates (1986, 299-300) “But I laid down
as a prerequisite the education of the people in order that by means of such
instruction, and by hard work, they may acquire a personality of their own
and so become worthy of such liberties. In my writings I have recommended
study and the civic virtues, without which no redemption is possible” and “But
I laid down as a prerequisite the education of the people in order that by
means of such instruction, and by hard work, they may acquire a personality
of their own and so become worthy of such liberties. In my writings I have
recommended study and the civic virtues, without which no redemption is
possible”. Also Rizal's Manifesto is consistent with his 12 December
memorandum, which makes a reference to Valenzuela's visit to Dapitan,
stating that Rizal doesn’t have knowledge about it until Dr. Valenzuela told
him of an upcoming uprising. “I told him that it was absurd”, “I have always
been opposed to the rebellion not only on account of its absurdity and
untimeliness, but also because I am hoping that

Spain will soon grant us freedom” (Teodoro M. Kalaw's translation, cited

in Manuel 1934, 565). In analyzing all the statement’s it is safe to say that
Rizal’s works ignited the courage of the Filipinos to fight for their freedom,
however it is not his intention to start a revolution but instead, they should
educate the Filipinos and attain our freedom in a harmonious way.

Upon reading the article about Rizal and revolution. The article was
composed of different claims and evidences from different people. it build
upon the appropriate foundation because it open the minds especially the
filipino people about Rizal’s manifesto, and other sides of the story of Rizal
being a revolutionist and assimilationist from other historians like Constantino,
Ratana, Caraig and Travina. The approach and execution is correct since the
authors provides evidences that supports the claims thus it let us Filipinos to
know those things its just that some might lead to confusion and I think
applying such approach in our own national history is such a waste of time
since their might be a lot of changes to do.

The article is not just focus or limit from one person or author it has
different claims and evidences from different authors. The article has no short
comings and not just limited to one author because that article gives different
points and evidences given by different authors that will support their claims.
It has important aspects due to facts given by the author’s claims and
evidence but on the other hand evidence are filtered and some are not
relevant or primary source like the evidence given by Valenzuela.

According to the arguments stated by Constantino that Rizal was not a

leader of the Philippine revolution but a leading opponent of it. Another
argument is stated by Dr. Valenzuela is that Rizal testified that he was
opposed to the ides of a premature armed rebellion and used bad language in
reference to it. Yet after two decades Valenzuela revised his story and stated
that Rizal was not actually against the revolution but he advised the
Katiponeros to wait for the right timing. Those arguments might lead to
confusion of the readers because the claims aren’t clear.

In our opinion the issues remain unsolved is that the arguments

presented by the authors is quite confusing because their evidences
presented aren't clear and because of that it might lead to misunderstanding
of the readers.

We suggest that they should provide a clear and direct to the point
statements that readers will surely understand and avoid misinterpretation.
Ever since our elementary days we are taught that Dr. Jose Rizal is our
national hero, however his title (national hero) is not yet legalized. The
relevance is with the help of this article we found out that he is against the
concept of a revolution.

Agoncillo, Teodoro A. 1956. The revolt of the masses: The story of Bonifacio
and the Katipunan. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Alvarez, Santiago. 1992. Recalling the revolution. Memoirs of a Filipino

General. Translated by Paula Carolina S. Malay, introduction by Ruby R.

Constantino, Renato. 1969. Veneration without understanding. Third National

Rizal Lecture, 30 December 1%8. Also in Dissent and counter conscious- ness.
Manila: Erewhon, 1970.

Gillego, Bonifacio H. 1990. Requiem for reformism; the idioms of Rizal on

reform and revolution. Manila: Wall Street Communications and Marketing,

Jose, Vivencio. 1979. Jose Rizal and Antonio Luna. Their roles in the Philip
pine revolution. Philippine Social Sciences and Humanities Review 43, nos. 14.

Mabini, Apolinario. 1969. The Philippine revolution [memoir]. Translated by

Leon Ma. Guerrero. Manila.

Manuel, E. Arsenio. 1934. Did Rizal favor the revolution? A criticism of the
Valenzuela Memoirs. Philippine Magazine. December.

Zaide, Gregorio. 1931. Was Rizal against the revolution? Graphic, 30