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 The Spanish version of Jose Montero y Vidal and the report of Governor
General Rafael Izquierdo

Jose Montero y Vidal, a prolific Spanish historian documented the event and
highlighted it as an attempt of the Indios to overthrow the Spanish government in the
Philippines. Meanwhile, Gov. Gen. Rafael Izquierdo’s official report magnified the event
and made use of it to implicate the native clergy, which was then active in the call for
secularization.  The two accounts complimented and corroborated with one other, only
that the general’s report was more spiteful. Initially, both Montero and Izquierdo scored
out that the abolition of privileges enjoyed by the workers of Cavite arsenal such as non-
payment of tributes and exemption from force labor were the main reasons of the
“revolution” as how they called it, however, other causes were enumerated by them
including the Spanish Revolution which overthrew the secular throne, dirty propagandas
proliferated by unrestrained press, democratic, liberal and republican books and
pamphlets reaching the Philippines, and most importantly, the presence of the native
clergy who out of animosity against the Spanish friars, “conspired and supported” the
rebels and enemies of Spain.  In particular, Izquierdo blamed the unruly Spanish Press
for “stockpiling” malicious propagandas grasped by the Filipinos.  He reported to the
King of Spain that the “rebels” wanted to overthrow the Spanish government to install a
new “hari” in the likes of Fathers Burgos and Zamora.  The general even added that the
native clergy enticed other participants by giving them charismatic assurance that their
fight will not fail because God is with them coupled with handsome promises of rewards
such as employment, wealth, and ranks in the army.  Izquierdo, in his report lambasted
the Indios as gullible and possessed an innate propensity for stealing.

       The two Spaniards deemed that the event of 1872 was planned earlier and was
thought of it as a big conspiracy among educated leaders, mestizos, abogadillos or
native lawyers, residents of Manila and Cavite and the native clergy.  They insinuated
that the conspirators of Manila and Cavite planned to liquidate high-ranking Spanish
officers to be followed by the massacre of the friars.  The alleged pre-concerted signal
among the conspirators of Manila and Cavite was the firing of rockets from the walls of

     According to the accounts of the two, on 20 January 1872, the district of Sampaloc
celebrated the feast of the Virgin of Loreto, unfortunately participants to the feast
celebrated the occasion with the usual fireworks displays.  Allegedly, those in Cavite
mistook the fireworks as the sign for the attack, and just like what was agreed upon, the
200-men contingent headed by Sergeant Lamadrid launched an attack targeting
Spanish officers at sight and seized the arsenal.

       When the news reached the iron-fisted Gov. Izquierdo, he readily ordered the
reinforcement of the Spanish forces in Cavite to quell the revolt.  The “revolution” was
easily crushed when the expected reinforcement from Manila did not come ashore. 
Major instigators including Sergeant Lamadrid were killed in the skirmish, while the
GOMBURZA were tried by a court-martial and were sentenced to die by strangulation.  
Patriots like Joaquin Pardo de Tavera, Antonio Ma. Regidor, Jose and Pio Basa and
other abogadillos were suspended by the Audencia (High Court) from the practice of
law, arrested and were sentenced with life imprisonment at the Marianas Island. 
Furthermore, Gov. Izquierdo dissolved the native regiments of artillery and ordered the
creation of artillery force to be composed exclusively of the Peninsulares.

      On 17 February 1872 in an attempt of the Spanish government and Frailocracia to

instill fear among the Filipinos so that they may never commit such daring act again, the
GOMBURZA were executed.  This event was tragic but served as one of the moving
forces that shaped Filipino nationalism.

 The Filipino version of Trinidad Pardo De Tavera

Dr. Trinidad Hermenigildo Pardo de Tavera, a Filipino scholar and

researcher, wrote the Filipino version of the bloody incident in Cavite. 
In his point of view, the incident was a mere mutiny by the native
Filipino soldiers and laborers of the Cavite arsenal who turned out to
be dissatisfied with the abolition of their privileges.  Indirectly, Tavera
blamed Gov. Izquierdo’s cold-blooded policies such as the abolition of
privileges of the workers and native army members of the arsenal and
the prohibition of the founding of school of arts and trades for the
Filipinos, which the general believed as a cover-up for the organization
of a political club.

On 20 January 1872, about 200 men comprised of soldiers, laborers

of the arsenal, and residents of Cavite headed by Sergeant Lamadrid
rose in arms and assassinated the commanding officer and Spanish
officers in sight.  The insurgents were expecting support from the bulk
of the army unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  The news about the
mutiny reached authorities in Manila and Gen. Izquierdo immediately
ordered the reinforcement of Spanish troops in Cavite.  After two
days, the mutiny was officially declared subdued.

Tavera believed that the Spanish friars and Izquierdo used the
Cavite Mutiny as a powerful lever by magnifying it as a full-blown
conspiracy involving not only the native army but also included
residents of Cavite and Manila, and more importantly the native clergy
to overthrow the Spanish government in the Philippines.  It is
noteworthy that during the time, the Central Government in Madrid
announced its intention to deprive the friars of all the powers of
intervention in matters of civil government and the direction and
management of educational institutions.  This turnout of events was
believed by Tavera, prompted the friars to do something drastic in
their dire sedire to maintain power in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, in the intention of installing reforms, the Central

Government of Spain welcomed an educational decree authored by
Segismundo Moret promoted the fusion of sectarian schools run by the
friars into a school called Philippine Institute.  The decree proposed to
improve the standard of education in the Philippines by requiring
teaching positions in such schools to be filled by competitive
examinations. This improvement was warmly received by most
Filipinos in spite of the native clergy’s zest for secularization.

The friars, fearing that their influence in the Philippines would be

a thing of the past, took advantage of the incident and presented it to
the Spanish Government as a vast conspiracy organized throughout
the archipelago with the object of destroying Spanish sovereignty.
Tavera sadly confirmed that the Madrid government came to believe
that the scheme was true without any attempt to investigate the real
facts or extent of the alleged “revolution” reported by Izquierdo and
the friars.

Convicted educated men who participated in the mutiny were

sentenced life imprisonment while members of the native clergy
headed by the GOMBURZA were tried and executed by garrote.  This
episode leads to the awakening of nationalism and eventually to the
outbreak of Philippine Revolution of 1896.  The French writer Edmund
Plauchut’s account complimented Tavera’s account by confirming that
the event happened due to discontentment of the arsenal workers and
soldiers in Cavite fort.  The Frenchman, however, dwelt more on the
execution of the three martyr priests which he actually witnessed.


 Fr. Manuel Garcia

For decades, the authenticity of Jose Rizal’s retraction documents have raised
issues, skepticism,and heated debates among those who seek to know the truth
regarding this controversy. However, thelack of evidence and different statements by
significant people involved have only contributed to the complications and uncertainty
which envelope this fiery argument.
"I retract with all my heart whatever in my words, writings, publications and conduct have been
contrary to my character as a son of the Catholic Church", this was the statement in the
document which made the historians believed that Rizal had retracted. However, there
have been claims that the document, as compared to the original file which was
discovered by Fr. Manuel Garcia, an archdiocesan archivist in 1935, was a forgery.
Regardless of these claims, there are several people who believe that he retraction
documents are authentic. These people include eleven eyewitnesses who were present
when Rizal wrote his retraction, signed a Catholic prayer book, recited Catholic prayers,
and the multitude who saw him kiss the crucifix before his execution. Fr. Marciano
Guzman, a great grandnephew of Rizal, cites that Rizal's 4 confessions were certified
by 5 eyewitnesses, 10 qualified witnesses, 7 newspapers, and 12 historians and writers
including Aglipayan bishops, Masons and anti-clericals.

Because of what he sees as the strength these direct evidence have in the light
of the historical method, in contrast with merely circumstantial evidence, UP professor
emeritus of history Nicolas Zafra called the retraction "a plain unadorned fact of history."
Guzmán attributes the denial of retraction to"the blatant disbelief and stubbornness"
of some Masons.
To save his family and town from further persecution.
Rizal may have been told that he faced the dilemma of signing the retraction or of
having his relatives pursued by further persecutions. Since he hoped his death would
stop the persecution of his relatives, the retraction may have seemed to him to be the
only way of achieving that purpose.
To give Josephine a legal status as his wife.
Rizal, even though he for a time suspected Josephine as a spy, seems to have become
convinced that she now loved him, and he may have desired to give her a legal status in
the eyes of the church, and so provide for her future.

To secure reforms from the Spanish government.

To help the church cut away from the disease which harmed her.
Rizal did not desire to injure the Roman Catholic Church, but to remove the cancer
which ruined both church and state in the Philippines -- friar control of land and
domination by the government. He was also struggling for freedom of thought and of
conscience to the individual. He may have felt that much of his propaganda had
produced the insurrection, and have repented of that. His letter to Paciano, written the
night before his execution supports that theory. It also had been suggested that Rizal
may have written the word" Catholic" in the broad sense of the "Church Universal" as it
is used by all branches of the Christian Church excepting the Roman Catholics. All
churches repeat, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," in this broad sense.

 The testimonial of Fr. Vicente Balaguer

According to a testimony by Father Vicente Balaguer, a Jesuit missionary who
befriended the hero during his exile in Dapitan, Rizal accepted a shorter retraction
document prepared by the superior of the Jesuit Society in the Philippines, Father Pio
Pi. Rizal then wrote his retraction after making some modifications in the document. In
his retraction, he disavowed Masonry and religious thoughts that opposed Catholic
belief.“Personally, I did not believe he retracted, but some documents that was purchased
by the Philippine government from Spain in the mid-1990s, the Cuerpo de Vigilancia de
Manila,” showed some interesting points about the retraction, said Jose Victor Torres,
professor at the History department of the De La Salle University. Popularly known as the
Katipunan and Rizal documents, the Cuerpo de Vigilancia de Manila is a body of
documents on the Philippine revolutions that contains confidential reports, transcripts,
clippings, and photographs from Spanish and Philippine newspapers. Despite this,
Torres said his perception of the Filipino martyr would not change even if the
controversies were true.“Even though it would be easy to say he retracted all that he
wrote about the Church, it still did not change the fact that his writings began the wheels
of change in Philippine colonial society during the Spanish period—a change that led to
our independence,” Torres said. “The retraction is just one aspect of the life, works, and
writings of Rizal.”But then, Torres noted that the controversy is irrelevant today.“The way
Rizal is taught in schools today, the retraction means nothing,” he said.‘ Unadorned fact’
Filipino historian Nicolas Zafra considered the controversy as “a plain unadorned fact of
history, having all the marks and indications of historical certainty and reality” in his
book The Historicity of Rizal’s Retraction. Dr. Augusto De Viana, head of UST’s
Department of History , also believes that Rizal retracted and said the National Hero just
renounced from the Free Masonry and not from his famous nationalistic works.

“He (Rizal) retracted. He died as a Catholic, and a proof that he died as a Catholic was
he was buried inside the sacred grounds of Paco Cemetery,” said De Viana, who
compared the martyr with Apolinario Mabini, a revolutionary and free mason who was
buried in a Chinese cemetery.De Viana said it is not possible that the retraction letter
had been forged because witnesses were present while Rizal was signing it. He added
that the evidence speaks for itself and moves on to the question on Rizal’s character as
some argue that the retraction is not in line with Rizal’s mature beliefs and
personality.“Anti-retractionists ask, ‘What kind of hero is Jose Rizal?’ They say he was
fickle-minded. Well, that may be true, but that is human character. Rizal was not a
perfect person,” De Viana said.

 Cry of Balintawak by Guillermo Masangkay

If the expression is taken literally –the Cry as the shouting of nationalistic slogans in
mass assemblies –then there were scores of such Cries. Some writers refer to a Cry of
Montalban on April 1895, in the Pamitinan Caves where a group of Katipunan members
wrote on the cave walls, “Viva la indepencia Filipina!” long before the Katipunan decided
to launch a nationwide revolution.

The historian Teodoro Agoncillo chose to emphasize Bonifacio’s tearing of the cedula
(tax receipt) before a crowd of Katipuneros who then broke out in cheers. However,
Guardia Civil Manuel Sityar never mentioned in his memoirs (1896-1898) the tearing or
inspection of the cedula, but did note the pacto de sangre (blood pact) mark on every
single Filipino he met in August 1896 on his reconnaissance missions around

Some writers consider the first military engagement with the enemy as the defining
moment of the Cry. To commemorate this martial event upon his return from exile in
Hong Kong, Emilio Aguinaldo commissioned a “Himno de Balintawak” to herald
renewed fighting after the failed peace of the pact of Biyak na Bato.

On 3 September 1911, a monument to the Heroes of 1896 was erected in what is now
the intersection of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue and Andres Bonifacio Drive –North
Doversion Road. From that time on until 1962, the Cry of Balintawak was officially
celebrated every 26 August.

It is not clear why the 1911 monument was erected there. It could not have been to
mark the site of Apolonio Samson’s house in barrio Kangkong; Katipuneros marked that
site on Kaingin Road, between Balintawak and San Francisco del Monte Avenue.

Neither could the 1911 monument have been erected to mark the site of the first armed
encounter which, incidentally, the Katipuneros fought and won. A contemporary map of
1896 shows that the August battle between the Katipunan rebels and the Spanish
forces led by Lt. Ros of the Civil Guards took place at sitio Banlat, North of Pasong
Tamo Road far from Balintawak. The site has its own marker.

It is quite clear that first, eyewitnesses cited Balintawak as the better-known reference
point for a larger area. Second, while Katipunan may have been massing in Kangkong,
the revolution was formally launched elsewhere. Moreover, eyewitnesses and therefore
historians, disagreed on the site and date of the Cry.

 Cry of Pugadlawin by Pio Valenzuela

Pio Valenzuela had several versions of the Cry. Only after they are compared and
reconciled with the other accounts will it be possible to determined what really

In September 1896, Valenzuela stated before the Olive Court, which was charged with
investigating persons involved in the rebellion, only that Katipunan meetings took place
from Sunday to Tuesday or 23 to 25 August at Balintawak.

In 1911, Valenzuela averred that the Katipunan began meeting on 22 August while the
Cry took place on 23 August at Apolonio Samson’s house in Balintawak.

From 1928 to 1940, Valenzuela maintained that the Cry happened on 24 August at the
house of Tandang Sora (Melchora Aquino) in Pugad Lawin, which he now situated near
Pasong Tamo Road. A photograph of Bonifacio’s widow Gregoria de Jesus and
Katipunan members Valenzuela, Briccio Brigido Pantas, Alfonso and Cipriano Pacheco,
published in La Opinion in 1928 and 1930, was captioned both times as having been
taken at the site of the Cry on 24 August 1896 at the house of Tandang Sora at Pasong
Tamo Road.

In 1935 Valenzuela, Pantas and Pacheco proclaimed “na hindi sa Balintawak nangyari
ang unang sigaw ng paghihimagsik na kinalalagian ngayon ng bantayog, kung di sa
pook na kilala sa tawag na Pugad Lawin.” (The first Cry of the revolution did not happen
in Balintawak where the monument is, but in a place called Pugad Lawin.)

In 1940, a research team of the Philippines Historical Committee (a forerunner of the

National Historical Institute or NHI), which included Pio Valenzuela, identified the
precise spot of Pugad Lawin as part of sitio Gulod, Banlat, Kalookan City. In 1964, the
NHI’s Minutes of the Katipunan referred to the place of the Cry as Tandang Sora’s and
not as Juan Ramos’ house, and the date as 23 August.

Valenzuela memoirs (1964, 1978) averred that the Cry took place on 23 August at the
house of Juan Ramos at Pugad Lawin. The NHI was obviously influenced by
Valenzuela’s memoirs. In 1963, upon the NHI endorsement, President Diosdado
Macapagal ordered that the Cry be celebrated on 23 August and that Pugad Lawin be
recognized as its site.

John N. Schrumacher, S.J, of the Ateneo de Manila University was to comment on Pio
Valenzuela’s credibility:

I would certainly give much less credence to all accounts coming from Pio Valezuela,
and to the interpretations Agoncillo got from him verbally, since Valenzuela gave so
many versions from the time he surrendered to the Spanish authorities and made
various statements not always compatible with one another up to the time when as an
old man he was interviewed by Agoncillo.
Pio Valenzuela backtracked on yet another point. In 1896, Valenzuela testified that
when the Katipunan consulted Jose Rizal on whether the time had come to revolt, Rizal
was vehemently against the revolution. Later, in Agoncillo’s Revolt of the masses,
Valenzuela retracted and claimed that Rizal was actually for the uprising, if certain
prerequisites were met. Agoncillo reasoned that Valenzuela had lied to save Rizal. It
was in Pugad Lawin, where they proceeded upon leaving Samson’s place in the
afternoon of the 22nd, that the more than 1,000 members of the Katipunan met in the
yard of Juan A. Ramos, son of Melchora Aquino,…in the morning of August 23rd.
Considerable discussion arose whether the revolt against the Spanish government
should be started on the 29th. Only one man protested… But he was overruled in his
stand… Bonifacio then announced the decision and shouted: “Brothers, it was agreed to
continue with the plan of revolt. My brothers, do you swear to repudiate the government
that oppresses us?” And the rebels, shouting as one man replied: “Yes, sir!” “That being
the case,” Bonifacio added, “bring out your cedulas and tear them to pieces to
symbolize our determination to take arms!” .. . Amidst the ceremony, the rebels, tear-
stained eyes, shouted: “Long live the Philippines! Long live the Katipunan!

Agoncillo used his considerable influenced and campaigned for a change in the
recognized site to Pugad Lawin and the date 23 August 1896. In 1963, the National
Heroes Commission (a forerunner of the NHI), without formal consultations or
recommendations to President Macapagal.

Consequently, Macapagal ordered that the Cry of Balintawak be called the “Cry of
Pugad Lawin,” and that it be celebrated on 23 August instead of 26 August. The 1911
monument in Balintawak was later removed to a highway. Student groups moved to
save the discarded monument, and it was installed in front of Vinzons Hall in the
Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines on 29 November 1968.