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Report no.

001

THE TWO FACES OF THE 1872 CAVITE MUTINY

By Chris Antonette Piedad-Pugay

The 12th of June of every year since 1898 is a very important event for all the

Filipinos. In this particular day, the entire Filipino nation as well as Filipino

communities all over the world gathers to celebrate the Philippines’

Independence Day. 1898 came to be a very significant year for all of us— it is as

equally important as 1896—the year when the Philippine Revolution broke out

owing to the Filipinos’ desire to be free from the abuses of the Spanish colonial

regime. But we should be reminded that another year is as historic as the two—

1872.

Two major events happened in 1872, first was the 1872 Cavite Mutiny and

the other was the martyrdom of the three martyr priests in the persons of Fathers

Mariano Gomes, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora (GOMBURZA). However, not

all of us knew that there were different accounts in reference to the said event.

All Filipinos must know the different sides of the story—since this event led to

another tragic yet meaningful part of our history—the execution of GOMBURZA

which in effect a major factor in the awakening of nationalism among the

Filipinos.

1872 Cavite Mutiny: Spanish Perspective


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 Intramuros.

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.

A Response to Injustice: The Filipino Version of the Incident

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.

Unraveling the Truth

Considering the four accounts of the 1872 Mutiny, there were some basic

facts that remained to be unvarying: First, there was dissatisfaction among the

workers of the arsenal as well as the members of the native army after their
privileges were drawn back by Gen. Izquierdo; Second, Gen. Izquierdo

introduced rigid and strict policies that made the Filipinos move and turn away

from Spanish government out of disgust; Third, the Central Government failed to

conduct an investigation on what truly transpired but relied on reports of

Izquierdo and the friars and the opinion of the public; Fourth, the happy days of

the friars were already numbered in 1872 when the Central Government in

Spain decided to deprive them of the power to intervene in government affairs as

well as in the direction and management of schools prompting them to commit

frantic moves to extend their stay and power; Fifth, the Filipino clergy members

actively participated in the secularization movement in order to allow Filipino

priests to take hold of the parishes in the country making them prey to the rage

of the friars; Sixth, Filipinos during the time were active participants, and

responded to what they deemed as injustices; and Lastly, the execution of

GOMBURZA was a blunder on the part of the Spanish government, for the action

severed the ill-feelings of the Filipinos and the event inspired Filipino patriots to

call for reforms and eventually independence. There may be different versions of

the event, but one thing is certain, the 1872 Cavite Mutiny paved way for a

momentous 1898.

The road to independence was rough and tough to toddle, many patriots

named and unnamed shed their bloods to attain reforms and achieve

independence. 12 June 1898 may be a glorious event for us, but we should not

forget that before we came across to victory, our forefathers suffered enough. As
weenjoy our freeedom, may we be more historically aware of our past to have a

better future ahead of us. And just like what Elias said in Noli me Tangere, may

we “not forget those who fell during the night.”


HE RIZAL RETRACTION AND OTHER CASES

by Peter Jaynul V. Uckung

The flow of history is as inexorable as the tidal flow of an angry ocean. But

ever so often in our collective recollection, it is remembered that sometimes the

skilful use of forgery can redirect the flow of history itself.

In the Philippines today, forgery is usually resorted to redirect the flow of

money from the rightful beneficiary to the unworthy pockets of invisible people.

That money is usually the target of forgery is known and practiced all over

the world, but forgery in the hands of the wily, has power to effect a redirection

of events and undoing of history. It has the power to obscure or beliee an

occurrence or create an event that did not actually transpire. It also has the

power to enslave and destroy.


In October 1600, the Muslim Ottoman Army and a Christian army, led by

Austrians, with Hungarian, French, Maltese and German troops were battling it

out for territory called Kanizsa. The Ottoman army was outgunned and

outmanned, but the Ottoman commander, Tiryaki Hasan Pasha was a clever

man. He knew that the Hungarians were not too happy to be allied with the

Austrians. So he sent fake letters, designed them to be captured by the Austrians.

The letters contained Hungarian alliance with Ottoman forces. The Austrian

upon reading the fake letters signed by a reliable source (obviously forged)

decided to kill all Hungarian soldiers.

The Hungarians revolted and the Christian army disintegrated from within.

Thus, did the Ottomans won the battle, by issuing forged communication.

During World War II, the British, to protect the secrecy of the Allied plan to

invade Sicily in 1943, launched operation Mincemeat. This was a deception

campaign to mislead German Intelligence about the real target of the start of the

Allied Invasion of Europe.

A series of seemingly genuine secret documents, with forged signatures, were

attached to a British corpse dressed in military uniforms. It was left to float


somewhere in a beach in Spain, where plenty of German agents were sure to get

hold of it.

The body with the fake documents was found eventually and its documents

seen by German agents. The documents identified Sardinia and Corsica as the

targets of the Allied invasion. The Germans believed it, and was caught with their

pants down when allied forces hit the beaches of the real target, which was

Sicily.

This kind of deception was also used by the British against the Germans in

North Africa. They placed a map of British minefields, then attached them to a

corpse. The minefields were non-existent but the Germans saw the map and

considered it true. Thus, they rerouted their tanks to areas with soft sand where

they bogged down.

In 1944, a Japanese sea plane crashed near Cebu. According to Japanese

military officials who were captured, and later released, they were

accompanying Gen. Koga, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet.

Gen. Koga died in the crash. A little later, Filipino fisherman recovered some

Japanese documents. They delivered the documents to US Intelligence. The


documents revealed that Leyte was lightly defended. As a result, the Americans

shifted their invasion target to Leyte instead of Cotabato Bay in Mindanao.

On October 17, 1944 the invasion of Leyte went underway. Leyte was lightly

defended as the Koga papers have indicated. But it was during the invasion of

Leyte when the Japanese navy launched their last offensive strike against the US

fleet, with the objective of obliterating it once and for all. They nearly succeeded.

After this near-tragic event, the Koga papers were considered by some military

strategists as spurious and could have been manufactured by the Japanese to

mislead the American navy into thinking that Leyte was a defenceless island. That

Leyte was a trap. And the Americans nearly fell into it.

In recent memory, there was an incident in which the forging of documents

served to negate the existence of an independent Philippines.

In 1901, the Americans managed to capture a Filipino messenger, Cecilio

Segismundo who carried with him documents from Aguinaldo. The American

then faked some documents complete with forged signature, telling Aguinaldo

that some Filipino officers were sending him guerrillas with American prisoners.

With the help of a Spanish traitor, Lazaro Segovia, the Americans assembled a
company of pro-American Filipino soldiers, the Macabebe scouts. These were the

soldiers who penetrated the camp of Aguinaldo, disguised as soldiers of the

Philippine Republic. They managed to capture Aguinaldo. With the president

captured, his generals began to surrender, and the Republic began to fall.

The document of the retraction of Jose Rizal, too, is being hotly debated as to

its authenticity.

It was supposed to have been signed by Jose Rizal moments before his death.

There were many witnesses, most of them Jesuits. The document only surfaced

for public viewing on May 13, 1935. It was found by Fr. Manuel A. Gracia at the

Catholic hierarchy’s archive in Manila. But the original document was never

shown to the public, only reproductions of it.

However, Fr. Pio Pi, a Spanish Jesuit, reported that as early as 1907, the

retraction of Rizal was copied verbatim and published in Spain, and reprinted in

Manila. Fr. Gracia, who found the original document, also copied it verbatim.
In both reproductions, there were conflicting versions of the text. Add to this

the date of the signing was very clear in the original Spanish document which

Rizal supposedly signed. The date was “December 29, 1890.”

Later, another supposedly original document surfaced, it bears the date

“December 29, 189C”. The number “0” was evidently altered to make it look like

a letter C. Then still later, another supposedly original version came up. It has the

date “December 29, 1896”. This time, the “0” became a “6”.

So which is which?

Those who strongly believed the faking of the Rizal retraction document,

reported that the forger of Rizal’s signature was Roman Roque, the man who also

forged the signature of Urbano Lacuna, which was used to capture Aguinaldo.

The mastermind, they say, in both Lacuna’s and Rizal’s signature forging was

Lazaro Segovia. They were approached by Spanish friars during the final day of

the Filipino-American war to forge Rizal’s signature.


This story was revealed by Antonio K. Abad, who heard the tale from Roman

Roque himself, them being neighbours.

To this day, the retraction issue is still raging like a wild fire in the forest of

the night.

Others would like to believe that the purported retraction of Rizal was

invented by the friars to deflect the heroism of Rizal which was centered on the

friar abuses.

Incidentally, Fr. Pio Pi, who copied verbatim Rizal’s retraction, also figured

prominently during the revolution. It was him, Andres Bonifacio reported, who

had intimated to Aguinaldo the cessation of agitation in exchange of pardon.

There are also not a few people who believe that the autobiography of

Josephine Bracken, written on February 22, 1897 is also forged and forged badly.

The document supposedly written by Josephine herself supported the fact that

they were married under the Catholic rites. But upon closer look, there is a
glaring difference between the penmanship of the document, and other letters

written by Josephine to Rizal.

Surely, we must put the question of retraction to rest, though Rizal is a hero,

whether he retracted or not, we must investigate if he really did a turn-around. If

he did not, and the documents were forgeries, then somebody has to pay for

trying to deceive a nation.