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One hundred and forty years ago, on January 20, 1872, about 200
Filipino military personnel of Fort San Felipe Arsenal in Cavite,
Philippines, staged a mutiny which in a way led to the Philippine
Revolution in 1896. The 1872 Cavite Mutiny was precipitated by the
removal of long-standing personal benefits to the workers such as tax
(tribute) and forced labor exemptions on order from the Governor
General Rafael de Izquierdo.

Izquierdo replaced Governor General Carlos Maria de la Torre some

months before in 1871 and immediately rescinded Torre’s liberal
measures and imposed his iron-fist rule. He was opposed to any hint of
reformist or nationalistic movements in the Philippines. He was in
office for less than two years, but he will be remembered for his
cruelty to the Filipinos and the barbaric execution of the three martyr-
priests blamed for the mutiny: Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos,
and Jacinto Zamora, later collectively called “Gomburza.”

The mutineers were led by Sgt. Fernando La Madrid; they seized the
Fort and killed the Spanish officers. Fearing a general uprising, the
Spanish government in Manila sent a regiment under General Felipe
Ginoves to recover the Fort. The besieged mutiny was quelled, and
many mutineers including Sgt. La Madrid were killed. Later, others
were sentenced to death or hard labor.

Izquierdo used the mutiny to implicate Gomburza and other notable

Filipinos known for their liberal leanings. Prominent Filipinos such as
priests, professionals, and businessmen were arrested on flimsy and
trumped-up charges and sentenced to prison, death, or exile. These
include Joaquin Pardo de Tavera, Jose Basa, and Antonio M. Regidor.
It was said that the Cavite mutineers got their cue from Manila when
they saw and heard fireworks across the Manila Bay which was really
a celebration of the feast of the Lady of Loreto in Sampaloc.
When the Archbishop of Manila, Rev. Meliton Martinez, refused to
cooperate and defrock the priests, the Spanish court-martial on
February 15 went ahead and maliciously found Fathers Gomez, Burgos,
and Zamora guilty of treason for instigating the Cavite mutiny. Two
days later, the three priests were put to death by garrotte in
Bagumbayan, now known as Luneta. (Garrote was a barbaric Spanish
method of execution in which an iron collar was tightened around the
prisoner’s neck until death occurred.)

Father Burgos was of Spanish descent, born in the Philippines. He was

a parish priest of the Manila Cathedral and had been known to be
close to the liberal Governor General de la Torre. He was 35 years old
at the time and was active and outspoken in advocating the
Filipinization of the clergy. He was quoted as saying, “Why shall a
young man strive to rise in the profession of law or theology when he
can vision no future for himself but obscurity?”

Father Zamora, 37, was also Spanish, born in the Philippines. He was
the parish priest of Marikina and was known to be unfriendly to and
would not countenance any arrogance or authoritative behavior from
Spaniards coming from Spain. He once snubbed a Spanish governor
who came to visit Marikina.

Father Gomez was an old man in his mid-’70, Chinese-Filipino, born in

Cavite. He held the most senior position of the three as Archbishop’s
Vicar in Cavite. He was truly nationalistic and accepted the death
penalty calmly as though it were his penance for being pro-Filipinos.

The three priests were stripped of their albs, and with chained hands
and feet were brought to their cells after their sentence. They
received numerous visits from folks coming from Cavite, Bulacan, and
elsewhere. Forty thousand Filipinos came to Luneta to witness and
quietly condemn the execution, and Gomburza became a rallying
catchword for the down-trodden Filipinos seeking justice and freedom
from Spain.
In the dedication page of his second book, El Filibusterismo, published
in 1891, Dr. Jose Rizal wrote, “I dedicate my work to you as victims of
the evil which I undertake to combat…”

It is well to remember that the seeds of nationalism that was sown in

Cavite blossomed to the Philippine Revolution and later to the
Declaration of Independence by Emilio Aguinaldo which took place
also in Cavite. As for me, the 1872 Cavite Mutiny bolstered the
stereotypical belief that Caviteños were the most courageous of my
fellow Filipinos.

About the author: Dr. Eusebio Koh



Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora—were executed by


Textbook history makes it easier for us to remember the three priests

as “Gomburza” (for Gomez, Burgos and Zamora). Who thought up this
sequence? If we follow the alphabetical order, the acronym should be
“Burgomza.” If we follow seniority at the time of death, then it should be
Gomzabur—Gomez was 73 years old, Zamora 37, and Burgos 35—and
the opposite if we start from the youngest—Burzagom. Textbook history
instills Gomburza in young minds and forgets Francisco Zaldua, who
was executed on the same date and place before Gomburza. And that’s
not all: Aside from Gomburza and Zaldua, so many others, forgotten by
history, were implicated in and punished for the Cavite Mutiny of 1872.

Maybe they are not important enough, or maybe our teachers did not
want to clutter our minds with more useless information, but the
military court that tried the case punished more than Gomburza. On
Jan. 26, 1872, the military court sentenced 41 mutineers to death. The
next day, however, the governor pardoned 28 and confirmed the
sentence of 13. Their names are not in our textbooks.

On Feb. 6, 1872, the military court sentenced another 11 mutineers to

death, but the governor commuted their death sentences to life
imprisonment. On Feb. 8, 1872, the military court sentenced Camerino,
commander of the Guias de la Torre, to death and 11 of his men to 10
years in prison. The governor confirmed this decision without any
changes. On Feb. 15, 1872, the military court sentenced Fathers Gomez,
Burgos and Zamora as well as Zaldua to death by garrote and imposed
10-year imprisonment on Enrique Paraiso, Maximo Innocencio and
Crisanto de los Reyes. On Feb. 29, 1872, the military court sentenced
eight Filipino soldiers to death by firing squad. Two were pardoned by
the governor.

I have to do more research to find out why and how some people were
sentenced to death and others to imprisonment or exile, and why the
three priests and Zaldua were sentenced to death by garrote while six
soldiers were dispatched by a firing squad. From the sentences
imposed, it is clear that what followed the Cavite Mutiny was a period
best described by historian O.D. Corpuz as the “Terror of 1872”—a wave
of arrest, execution, imprisonment and exile that silenced a whole
generation but influenced young boys at the time, like Rizal, Bonifacio,
Mabini, Aguinaldo, etc. to become the heroes in our pantheon.

Last but not least were the people sentenced by the military court to
exile in the Marianas (Guam): Fr. Pedro Dandan, Fr. Mariano Sevilla,
Toribio H. del Pilar (brother of Marcelo H. del Pilar), Agustin Mendoza,
Jose Guevara, Miguel Lasa, Justo Guazon, Fr. Aniceto Desiderio, Fr.
Vicente del Rosario, Joaquin Pardo de Tavera, Antonio Ma. Regidor,
Jose Basa y Enriquez, Mauricio de Leon, Pedro Carillo, Gervasio
Sanchez, Jose Ma. Basa, Pio Basa, Balvino Mauricio, Maximo Paterno
(father of Pedro Paterno), and Valentin Tosca. All these names are in
some books but they are largely forgotten in a story that focuses only
on Gomburza. Rizal dedicated his second novel, “El Filibusterismo”
(Ghent, 1891), to Gomburza. In his doing so, the rest of the people
implicated in the events of 1872 were lost to textbook history.

It is unfortunate that the late Gregorio F. Zaide’s two-volume textbook,

“The Pageant of Philippine History” (Manila, 1979), is not in use in
schools today because it is full of information left out in the textbooks
of his competitors. Zaide may be old-fashioned to a generation that
grew up with the works of nationalist historians Teodoro A. Agoncillo
and Renato Constantino, but I have always appreciated his two-volume
work. One may not find Zaide’s writing style or viewpoint to one’s taste,
but in his footnotes he gives the interested reader the leads to follow up

In his semester my journey is too amazing and full of learnings and it

make’s me truly out of my mind in every time that we will having our
topic, discussion, opinions,sharing our readings,having recitations,an
surpise quiz actually it should call as “SHOCKING QUIZ” why? Because
if that’s surpise it should be ovwerwhelming and it should be make our
heart and make our lips smile right? But kidding aside my whole journey
in RIPH makes me happy and makes me believe that my knowledge is

I’m thankful to Professor. Jaime Ayuro because he makes my journey

full of rainbow colors I really don’t know why? Why did I choose this
course now I knew it I want to a teacher someday becauser of Sir.
Ayuro I’ve realize that “ I REALLY BELONG HERE” I must say that I
deserve to here and he also mold me to be responsible individual,
ready,prepared, and I should go to school with knowlegde and be
prepare to the may happened.

My whole journey on RIPH makes me realize that our country is full of

conflict that we need to resolve, be aware, be responsible, be
effective, be reliable, don’t believe easily in short don’t be galible,and
the most important be a good role model to your student. Yes I’m
claiming that I will be an teacher someday and also I would like to
take this oppurtunity to give my gratitude to my professor Mr. Jaime
Ayuro for having patience to us and for giving an unforgettable
memories and experiences, Sir you gave an extraordinary
experciences through your lessons and discussion I’m very thankful
and honored to be your student thank you Sir for this precious
mammon’s given to me.