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Engraving featuring the three priests.
Execution site of the Gomburza in what is now Rizal Park, Manila.

Gomburza or GOMBURZA refers to three Filipino Catholic priests (Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora), who were executed on 17 February 1872 at Luneta in Bagumbayan, Philippines by Spanish colonial authorities on charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny. The name is an portmanteau of the priests' surnames.

Their execution had a profound effect on many late 19th-century Filipinos; José Rizal, later to become the country's national hero, would dedicate his novel El filibusterismo to their memory.[1]

Background[edit]

The uprising by workers in the Cavite Naval Yard was the pretext[2][3] needed by the authorities to redress a perceived humiliation from the principal objective, José Burgos, who threatened the established order.

During the Spanish colonial period, four social class distinctions were observed in the islands: Spaniards who were born in Spain, peninsulares; Spaniards born in the colonies of Spain (Latin America or the Philippines), insulares or Creoles; Spanish mestizos, Chinese mestizos or 'Indios' (natives) dwelling within or near the city (or town) and the church; and Chinese or Sangley and rural Indios.[4]

Burgos was a Creoles, a Doctor of Philosophy[citation needed] whose prominence extended even to Spain, such that when the new Governor and Captain-General Carlos María de la Torre arrived from Spain to assume his duties, he invited Burgos to sit beside him in his carriage during the inaugural procession, a place traditionally reserved for the archbishop and who was a peninsular Spaniard. The arrival of the liberal de la Torre was opposed by the ruling minority of friars, regular priests who belonged to an order (Dominicans, Augustinians, Recollects, and Franciscans) and their allies in civil government but supported by the secular priests, most of whom were mestizos and indios assigned to parishes and farflung communities and believed that the reforms and the equality that they wanted with peninsular Spaniards were finally coming. In less than two years, de la Torre was replaced by Rafael de Izquierdo.

Batangas Mutiny[edit]

Main article: 1872 Cavite mutiny

The so-called Cavite Mutiny of workers in the arsenal of the naval shipyard over a pay reduction from increased taxation produced a willing witness to implicate the three priests, who were summarily tried and sentenced to death by garrote on February 17, 1872. The bodies of the three priests were buried in a common, unmarked grave in the Paco Cemetery, in keeping with the practice of burying enemies of the state.[2] Significantly, in the archives of Spain, there is no record of how Izquierdo, a liberal, could have been influenced to authorize these executions.[citation needed] Gregorio Meliton Martinez, the Archbishop of Manila, refused to defrock the priests, as they did not break any canon law. He ordered the bells of every church to be rung in honor of the executed priests. The aftermath of the investigation produced scores of suspects, most of whom were exiled to Guam in the Marianas. Except for a few, who managed to escape to other ports like Hong Kong, most of the suspects died.

Recovery of remains[edit]

Grave site of Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora in Paco Park, Manila.

Early in 1998, bones, believed to belong to one of the three executed priests, were discovered at the Paco Park Cemetery by the Manila City Engineers Office.[5]

Gomburza sculpture at Parish of the Holy Sacrifice.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press. 

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Nationalista Party History". Archived from the original on 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  2. ^ a b "The Secularization Issue and the Execution of Gomburza". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  3. ^ "Padre Jose Ma. Burgos". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  4. ^ "Hidalgo and Luna: Vexed Modernity". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  5. ^ Casipit, Jennifer R. "GOMBURZA. Reluctant martyrs started it all". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 

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