Definitions

Gomburza

Gomburza

Gomburza or GOMBURZA is an acronym denoting the surnames of Fathers Mariano Gómez, José Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, three Filipino priests who were executed on February 17, 1872 at Bagumbayan in Manila, Philippines by Spanish colonial authorities on charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite Mutiny. Their execution left a profound effect on many Filipinos; José Rizal, the national hero, would dedicate his novel El Filibusterismo to their memory.

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

Background

During the Spanish colonial period, four social class distinctions were effectively observed between peninsular Spaniards. These were 1.) Spaniards who were born in Spain— peninsulares, 2.) Spaniards who were born in the colony of Spain (Latin America or The Philippines)—insulares and Spanish mestizos who could pass for a Criollo 3.) Spanish mestizos, Chinese mestizos or 'Indios' (natives) dwelling within or nearby the urban city (or town) and the church, and, finally, 4.) Chinese and rural Indios.

Father Burgos was a Spanish criollo, a Doctor of Philosophy whose prominence extended even to Spain, such that when the new Governor and Captain-General Carlos Maria de la Torre arrived from Spain to assume his duties, he invited Father 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 governor De la Torre was not welcomed 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 mistakenly embraced by the secular priests, majority of whom were mestizos and indios assigned to parishes and far-flung communities, who believed the reforms and the equality they sought with peninsular Spaniards were at hand. In less than two years, De la Torre was replaced by Rafael de Izquierdo who turned out to be a pliant tool of the friars.

The Cavite Mutiny

The so-called Cavite Mutiny of workers in the arsenal of the naval shipyard over pay reduction owing to 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. Significantly, in the archives of Spain, there is no record of how Izquierdo, himself a liberal, could have been influenced to authorize these executions. 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 died there.

Recovery of remains

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.

See also

Further reading

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

Footnotes

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