Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mayor Lim lauds GOMBURZA

 On that  breezy Sunday morning, one
hundred thirty six years after three Filipino priests
were garroted at Bagumbayan, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim
commemorated the nationalism of Fathers Mariano
Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora and connected it
to the current “communal action”.

Addressing the students in the audience,
Mayor Lim said that both Jose Rizal and Andres
Bonifacio were inspired by Frs. Gomez, Burgos and
Zamora. Dr. Rizal, a twelve-year old lad when the
priests were executed, dedicated to them his novel EL
FILIBUSTERISMO. Apparently, the acronym GOMBURZA is
attributed to Andres Bonifcaio as it was one of the
passwords of the Katipunan.

Fr. Jose Burgos , an Ilocano, son of a Spanish
lieutenant was only thirty five when he was killed. He
was a brilliant theologian and became the second
curate of the Manila Cathedral as well as fiscal of
the Ecclesiastical Court. Perhaps, his being a Spanish
mestizo helped him attain such elevated positions,
denied to indio-Filipino priests who were just as

Fr. Jacinto Zamora was a native of Pandacan and only
two years older than Fr. Burgos on execution day. He
became parish priest of Marikina and Pasig and was
later appointed to the Manila Cathdral, after passing
with flying colors the qualifying examination.
At the time of his death, Fr. Mariano Gomez, a
mestizo Chino from Santa Cruz, Manila, was already
seventy –three.(Mayor Lim took note of the age
similarity). He had a Bachelor of Theology and was
also a lawyer and parish priest of Bacoor, Cavite. He
founded the newspaper called “La Verdad”(“Truth”) where
he exposed the abuses of the Spanish
colonial government as well as the religious orders.

Why were they garroted by the Spanish colonial
government and why didn’t the Church object?

GOMBURZA were members of the COMITE REFORMADOR which was
fighting to secure equal rights for Filipino secular
priests who, for centuries, were discriminated
against by reason of race in the appointments for
parish priests. In the early years of
Christianization, friars of the religious orders had
to man the newly-established parishes for lack of
secular clerics, but eventually, when many native
Filipino became secular priests they were considered
undeserving to be appointed as full parish curates.
Those positions were still reserved for full-blooded
Spanish priests most of whom were from religious
orders and who had grown accustomed to hold political
sway as intermediaries between the State and the
native population.

Because the Church and State were one , colonial
authorities always took the side of the Church and
native priests who clamored for their rights were
considered rebels. On 20 January 1872, a mutiny
exploded in the Spanish naval base in Cavite and
although it had absolutely nothing to do with the
activities of the COMITE REFORMADOR, the three
priests were deliberately implicated. arrested,
charged with sedition, incarcerated at Fort Santiago
and two weeks later were sentenced to death by

A reign of terror followed and many Filipino males
who showed talent and courage, like GOMBURZA, were
rounded up and killed Many of them went into hiding,
some concealed their identities like Paciano
Mercado who changed the family name to Rizal because
he was a friend of Fr. Burgos and his younger brother
a pupil.

After the ceremony, Mayor Alfredo Lim rushed to La
Salle Greenhills to attend the protest Mass for “
communal action” sparked by the revelations of Eng.
Jun Lozada. What a fitting tribute to GOMBURZA!

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