Sunday, August 24, 2008

Zamora's sacrifice

Those who remembered (like Mayor Alfredo S. Lim) celebrated the birthday of Padre Jacinto Zamora last 14 August, With Jose Burgos and Mariano Gomezm he championed the cause of secular priests during the 19th century. They believed it was a travesty and an injustice for religious priests, (called friars) to hold on to the parishes which most of them were using to wield political power and from where they relished socioeconomic privileges. GOMBURZA , a password of the Katipunan, is how we refer to the heroic triumvirate.

Although Padre Zamora was originally from Pandacan, (where his memory is dearly revered) he served in Intramuros and Cavite where he was implicated with a workers mutiny in 1872, so brutally repressed by the colonial authorities who rounded up, captured, arrested, tortured, summarily executed and exiled anyone remotely suspected of sedition and rebellion. The three priests were implicated by a certain Zaldua who turned government witness thinking he would be spared the garrote.

According to the historical grapevine, Padre Zamora was given to gambling; he had a group of card-playing friends and one of them sent him a cryptic note about gun powder and ammunition being ready (meaning the gambling paraphernalia) and, unfortunately for the young priest, that fell into the wrong hands and was used as evidence against him. Padre Zamora did not leave a substantive body of written works, like Jose Rizal and other Propagandists, none of his sermons are extant but he was said to have contributed to the underground press of his time. His death and the terrible circumstances and manner of execution has made his (as well as Burgos and Gomez) sacrifice a turning point in the nation’s history.

As it was, during the period that led to the Cavite Mutiny and to the reformist campaign of GOMBURZA the natives, then called indios, appropriated the tern Filipino which was used to refer to Spaniards born in the Philippines. Historians have interpreted that as as indelible sign of a collective feeling of nationhood which became widespread and more passionate and eventually sparked the Philippine Revolution and bore fruit in the First Republic.

Strikingly different were those times, compared to what its going on these days . Last week, Governor Joey Salceda of Albay was reported to have declared during a television interview that we are ”genetically destined to fail as a nation state” or some such barbarity. An erstwhile congressman and close adviser of the president, Mr. Salceda certainly did not mince words as he demolished our past, present and future in one fell swoop. He mindlessly denigrated the sacred memory of Filipino heroes like Padre Jacinto Zamora who gave up their lives for a nation they envisioned ; he deliberately dismissed the efforts of millions of Filipinos who are making ends meet and keeping the country afloat, and worst, Mr. Salceda has totally obliterated our future as Filipinos. What are we to be, entities without any sovereignty, jurisdiction or identity?

Could that be why Fr. Jacinto Zamora went mad at the last minute? Was he gripped by a sudden desperation that perhaps all would be for naught?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

dear ms. gemma cruz-araneta,

I stumbled upon this blog entry under the traveler on foot website. I think this deserves attention from the heritage and culture society.