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Ways to Proving that Rizal Did Not Retract

Who is the Two Witnesses?

*Baron Fernandez
*Manuel Morato

Baron Fernandez
A Spanish orphan who worked for almost half century in two historical secret
archives in Madrid and Segovia, had an eyewitness account of the retraction
which he discovered in those repertories of Spain's dirty secrets. He found 34
documents including handwritten letters, telegrams, and military documents
including a thick sheaf of Rizal's defense. He had written himself days before
he was murdered at Bagumbayan.

Fernandez said: " I have documents stating that before he faced death, Rizal
told his sister Narcisa to look inside his shoes because he had left a letter.
According to Fernandez, that letter could only be a denial of his retraction
because Rizal knew the friars were misleading the Filipinos and he wanted to
set the record straight".

Manuel Moratos”s Expose

A friend of Baron Fernandez, subsequently bought from Fernande the
Intellectual Property right to the vauable manuscripts.
Morato said in his "expose" that the friars forged the retraction letter and
published in the Clerico- Fascist newspapers at that time. Morato confirmed
"No, Rizal never retracted although that fake retraction was published by friars
then and is still sadly peddled in most school, but that is not true."
Both Morato and Fernandez have documents to prove that when Rizal was in
Dapitan, he was allowed to go to Cebu with Josephine Bracken and
Archbishop of Cebu, at that time, tried to dangle marriage and coaxed him to to

Mr. Palm's coetaneous acts which undermine the belief that Rizal
1. The Documents of retracction were kept secret, only copies of it were
furnished to the newspapers, but, with the exception of one person, nobody
saw the original.
2. When the family of Rizal asked for the original of the said document or a
copy of the alleged retraction letter, the petition was denied.
3. Rizal's burial was kept secret.
4. No masses were said for his soul or funeral held by Catholics
5. The entry in the book of burials of the interment of Rizal's body is not made
on the page with those burials.
6, If Rizal retracted, he would not have been executed. But he was executed;
therefore Rizal did not retract. He would have been an example for the cause
of the friars; he would have been given a decent Christian burial, not buried
like a dead dog outside Paco Cemetery.

Link: https://prezi.com/zuchf8t_mfjj/ways-to-proving-that-rizal-did-not-retract/

Dr. Jose Rizal did not retract as testified by his great grand nephew
December 29, 2011
(Editor:This is Part II of the lecture delivered at the Chicago’s Newberry Library on
June 18, 2011. The author is a great-grand nephew of the Philippine National
Hero whose 150th birthday was marked on June 19 of this year. Dr. Rizal was
sentenced to die by musketry on Dec. 30, 1896 after a brief mock trial by a Spanish
military court in Fort Santiago, Manila.)
By Ramon G. Lopez, M.D.
“How could this be?” we ask. It COULD BE, for the circumstances and people had
connived. It COULD BE, for there was no other recourse. It COULD BE, for the
moth had burned its wings! Twenty-four years after the garroting of the Filipino
clerics, Fathers Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez, and Jacinto Zamora, the pogrom and
intimidation had to continue. It had to continue for the dying Empire and frailocracy
had now sensed its own death. It had to continue, for it wanted to display its final
domination of a reawakened people. However, it would not be completely so! The
man they had just martyred was a man whose politics and faith were unshakeable
and timeless. As we know, and as History recounts, it also projects.

To paraphrase the words of Dr. Rafael Palma the great Philippine scholar, patriot, and
former President of the University of the Philippines regarding the trial of Dr. Jose
Rizal, “the document obtained under moral duress and spiritual threats has very little
value before the tribunal of history.” Dr. Rafael Palma, a respected jurist of his time,
was an author on the life of our hero and had studied the trial of Dr. Jose Rizal
meticulously. Of this he says in his book The Pride of the Malay Race about Dr. Jose
Rizal, “His defense before the court martial is resplendent for its moderation and
serenity in spite of the abusive and vexatious manner in which the fiscal had treated
him.” For in man’s own tribunal, the tribunal and trial that condemned Dr. Jose Rizal
to die was a sham; his execution, a foregone conclusion.
It is common historical knowledge that Ms. Josephine Bracken lived with Dr. Jose
Rizal for three of the four years he was exiled in Dapitan. He truly loved her. They
had desired a canonical marriage but were presented with a pre-condition retraction
of Rizal’s anti-ecclesiastical writings and beliefs. As we may know, he was never
anti-God or anti-Church. He was anti-cleric to those who abused their mission and
hid behind their pretentious cloak of religiosity. He knew there were those who
practiced religion but did not worship God. Neither the retraction nor the marriage
occurred. He and Josephine were parents to a son, though he sadly passed. We
know that Dr. Jose Rizal had immortalized Josephine Bracken in his unsigned and
untitled poem which we now refer to as his “Ultimo Adios”: “Adios, dulce extranjera mi
amiga, mi alegria…” As Ambeth R. Ocampo, Director of the Philippine Historical
Institute quotes, “To accept Rizal as having married Bracken is to accept his alleged
retraction of religious error.” From Austin Coates, British author and
historian: “Before God, he (Dr. Rizal) had nothing to retract.” And from Dr. Jose
Rizal himself, I quote: “I go where there are no slaves, no hangmen, no oppressors…
where faith does not slay… where He who reigns is God.”

Fraudulent Premise

From 1892 to 1896, during his period of exile in Dapitan, the Catholic Church
attempted to redirect his beliefs regarding religious faith, albeit unsuccessfully. A
succession of visits from Fathers Obach, Vilaclara, and Sanchez did not find his
convictions wanting. He had decided to remain ecclesiastically unwed, rather than
recant his alleged “religious errors.” Now, there seems to be a “disconnect”, or even
a divide among historians as to whether Dr. Jose Rizal had abjured his apparent
errant religious ways as claimed by the friars and the Jesuits. Since a retraction of
alleged “religious errors” would have begotten a marriage to Ms. Josephine Bracken,
let us look for evidence that will prove this premise fraudulent. Austin Coates’ book
entitled Rizal – Philippine Nationalist and Martyr gives many compelling facts as
borne out from his own personal investigation, and with numerous interviews of the
Rizal family. To wit:

1.Fr. Vicente Balaguer, S. J., claimed that he performed the canonical marriage
between 6:00 – 6:15 AM of December 30, 1896 in the presence of one of the Rizal
sisters. The Rizal family denied that any of the Rizal sisters were there that fateful
morning. Dr. Jose Rizal was martyred at 7:03 AM.
2. Nobody had reported seeing Ms. Josephine Bracken in the vicinity of Fort Santiago
in the morning of the execution.

3. Considering the time it would take for the three priests (Fr. Jose Vilaclara, Fr.
Estanislao March, and Fr. Vicente Balaguer) to negotiate the expanse of the walk to
give spiritual care to the condemned Dr. Jose Rizal, why is it that only Fr. Balaguer
could “describe” a wedding? Furthermore, where were Fr. Vilaclara and Fr. March to
corroborate the occurrence of a marriage ceremony? Or was there really even one at

4. In Josephine Bracken’s matrimony to Vicente Abad, the Church Register of

Marriages kept at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Hong Kong made no reference
that Josephine was a “Rizal” by marriage, or that she was the widow of Dr. Jose Rizal.

5. In the legal register of Hong Kong, Josephine used the last name “Bracken” instead
of “Rizal” to be married to Vicente Abad.

6. In Josephine Bracken’s litigation versus Jose Maria Basa for the possession of Dr.
Jose Rizal’s valuable library, a certification from the British Consulate from Manila
stating that she was indeed Rizal’s widow would have bolstered her claim. She did
not pursue this. Why not?
7. In 1960, inquiry at the Cardinal-Bishopric of Manila for evidentiary proof of a
Rizal-Bracken marriage was not fruitful, or possibly, the issue was simply ignored by
the religious. Likewise, we ask the question, “Why?”

“Unconfessed” Martyrdom”

From the dark days of exile in Dapitan, to the even darker days of imprisonment at
Fort Santiago, the Catholic Church had demanded from Dr. Jose Rizal a retraction
before a canonical marriage could be performed. In this Inquisition-like setting of the
Spanish regime, it was always proclaimed that “the Indio always retracted”, as he
walked to his execution. Austin Coates states in his book: “The Spaniards publish
the same thing about everyone who is shot… Besides, nobody has ever seen this
written declaration in spite of the fact that a number of people would want to see it….
It is (always) in the hands of the Archbishop.” I say that if there was no marriage,
there could have not been a retraction, and Dr. Jose Rizal met his martyrdom

1. Indeed, at the Paco Cemetery, the name of Dr. Jose Rizal was listed among those
who died impenitent. The entry made in the book of burials at the cemetery where
Rizal was buried was not made on the page for those buried on December 30, 1896
(where there were as many as six entries), but on a special page, as ordered by the
authorities. Thus, Dr. Jose Rizal was entered on a page between a man who burned
to death, and another who died by suicide – persons considered “un-confessed” and
without spiritual aid at the time of death.

2. Father Estanislao March, S.J., and Fr. Jose Vilaclara, S.J. (who had
accompanied Dr. Jose Rizal to the execution site) could have ordered a Christian
burial, but they did not. They must have known that no retraction was made. Dr.
Jose Rizal was laid to earth bare, without a sack, without a coffin. This was the onus
of the “un-confessed.”

3. One must also remember that Dr. Jose Rizal wrote a short and final note to his
parents dated December 30, 1896 at 6:00 in the morning, with no mention of an
occurred or intended retraction and/or marriage. A message with that important
information would have been of great consolation to Dona Teodora Alonso and to Don
Francisco Mercado, whom he loved and respected dearly.
4. Despite numerous immediate supplications from the Rizal family after the
execution, no letter of retraction could be produced.

5. The Rizal family was informed by the church that approximately nine to eleven
days after the execution, a mass for the deceased would be said, after which the letter
of retraction would be shown the family. Though the family was in attendance, the
mass was never celebrated and no letter of retraction was shown. They were told
that the letter had been sent to the Archbishop’s palace, and that the family would not
be able to see it.
6. The Jesuits themselves (who had a special liking for their former student) did not
celebrate any mass for his soul, nor did they hold any funerary rites over his body. I
take this as a repudiation of the Jesuits against the friars, loudly hinting to the Filipino
people that their esteemed pupil did not abjure!

7. The apparent “discovery” of an obviously forged autobiography of Josephine

Bracken claiming marriage to Dr. Jose Rizal, showed a handwriting that bore no
resemblance to Josephine’s and had glaring errors in syntax, which revealed that the
perpetrating author’s primary language was Spanish (not Josephine’s original
language), thus proving that the document was manufactured and disingenuous.

8. Confession in August, 1901 of master forger Roman Roque that earlier in the year,
he was employed by the friars to make several copies of a retraction letter.

9. In 1962, authors Ildefonso T. Runes and Mamerto M. Buenafe in their book

Forgery of the Rizal Retraction and Josephine’s Autobiography, made an exposé of
six different articles and books that purportedly presented Dr. Jose Rizal’s “document
of retraction” as copied from the so-called “original” testament of
retraction. Intriguingly enough, even to this day, the claimed “original” document from
which the facsimiles have arisen have not been seen by anybody. Blatant in these
six different presentations were differing dates and notes that had been doctored,
traced-over, and altered, when these facsimiles were supposed to have come from
the same “original” document! This book of Runes and Buenafe was published by
the Pro-Patria Publishers of Manila. The book is extant but unfortunately, out of print.

Though the issue of “Retraction” remains contentious for some people, it is my

personal opinion that there is no controversy; that Dr. Jose Rizal did not make any
recantation of his writings and beliefs. The arguments to the contrary made by his
detractors are all smoke screen and “retreads” of the dubious accounts of the
sycophantic Father Balaguer and his gullible minions. Let us not allow for the sands
of time to cover the blunder of this ignoble and impious event. Let not the conspiracy
of silence keep us chained to this fraudulent claim. As had been vigorously proposed
then, and again now, let the document of retraction be examined by a panel of the
world’s experts in hand-writing, and let a pronouncement be made. Let this hidden
document come to the eyes of the public, for they have the greatest of rights to see,
and to judge, and to know what is truthful.

When this comes to pass… in this 21st century, in this age of an “evidence-based”
society that demands transparency and full-disclosure, it can be stated that with the
now enlightened and reformed Catholicism, and in the spirit of Vatican II, if Pope John
Paul II can apologize to the Jewish people for the millennia of misdeeds by the
Church, if Pope Benedict XVI can, in Australia at the 2008 World Youth Congress,
apologize to the victims of pedophilia and other ecclesiastical sexual abuses, then it
should not be beyond the Catholic Church to NOW admit the pious fraud it had
committed in saying that Dr. Jose Rizal had abjured his writings and beliefs, when all
evidences point to the fact that he did not!
No grave for Jose Rizal, fake
retraction for his criticism
DECEMBER 30, 2017

AS the nation marks today the 121st anniversary of the execution of Dr. Jose
Rizal, I shall address this and my next column to certain aspects of Rizal’s
story that are dimly seen by our public because of the curtain of reverence and
repression that shadows our memory of him.

We commemorate him frequently and extol his many achievements, yet the
net result of all the remembering is that Filipinos know so little of him. I have
been jolted into this realization after reading and rereading several volumes on
Rizal’s life and work, notably:

1. Austin Coates’ biography of Rizal,Rizal: Filipino Nationalist and Patriot

(Solidaridad Publishing House, Manila, 1968)

2. The multi-volume series on Rizal published by the National Historical

Commission, which I acquired in one swoop last year to fill a hole in my library.

3. Leon Maria Guerrero’s biography of Rizal, The First Filipino (National

Heroes Commission, Manila, 1963).

Reading and leafing through these volumes over the year, I was astonished by
how much they had to tell me about our national hero, and how the man vividly
comes to life as you read them.

I can think of no better New Year’s wish for our countrymen than that they may
also have the chance to read these volumes.

Vivid account of Rizal’s execution
A reading of Coates’ biography seems to me timely for this year’s
commemoration of Rizal’s death anniversary. It jibes with the closing days of
the year now ending.
In my estimate, the English writer, a former diplomat and British colonial official
in Hong Kong, produced with his book the most informative and vivid narration
of Rizal’s execution at Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896. He brings so
much detail and information about that fateful day, it is like watching a
documentary or cinematic reenactment of the execution.

So the reader can get the flavor of the writing, I will quote freely some
paragraphs and passages from the introduction and closing chapters of

“For four months the country had been gripped by revolution. It had not yet
succeeded in penetrating the capital, but in the countryside, there were
widespread disturbances which theEuropeans had hitherto been unable to
suppress. Today might well prove to be a turning point. Thus, the exhilarated
atmosphere. The date was December 30,1896. The place was the Luneta, the
extensive public park in the heart of Manila, capital of Spanish Philippines….

“The crowd was dense, and there was much jockeying for position, that police
arrangements broke down and the prisoner’s military escort, which should
have been behind him had to form file on either side of him, forcing its way
through to the execution ground… First came the drummer. After him, flanked
by two tall Spanish Jesuits inblack soutanes and shovel hats, came the lesser
figure of the traitor.

“Aged thirty-five, short and slender, pale after two months in prison, he was
impeccably dressed in European style, black suit, spotlessly white shirt and tie,
and wearing a black derby hat…But it was not this that drew the people’s
attention. It was his features and expression, and the calm dignity of his
bearing…The impression the pale young man conveyed was inescapable.


“Theplace selected for the execution was some distance from the walls of
Intramuros, nearly in the center of the Luneta. There,the escort having to force
their way to enter it, an open square had been formed. On three sides soldiers
held back the crowd. Thefourth side,the direction in which the shot would be
fired,wasempty, facing the blueof Manila Bay.

“The firing squad, their back against to the sun, consisted of Filipino soldiers.
Behind them stood a row of armed Spanish solders, prepared to take over and
shoot the squad itself should anything go amiss.”
“Therefollowed a discussion which the crowd couldn’t hear. The Spanish
captain in charge had directed Rizal where to stand, facing the sea, his back to
the firing squad…He said he wished to die facing the firing squad. The captain
said his orders were to shoot him in the back.Rizal replied that it was thus that
traitors were shot,and he was not a traitor to Spain. The captain expressed
regrets; he had his orders, and must obey them.

“Rizal was asked if he wished to kneel. He elected to die standing. He declined

to be blindfolded.”


“The preparatory commands were barked out, and in the second of silence
before the final order to fire, while people excitedly craned over the shoulders
of others for a glimpse of the scene, Rizal,fully audible,said in a clear,steady
voice,”Consummatum est.”

“A roar of fire.

“Rizal’s body jerked. For a split second, it seemed to remain upright. Then it
swung round dead as it fell, and landed on its back, the sightless eyes staring
at the sun.

“…A curious silence. The organized cheer of the troops. The lead given to the
release of emotion. And following this, the public cheers, thecheers…The
living soul of the insurrection was dead.

”As so often happens in the case of public cheering, the cheers were ill-timed.
The shot which that crowd had just heard was the shot which brought the
Spanish empire to an end.”

Rizal’s body goes missing

Narcisa Rizal ordered that coffin and hearse be ready on the morning of
December 30 as soon as word was received that the execution had been
carried out. When word came that it was over, the hearse was dispatched at
once; but by the time it reached Luneta and got through the dispersing crowds,
the body was gone.

The rest of the afternoon of that day, Narcisa spent her time going from
cemetery to cemetery, trying without result to find her brother’s burial place.
Late that afternoon when she had tried every cemetery,she happened to pass
the gate of thedisused old Paco Cemetery, where she saw a group of civil
There were never ground burials in this cemetery, the coffins being inserted
into niches on the inner sides of the two surrounding walls. As Narcisa
lookedinto the garden she saw no sign of any recent insertion.

She came upon another group of guards. Beside them, dug in one of the lawns,
was freshly turned earth the length of a man. It could only be her brother’s

Wisely foreseeing that it could be many years before the family could have the
body exhumed and fittingly reburied, Narcisa had a plaque made with the
letters RPJ on it, her brothers’ initials in reverse.

Making a gift to the cemetery guardian, Narcisa prevailed upon him to mark the

Mi Último Adiós
Later on that day of the execution, Rizal’s last letter, books and alcohol burner
were deliveredto Narcisa’s home.

That night, someone in the family remembered Rizal’s words concerning the
burner— that something would be hidden in it.

Inside, the family found a folded slip of paper. It was a copy of his last poem:
Mi Último Adiós.

The importance of the poem was recognized instantly. Then and there, and far
into the night,each person present made a copy. The copies were dispatched
to their brother’s friends abroad, to close friends in Manila, and to the rebels in
Cavite province.

Flashback to chapters of Rizal’s life

Austin Coates’ biography flashed back to all the major chapters of Rizal’s life.
The biographer was thorough and unsparingin hisresearch.Some chapters
and episodes were:
1.Birth and childhood in Calamba, Laguna
2.The Rizal family and the frailocracy
3. Studies at the Ateneo and UST
4. Journey to Spain and Europe
5. Life in Madrid and Berlin
6. Noli Me Tangere
7. Thepropaganda movement
8. El Filibusterismo, journey home
9. Hero’s return, arrest and deportation
10. Exile in Dapitan and Josephine Bracken
11. Revolution
12. Trial and Execution
13. Mi Último Adiós

In two of his final chapters, Coates turned his focus on the controversy about
Rizal’s retraction of freemasonry and his return to the Catholic faith. The
debate rages to this day.

I shall devote my next column to the Rizal retraction controversy.

Rizal remains a living and

burning issue among us
JANUARY 02, 2018
IT was hoped by the ecclesiastical and civil authorities that Rizal’s life would
end with his death in Bagumbayan. But from the day of his execution to this
day, Rizal has been in this country a living issue and often a burning one – the
soul of contention between Catholics and freethinkers, a bone for the tug of
war between church and state in the control of education, and the subject of
bitter debate over the authenticity or fraudulence of his supposed retraction of
his words and deeds.

It is sickening that so selfless and splendid a death as Rizal’s was followed by

so much falsehood and controversy. But this has been Rizal’s peculiar fate,
and perhaps finally his triumph. He was so formidable opponents had to lie
about him, even when he was already dead and buried.

An ecclesiastical fraud
The morning after the execution of Jose Rizal, the newspapers of Manila and
Madrid recorded the event, and announced that on the eve of his death Rizal
retracted his religious errors, abjured freemasonry, and in the last hours of his
life had married Josephine Bracken.

In most newspapers the text of a letter of retraction supposedly written by Rizal

was printed in full. The government sent the announcement to Spanish
consulates abroad with the request to obtain for it the widest possible publicity.
Those who had read Rizal’s books or who knew him closely and admired him,
both in the country and abroad, took one look at the announcement and
declared it “an ecclesiastical fraud.”

In a letter to Ferdinand Blumentritt shortly after the execution, Fredrich Stahl, a

Manila pharmacist, wrote: “On the day of the execution, the Spaniards
published an article in all the local papers, according to which, Rizal, in a
written declaration made by him on the day of his death, retracted all his
writings and deeds and proclaims himself to be a repentant sinner and a loyal
Spaniard. But nobody here believes this, as the Spaniards publish the same
thing about everyone who is shot. Besides, nobody has ever seen his written
declaration…It is in the hands of the archbishop.”

Was there a plot among the higher ecclesiastical authorities to perpetrate a


There was certainly no signed letter of retraction, a contradiction in itself for a
man so strong in conviction as Rizal. There was also no marriage with
Josephine Bracken, although they did live together during his exile in Dapitan.

Rizal himself believed that there was a strong likelihood of fraud after his death,
and that the prime mover in this would be the friar archbishop. It was the friars
who were zealously seeking his retraction. They even came up with several
retraction formulas for him to sign.

Rizal’s intuition of fraud was not misplaced; what played him false was the
involvement of his mentors, the Jesuits, who took part in the effort to make him
retract and return to the Catholic faith.

Jesuit vouches for Rizal’s retraction

It was solely one Jesuit priest, Vicente Balaguer,S.J, who laid the basis for the
story that Rizal retracted his words and deeds. It was also he who made the
claim that he married Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken at 6.15 a.m. on
December 30, just minutes before Rizal was executed.

In the final chapters of his biography of Rizal, Austin Coates totally demolishes
the veracity of Balaguer’s claims, which were made the basis of the
archbishop’s announcement of a retraction, and which were also contained in
a letter from Balaguer to his Jesuit superior, Fr. Pio Pi.

Balaguer’s retraction claim was not corroborated by the two Jesuits who were
present at Rizal’s execution. If Rizal had indeed retracted, they would surely
have given Rizal a Catholic burial. How would he have been deprived of even
a coffin, as in fact happened.

Balaguer himself was not present at the execution. Josephine Bracken was
also absent during Rizal’s final moments.

Killing Rizal’s influence on the future

The lie in Rizal’s retraction is soundly thrashed by Austin Coates. He wrote:

“A man of whom there is no record that he ever told a lie can scarcely be
considered as having chosen a solemn moment to tell his first one….

“The Jesuits who had visited him knew how unlikely it was that Rizal would

“While one might kill the man, his writings remained, and these were a danger,
needing to be sterilized, lest they poison the mind of future generations with
anti-clerical views. If he could be made to admit his errors against religion and
retract them, it would blunt the point of everything that he had written….

“The Jesuits’ two attempts to make Rizal retract had different motives. The first
was undertaken for what the Jesuits sincerely believed to be his own good,
and possibly their own as well. The second was undertaken with the main
purpose of sterilizing his influence on the future.”

Could Rizal have retracted in order to receive the sacraments of the faith. It is
part of Balaguer’s elaborate fraud to suggest that Rizal feared for his soul
during his final hours.

He reported Rizal as saying to him: “Father, since faith is God’s grace, I

promise that thetime of life remaining to me1 shall spend asking God for the
grace of faith.”

The Jesuit declared: “I can certify with an oath that, loving God, Rizal died a
devout, holy, Christian death blessed by God. With His grace I hope to see him
in heaven.”

Balaguer was born in Alcoy, Alicante, Spain on January 19, 1851. He entered
the Society of Jesus on 30 July 1890, and came to the Philippines in 1894. In
1896, he was transferred to Dapitan, where he met Rizal. Months later, he was
attesting to have heard the most important final words of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Holes in the Jesuit’s story
The Rizal family did not accept the retraction and the marriage. They knew that
that if he had retracted, he would certainly have said so in his 6a.m.
communication to his mother on the fateful day of his execution.

Balaguer’s account exposed itself through major discrepancies in his story. His
claim of marrying Rizal and Josephine was totally belied by the facts.

In his account, Balaguer was totally unaware that Rizal had written “Mi Último
Adiós” on the eve of his execution. Balaguer allowed no time for Rizal to write
the poem. The poem in its third stanza carries the exact date and time when it
was written.

In his claim of having performed the canonical marriage of Rizal and

Josephine, Balaguer said he performed it in front of one of Rizal’s sisters
between 6 and 6:25 a.m. on December 30. But none of Rizal’s sisters went to
the fort that morning.

For all these contradictions and falsehoods in Balaguer’s story, the church
nevertheless adopted the lie. And some Filipinos, including Rizal’s biographer
Leon Maria Guerrero, believed that Rizal had retracted.

I find the words of Rafael Palma, who witnessed the execution and saw Rizal
turn away from the Jesuit holding out a crucifix to him, most persuasive:

Palma wrote:
“Of the version circulated by ecclesiastical authorities of that time, the part
which refers to Rizal’s abjuration of masonry and to his conversion to
Catholicism at the last hour was not considered satisfactory and truthful by
Filipino public opinion.”


The conclusion which he wrote through his book “Rizal beyond the grave” that
the existing document was a forgery.

Moreover, as what Father Balaguer’s stated as an additional evidence to prove

that Rizal really retracted. Is Rizal’s marriage to Josephine Bracken, but that
had just caused more confusion when he was asked to show their Certificate
of Marriage. He showed nothing.
Besides in his last poem “Mi Ultimo Adios” if Rizal really was married to
Josephine Bracken why did he only stated her as a sweet stranger? And didn’t
wrote as his sweet wife? Also according to his poem which expresses “'Adiós',
I go where there are no slaves, no hangmen or oppressors, where faith does
not kill” It is evident that his referring to the Catholic Church, it is clear that
there is bitterness behind those phrases.

Additionally if Rizal really died as a catholic .Why did they bury him wherein Fr.
Burgos had been positioned, which is evidently the cemetery for anti-Catholic
Church? Why haven’t they buried Rizal at Paco Cemetery in which good
Samaritans are supposed to be placed? And the worst part is, he have been
buried without any coffin! Wouldn’t it be Ironic? If Jesuits wants to prove that
Rizal himsel fhad retracted why did they buried him collectively where heretics
and infidels are laid? They didn’t even offered a mass in church for Rizal who
died as a penitent Catholic.

To finish,. Even if we haven’t met Jose Rizal personally it is evident that Rizal’s
character gives you an idea in the course of his writings. Numerous of his
works was all about the cruelty and tyranny of Spaniards .All of those include
friars ,all of those submit directly to the Catholic Church. Just think about it,
would Rizal just simply abandon all his work of art that took most of his time
and hard work in just an exchange of a great sum of money and a an estate if
he retract ?the answer is NO, It would be like vomiting of what you just had
eaten and swallow it again. We can see right through his works, Rizal is a man
of one word; he had never distorted his thoughts, and never will be. With this, I
conclude that Rizal did not retract to Catholicism.

Whatever Rizal’s religion may be whether he is a protestant or a Catholic,

Rizal is still Rizal himself.

A true Filipino, the true National Hero.

Whatever further study that may develop as the truth about Jose Rizal’s
retraction controversy, it lessens nothing from is greatness as a Filipino.

Did Jose Rizal Retract?
No, Rizal did not retract. Although there were many opinions and
evidences presented by various authors as to whether Rizal did or did
not retract. Nonetheless, until now there is no proof or any justification to
end the debate.
The following assertions bring about the testimonies that Rizal did not retract
before his execution.

First was the copy of the retraction paper that was allegedly signed by Rizal that
was even kept secret and was only published in newspapers. When Rizal’s
family requested for the original copy, it was said that it was lost. Could the
Jesuits be this irresponsible to not know the value of the paper? Or was it just

Thirty-nine years later the original copy was found in the archdiocesan archives.
Ricardo Pascual Ph. D who was given permission by the Archbishop Nozaleda
to examine the document and later concluded in his book, “Rizal beyond the
Grave” that the documents presented was a forgery. The common rebuttal of
this argument was either Father Balaguer or Father Pi had made errors in
reproducing another copy of the original.

Another evidence as to Rizal did not retract is that when Father Balaguer came
to terms that he married Jose and Josephine, after Jose had signed the
retraction paper, however, there were no marriage certificate or public record
shown that could prove Father Balaguer’s statements.

Why would Rizal retract when he knows for a fact that even if he signs the
retraction paper he would still be executed? Since the Archbishop and Jesuits
cannot do anything to mitigate his penalty because the judicial process involved
was purely a military tribunal where civilian or church interference was
uncommon and not allowed. Rizal was accused of participating in filibusterous
propaganda where the penalty as provided by the Spanish Code is death. The
same of what happened to the three priests who were garrotted years earlier,
even though they were still a part of the church; they were still treated as
rebellious and were also not given a proper burial.

Furthermore, way back when Rizal was still exiled in Dapitan, Father Sanchez-
Rizal’s favourite teacher from Ateneo- was sent by the Jesuits superiors to try to
convince his former student’s allegation towards the Catholic religion and
Spanish religious in the Philippines. Father Sanchez told him to retract in
exchange of a professorship, a hundred thousand pesos and an estate
(Laubach, 1936) however Rizal rejected the offer.
It was argued that Rizal retracted in order to save his family from further
persecution, to give Josephine Bracken a legal status as his wife and to assure
reforms from the Spanish government. It is more likely to be of Rizal’s mentality
however, come to think of it, would Rizal just simply neglect all the writing he
conceived with his hard work? The same writings that brought him to the point
of being executed? No.

Rizal’s behaviour during his last hours in Fort Santiago does not point to a
conversion- the Mi Ultimo Adios and letters- or indicate even a religious
instability. In the evening where his sister and mother arrived, never had he
mentioned about the retraction, contrary to what Father Balaguer claimed that
even in the afternoon, Rizal was oblivious and was asking for the formula of the

Rizal was fixated of the thought that he would die for the love of his country, he,
himself had coveted death a long time ago. His character speaks so loud that
even all of Rizal’s friends do not believe that he have written a retraction.

Let us look at Rizal’s character as a man aged 33. He was mature enough to
realize the consequences of the choice he had made even before he opposed
to the Jesuits; he had been anticipating this to happen and would be unlikely if
he had a behaviour showing a threat from death. Anyone who has been
studying his biography and had been acquainted with him knows this is so,
even the priests had admitted that Rizal showed a behaviour consistent of what
he was throughout his mature years.

Whatever further study that may emerge as to the truth about Rizal’s retraction
controversy, “…it detracts nothing from his greatness as a Filipino.”

Analysis Rizal's Retraction

At least four texts of Rizal’s retraction have surfaced. The fourth text appeared in El Imparcial on the day after
Rizal’s execution; it is the short formula of the retraction.

The first text was published in La Voz Española and Diaro de Manila on the very day of Rizal’s execution, Dec.
30, 1896. The second text appeared in Barcelona, Spain, on February 14, 1897, in the fortnightly magazine in
La Juventud; it came from an anonymous writer who revealed himself fourteen years later as Fr. Balaguer. The
"original" text was discovered in the archdiocesan archives on May 18, 1935, after it disappeared for thirty-nine
years from the afternoon of the day when Rizal was shot.

We know not that reproductions of the lost original had been made by a copyist who could imitate Rizal’s
handwriting. This fact is revealed by Fr. Balaguer himself who, in his letter to his former superior Fr. Pio Pi in
1910, said that he had received "an exact copy of the retraction written and signed by Rizal. The handwriting of
this copy I don’t know nor do I remember whose it is. . ." He proceeded: "I even suspect that it might have been
written by Rizal himself. I am sending it to you that you may . . . verify whether it might be of Rizal himself . . . ."
Fr. Pi was not able to verify it in his sworn statement.

This "exact" copy had been received by Fr. Balaguer in the evening immediately preceding Rizal’s execution,
Rizal y su Obra, and was followed by Sr. W. Retana in his biography of Rizal, Vida y Escritos del Jose Rizal with
the addition of the names of the witnesses taken from the texts of the retraction in the Manila newspapers. Fr.
Pi’s copy of Rizal’s retraction has the same text as that of Fr. Balaguer’s "exact" copy but follows the
paragraphing of the texts of Rizal’s retraction in the Manila newspapers.

Regarding the "original" text, no one claimed to have seen it, except the publishers of La Voz Espanola. That
newspaper reported: "Still more; we have seen and read his (Rizal’s) own hand-written retraction which he sent
to our dear and venerable Archbishop…" On the other hand, Manila pharmacist F. Stahl wrote in a letter:
"besides, nobody has seen this written declaration, in spite of the fact that quite a number of people would want
to see it. "For example, not only Rizal’s family but also the correspondents in Manila of the newspapers in
Madrid, Don Manuel Alhama of El Imparcial and Sr. Santiago Mataix of El Heraldo, were not able to see the
hand-written retraction.

Neither Fr. Pi nor His Grace the Archbishop ascertained whether Rizal himself was the one who wrote and signed
the retraction. (Ascertaining the document was necessary because it was possible for one who could imitate
Rizal’s handwriting aforesaid holograph; and keeping a copy of the same for our archives, I myself delivered it
personally that the same morning to His Grace Archbishop… His Grace testified: At once the undersigned
entrusted this holograph to Rev. Thomas Gonzales Feijoo, secretary of the Chancery." After that, the documents
could not be seen by those who wanted to examine it and was finally considered lost after efforts to look for it
proved futile.

On May 18, 1935, the lost "original" document of Rizal’s retraction was discovered by the archdeocean archivist
Fr. Manuel Garcia, C.M. The discovery, instead of ending doubts about Rizal’s retraction, has in fact encouraged
it because the newly discovered text retraction differs significantly from the text found in the Jesuits’ and the
Archbishop’s copies. And, the fact that the texts of the retraction which appeared in the Manila newspapers
could be shown to be the exact copies of the "original" but only imitations of it. This means that the friars who
controlled the press in Manila (for example, La Voz Española) had the "original" while the Jesuits had only the

We now proceed to show the significant differences between the "original" and the Manila
newspapers texts of the retraction on the one hand and the text s of the copies of Fr. Balaguer and
F5r. Pio Pi on the other hand.

First, instead of the words "mi cualidad" (with "u") which appear in the original and the newspaper
texts, the Jesuits’ copies have "mi calidad" (with "u").

Second, the Jesuits’ copies of the retraction omit the word "Catolica" after the first "Iglesias" which
are found in the original and the newspaper texts.

Third, the Jesuits’ copies of the retraction add before the third "Iglesias" the word "misma" which is
not found in the original and the newspaper texts of the retraction.

Fourth, with regards to paragraphing which immediately strikes the eye of the critical reader, Fr.
Balaguer’s text does not begin the second paragraph until the fifth sentences while the original and
the newspaper copies start the second paragraph immediately with the second sentences.

Fifth, whereas the texts of the retraction in the original and in the manila newspapers have only four
commas, the text of Fr. Balaguer’s copy has eleven commas.

Sixth, the most important of all, Fr. Balaguer’s copy did not have the names of the witnesses from
the texts of the newspapers in Manila.

In his notarized testimony twenty years later, Fr. Balaguer finally named the witnesses. He said
"This . . .retraction was signed together with Dr. Rizal by Señor Fresno, Chief of the Picket, and
Señor Moure, Adjutant of the Plaza." However, the proceeding quotation only proves itself to be an
addition to the original. Moreover, in his letter to Fr. Pi in 1910, Fr. Balaguer said that he had the
"exact" copy of the retraction, which was signed by Rizal, but her made no mention of the
witnesses. In his accounts too, no witnesses signed the retraction.

How did Fr. Balaguer obtain his copy of Rizal’s retraction? Fr. Balaguer never alluded to having himself made a
copy of the retraction although he claimed that the Archbishop prepared a long formula of the retraction and Fr.
Pi a short formula. In Fr. Balaguer’s earliest account, it is not yet clear whether Fr. Balaguer was using the long
formula of nor no formula in dictating to Rizal what to write. According to Fr. Pi, in his own account of Rizal’s
conversion in 1909, Fr. Balaguer dictated from Fr. Pi’s short formula previously approved by the Archbishop. In
his letter to Fr. Pi in 1910, Fr. Balaguer admitted that he dictated to Rizal the short formula prepared by Fr. Pi;
however; he contradicts himself when he revealed that the "exact" copy came from the Archbishop. The only
copy, which Fr. Balaguer wrote, is the one that appeared ion his earliest account of Rizal’s retraction.

Where did Fr. Balaguer’s "exact" copy come from? We do not need long arguments to answer this question,
because Fr. Balaguer himself has unwittingly answered this question. He said in his letter to Fr. Pi in 1910:

"…I preserved in my keeping and am sending to you the original texts of the two formulas of retraction, which
they (You) gave me; that from you and that of the Archbishop, and the first with the changes which they (that
is, you) made; and the other the exact copy of the retraction written and signed by Rizal. The handwriting of this
copy I don’t know nor do I remember whose it is, and I even suspect that it might have been written by Rizal

In his own word quoted above, Fr. Balaguer said that he received two original texts of the retraction. The first,
which came from Fr. Pi, contained "the changes which You (Fr. Pi) made"; the other, which is "that of the
Archbishop" was "the exact copy of the retraction written and signed by Rizal" (underscoring supplied). Fr.
Balaguer said that the "exact copy" was "written and signed by Rizal" but he did not say "written and signed by
Rizal and himself" (the absence of the reflexive pronoun "himself" could mean that another person-the
copyist-did not). He only "suspected" that "Rizal himself" much as Fr. Balaguer did "not know nor ... remember"
whose handwriting it was.

Thus, according to Fr. Balaguer, the "exact copy" came from the Archbishop! He called it "exact" because, not
having seen the original himself, he was made to believe that it was the one that faithfully reproduced the
original in comparison to that of Fr. Pi in which "changes" (that is, where deviated from the "exact" copy) had
been made. Actually, the difference between that of the Archbishop (the "exact" copy) and that of Fr. Pi (with
"changes") is that the latter was "shorter" be cause it omitted certain phrases found in the former so that, as Fr.
Pi had fervently hoped, Rizal would sign it.

According to Fr. Pi, Rizal rejected the long formula so that Fr. Balaguer had to dictate from the short formula of
Fr. Pi. Allegedly, Rizal wrote down what was dictated to him but he insisted on adding the phrases "in which I
was born and educated" and "[Masonary]" as the enemy that is of the Church" – the first of which Rizal would
have regarded as unnecessary and the second as downright contrary to his spirit. However, what actually would
have happened, if we are to believe the fictitious account, was that Rizal’s addition of the phrases was the
retoration of the phrases found in the original which had been omitted in Fr. Pi’s short formula.

The "exact" copy was shown to the military men guarding in Fort Santiago to convince them that Rizal had
retracted. Someone read it aloud in the hearing of Capt. Dominguez, who claimed in his "Notes’ that Rizal read
aloud his retraction. However, his copy of the retraction proved him wrong because its text (with "u") and omits
the word "Catolica" as in Fr. Balaguer’s copy but which are not the case in the original. Capt. Dominguez never
claimed to have seen the retraction: he only "heard".

The truth is that, almost two years before his execution, Rizal had written a retraction in Dapitan. Very early in
1895, Josephine Bracken came to Dapitan with her adopted father who wanted to be cured of his blindness by
Dr. Rizal; their guide was Manuela Orlac, who was agent and a mistress of a friar. Rizal fell in love with Josephine
and wanted to marry her canonically but he was required to sign a profession of faith and to write retraction,
which had to be approved by the Bishop of Cebu. "Spanish law had established civil marriage in the Philippines,"
Prof. Craig wrote, but the local government had not provided any way for people to avail themselves of the

In order to marry Josephine, Rizal wrote with the help of a priest a form of retraction to be approved by the
Bishop of Cebu. This incident was revealed by Fr. Antonio Obach to his friend Prof. Austin Craig who wrote down
in 1912 what the priest had told him; "The document (the retraction), inclosed with the priest’s letter, was ready
for the mail when Rizal came hurrying I to reclaim it." Rizal realized (perhaps, rather late) that he had written
and given to a priest what the friars had been trying by all means to get from him.

Neither the Archbishop nor Fr. Pi saw the original document of retraction. What they was saw a copy done by one
who could imitate Rizal’s handwriting while the original (almost eaten by termites) was kept by some friars. Both
the Archbishop and Fr. Pi acted innocently because they did not distinguish between the genuine and the
imitation of Rizal’s handwriting

Rizal’s retraction, an unfinished debate

Compiled by Rodel J. Ramos

Philippine history has been distorted many times mainly for the vested interest
of our colonizers and those among us who willingly and unwillingly connived out of
threat, coercion or selfish motive.
The Spaniards made us believe they came to Christianize when in fact it was
to exploit our rich natural resources most especially gold, extract taxes and enslave
our people. They kept us ignorant for nearly 400 years and banned controversial
books such as the Noli Me Tangere (The Social Cancer) and the El Filibusterismo
(The Reign of Greed) written by Dr. Jose Rizal exposing the abuses of the Friars and
the Spanish authority.
The Americans lied to us many times too. They pretended to help in our
liberation against the Spanish tyrant. When President Emilio Aguinaldo’s army had
won almost all of the provinces, Admiral Dewey appeared in Manila Bay to claim
victory. Then he refused to honor his word. That started the Filipino American War
were hundreds of thousands of our countrymen were killed. The Americans have to
bring to our shores their best commanding officers like Gen. Otis, Merritt, and
Lawton with their most modern weapons at that time to force our brave soldiers into
submission. Yet our history books never mentioned these atrocities, the Americans
having control of our media, publications and school curriculum.
A people with a distorted history have the same fate as those who have no
sense of history. Both are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. Today if we
hear some of our people feel ashamed of their race and wishing they were Americans
or Canadians, it is because of their ignorance of our true history.
Significance of retraction
Another distortion was the lie that Rizal, the most noble of Filipinos retracted
from Freemasonry. This issue has been debated in many forums and a subject of
volumes of books.
Why is Rizal’s retraction important? If the noblest of all Filipinos can betray
his own cause, it renders useless all his writings and great deeds. It also cast doubt on
the character and honor of the rest of us Filipinos. If today, many of us have no faith
in our own people, it is because of frauds like this.
The Friars who saw Rizal in his prison cell at Intramuros claim to have
obtained a signed retraction. However, no document was presented to the public until
1935, 39 years after the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal that a document was discovered in
the archives of Archbishop of Manila.
Such paper was dated Manila, 29 de Diciembre 1890. Rizal was in Madrid
writing the El Filibusterismo at that time. He was shot in December 30, 1896.
In Dr. Jose Hernandez and Ricardo Bassig’s copyrighted books about Rizal,
the photo copy of the “retraction” were dated 1890. In the San Beda College pamphlet
entitled, “I adjure Masonry”, the 0 was cut into half to appear as 6. In Fr. Jesus
Cavanna’s book, Rizal’s Unfading Glory, and Dr. Gregorio Zaide’s Philippine
History for High Schools, the dates were changed into 1896 but of different density.
Rafael Palma in his book Pride of the Malay Race argues that Rizal did not
recant and the Jesuits and the Spanish Regime knew that.
Why they asked, did Rizal fail to tell his fond and pious mother that he had
returned to her faith? It would have given her such great joy and consolation!
Why did not the Jesuits try to save his life, putting his conversion beyond
doubt and showing off their prize?
Why was his body not handed over to his family, and instead secretly buried?
Why it was not buried in consecrated ground, the Catholic cemetery? Why was his
death entered on a special page of the register between an unidentified man and a
suicide, both of whom must have been supposed to die impenitent and unshriven?
Why was there no requiem Masses said for the repose of his soul? Why a copy
of the retraction was not furnished his family despite their request?
Why was the certificate of marriage between Rizal and Josephine Bracken
similarly withheld, and why was it not been produced to this date? How odd that the
original of the retraction should be found only thirty years after?
How curious that the working of the handwritten document should differ from
the versions first published by the press by Retana and by the Jesuits! Why did Retana
fail to mention that the retraction had been signed before two witnesses? Why the
Jesuit pamphlet was left unsigned? The pamphlet is shot through with demonstrable
errors about Rizal’s life – why not about his last hours?
There was no moral motive for the conversion. The extraordinary or abnormal
acts of a person are always due to some reason or rational motive.
Fr. Cavanna comment on Rizal’s Holograph said, “---clearly, is doctored and
the doctoring job is so crude it is the work of a tyke. The whole text of the San Beda
copy was badly traced to justify the thickening of the figures in the dateline in which
the “C” in the San Beda pamphlet reproduction has been made into a ‘6’ ---. So it is
now understandable why the ‘0’ in Hernandez’s book was made into a ‘C’ and the ‘C’
easily transformed into a ‘6’ of course, after the long and tedious process of retracing
Fr. Cavanna and Prof. Carlos Da Silva made a “bold claim in 1960 the NBI
revealed that findings made on Photostats of Dr. Jose Rizal’s retraction by Angel H.
Gaffud, NBI document examiner, show that the document is genuine---“
In August 12, 1961 NBI Director Jose Lukban, in the Philippines Free Press
said that “---No such document was ever submitted to the National Bureau of
Investigation for laboratory examination and study---“
It is said that in forgery cases, it is not enough that the forgery alone be
exposed. Somehow, it becomes imperative that the forger be likewise exposed and/or
identified, if at all possible. Runes and Buenafe, in their investigative work, did these
on historical documents, succeeded in both where others before them failed.
Rizal’s character
Rizal could not have gained anything by his retraction. Masons who retracted
before his death were executed. He died with a clear conscience and a strong faith in
God. His Last Farewell quotes “I go to where there are no slaves, no hangmen, no
oppressors, where faith does not slaw, where he who reigns is God.”
Gen. Jose Alejandrino who lived with him in Europe said in his book Price of
Freedom: Rizal’s honesty, ingenuity, will power, constancy and patriotism were
unquestionable. Rizal could not tolerate hypocrisy. He disdained all persons who do
not act in accordance with the principles which they preach. He said, “I swear upon
my honor that I will consecrate my entire life, my energies, my intelligence and even
my blood for our country.” He has a high sense of proportion and justice.
What is Masonry?
Was there anything evil or unlawful about Masonry that Rizal must retract
being a member? What is there to retract?
Mauro Baradi in an article, Filipino Masons in the Struggle for Freedom said,
“Freemasonry is a nonsectarian institution erected to God which preaches and
practices the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Men. It is neither a religion
nor has it a religion. The three great tenets are Brotherly love, Relief, and Truth. Its
past is lost in the midst of time because it has associated with ancient mysteries and as
in the case of religion, contributed much to the great movements that propelled
History records them not merely participants but leaders, pioneers, martyrs,
heroes, liberators, and nation builders. Its motto is: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.”
Freemasonry stands out as seekers of truth, the foundation of every virtue. “Masonry
is engaged in her crusade – against ignorance, intolerance, fanaticism, superstition,
uncharitable ness, and error. She does not sail with the trade-winds, but meets and
must overcome many opposing currents.
The principles of Freemasonry do not run counter with that of the Christian
religion which preaches Faith, Hope and Charity. In fact Freemasonry welcomes all
religions in its rank as long as they believe that God is the supreme architect of the
It is not a secret society as alleged by many. Only their rituals and passwords
are secrets and anybody is welcome to know it by being a member.
Some of the illustrious names in the Philippine Masonry are: Dr. Jose Rizal,
Graciano Lopez Jaena, Gen. Emilio Jacinto, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Mariano Ponce,
Apolinario Mabini, Andres Bonifacio, Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, Gen. Antonio and
Juan Luna, Pres. Manuel Quezon, Pres. Manuel Roxas, Justice Jose Abad Santos,
Senator Quintin Paredes, Senator Camilo Osias, Gen. Arthur MacArthur, Jacobo
Zobel, Gov. Gen. Francis Harrison, and many others. Without them, our history as a
nation cannot be written and would not be as colorful.
They worked for the reforms and independence of the Philippines from Spain,
the separation of the Church and State; organized the Katipunan which won our
independence from Spain; most missions for the Philippine Independence from the
United States were headed by Masons with the collaboration of their fellow American
Masons. As early as 1916 Senator James Charke, a Mason introduced an amendment
to the Philippine Bill which would grant independence to the Philippines within a few
years. It was approved by the U.S. senate, but was defeated in the House of
Representatives by a slim margin.
Several Catholic Priests such as Fr. Raymundo Rodriguez and Fr. Elpidio T.
Quinto joined Freemasonry.
Rizal’s belief in Christ
Rizal said of Christ on Christmas day to Blumentritt: “--- A grand genius has
been born who preached truth and love, who suffered because of his mission, but on
account of his sufferings, the world has become better if not saved. Let us celebrate
the anniversary of the birth of a Divine Man!” He wrote to his mother Teodora
Alonso that Jesus was the first one to proclaim and annunciate the equality and
dignity of man.

Motive of the Church

The Friars whose abuses were exposed in Rizal’s novels plotted the execution
of Rizal. They worked for the change of Governor General when Gov. Blanco who
was himself a Mason refused to punish Rizal and instead send him to serve as a doctor
in the Cuban War. It was in Cuba where he was arrested after a change of
administration and returned for trial. Rizal showed his disdain of the Friars in his
books which triggered their desire for revenge.
Rizal a hero
Whatever happened, whether he retracted or not, he awakened the conscience
of the Filipino more than any other and his contribution to our nationhood cannot be
Austin Coates, author of Rizal – Filipino Nationalist and Patriot described
Rizal as a contemporary of Tagore and a forerunner of Gandhi. The Spanish
philosopher Unamuno described Rizal as a Tagalog Christ. In Asia he stands with Sun
Yat-sin, Gandhi and Tagore, as one who molded the thinking of the continent. In the
harmony of religious faith and scientific knowledge which his life demonstrates he
stand in Asia for what Renan and Teilhard stand for in the West, with the difference
that Rizal was killed for what he believed.
Lessons of history
We search for the truth in our history not to blame anyone but to restore the
honor of the victims of injustice, to bring back the faith of our people to their own and
above all so that future attempts to malign our race can be avoided.


by Peter Jaynul V. Uckung

The flow of history is as inexorable as the tidal flow of an angry ocean. But
ever so often in our collective recollection, it is remembered that sometimes
the skilful use of forgery can redirect the flow of history itself.

In the Philippines today, forgery is usually resorted to redirect the flow of

money from the rightful beneficiary to the unworthy pockets of invisible

That money is usually the target of forgery is known and practiced all over
the world, but forgery in the hands of the wily, has power to effect a redirection
of events and undoing of history. It has the power to obscure or beliee an
occurrence or create an event that did not actually transpire. It also has the
power to enslave and destroy.

In October 1600, the Muslim Ottoman Army and a Christian army, led by
Austrians, with Hungarian, French, Maltese and German troops were battling
it out for territory called Kanizsa. The Ottoman army was outgunned and
outmanned, but the Ottoman commander, Tiryaki Hasan Pasha was a clever
man. He knew that the Hungarians were not too happy to be allied with the
Austrians. So he sent fake letters, designed them to be captured by the
Austrians. The letters contained Hungarian alliance with Ottoman forces. The
Austrian upon reading the fake letters signed by a reliable source (obviously
forged) decided to kill all Hungarian soldiers.

The Hungarians revolted and the Christian army disintegrated from within.
Thus, did the Ottomans won the battle, by issuing forged communication.

During World War II, the British, to protect the secrecy of the Allied plan
to invade Sicily in 1943, launched operation Mincemeat. This was a deception
campaign to mislead German Intelligence about the real target of the start of
the Allied Invasion of Europe.

A series of seemingly genuine secret documents, with forged signatures,

were attached to a British corpse dressed in military uniforms. It was left to
float somewhere in a beach in Spain, where plenty of German agents were sure
to get hold of it.

The body with the fake documents was found eventually and its documents
seen by German agents. The documents identified Sardinia and Corsica as the
targets of the Allied invasion. The Germans believed it, and was caught with
their pants down when allied forces hit the beaches of the real target, which
was Sicily.

This kind of deception was also used by the British against the Germans in
North Africa. They placed a map of British minefields, then attached them to a
corpse. The minefields were non-existent but the Germans saw the map and
considered it true. Thus, they rerouted their tanks to areas with soft sand
where they bogged down.

In 1944, a Japanese sea plane crashed near Cebu. According to Japanese

military officials who were captured, and later released, they were
accompanying Gen. Koga, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined
Fleet. Gen. Koga died in the crash. A little later, Filipino fisherman recovered
some Japanese documents. They delivered the documents to US Intelligence.
The documents revealed that Leyte was lightly defended. As a result, the
Americans shifted their invasion target to Leyte instead of Cotabato Bay in

On October 17, 1944 the invasion of Leyte went underway. Leyte was lightly
defended as the Koga papers have indicated. But it was during the invasion of
Leyte when the Japanese navy launched their last offensive strike against the
US fleet, with the objective of obliterating it once and for all. They nearly
succeeded. After this near-tragic event, the Koga papers were considered by
some military strategists as spurious and could have been manufactured by the
Japanese to mislead the American navy into thinking that Leyte was a
defenceless island. That Leyte was a trap. And the Americans nearly fell into it.

In recent memory, there was an incident in which the forging of

documents served to negate the existence of an independent Philippines.

In 1901, the Americans managed to capture a Filipino messenger, Cecilio

Segismundo who carried with him documents from Aguinaldo. The American
then faked some documents complete with forged signature, telling Aguinaldo
that some Filipino officers were sending him guerrillas with American
prisoners. With the help of a Spanish traitor, Lazaro Segovia, the Americans
assembled a company of pro-American Filipino soldiers, the Macabebe scouts.
These were the soldiers who penetrated the camp of Aguinaldo, disguised as
soldiers of the Philippine Republic. They managed to capture Aguinaldo. With
the president captured, his generals began to surrender, and the Republic
began to fall.

The document of the retraction of Jose Rizal, too, is being hotly debated as
to its authenticity.

It was supposed to have been signed by Jose Rizal moments before his
death. There were many witnesses, most of them Jesuits. The document only
surfaced for public viewing on May 13, 1935. It was found by Fr. Manuel A.
Gracia at the Catholic hierarchy’s archive in Manila. But the original document
was never shown to the public, only reproductions of it.

However, Fr. Pio Pi, a Spanish Jesuit, reported that as early as 1907, the
retraction of Rizal was copied verbatim and published in Spain, and reprinted
in Manila. Fr. Gracia, who found the original document, also copied it

In both reproductions, there were conflicting versions of the text. Add to

this the date of the signing was very clear in the original Spanish document
which Rizal supposedly signed. The date was “December 29, 1890.”

Later, another supposedly original document surfaced, it bears the date

“December 29, 189C”. The number “0” was evidently altered to make it look
like a letter C. Then still later, another supposedly original version came up. It
has the date “December 29, 1896”. This time, the “0” became a “6”.

So which is which?

Those who strongly believed the faking of the Rizal retraction document,
reported that the forger of Rizal’s signature was Roman Roque, the man who
also forged the signature of Urbano Lacuna, which was used to capture
Aguinaldo. The mastermind, they say, in both Lacuna’s and Rizal’s signature
forging was Lazaro Segovia. They were approached by Spanish friars during
the final day of the Filipino-American war to forge Rizal’s signature.

This story was revealed by Antonio K. Abad, who heard the tale from
Roman Roque himself, them being neighbours.

To this day, the retraction issue is still raging like a wild fire in the forest of
the night.
Others would like to believe that the purported retraction of Rizal was
invented by the friars to deflect the heroism of Rizal which was centered on the
friar abuses.

Incidentally, Fr. Pio Pi, who copied verbatim Rizal’s retraction, also figured
prominently during the revolution. It was him, Andres Bonifacio reported, who
had intimated to Aguinaldo the cessation of agitation in exchange of pardon.

There are also not a few people who believe that the autobiography of
Josephine Bracken, written on February 22, 1897 is also forged and forged
badly. The document supposedly written by Josephine herself supported the
fact that they were married under the Catholic rites. But upon closer look,
there is a glaring difference between the penmanship of the document, and
other letters written by Josephine to Rizal.

Surely, we must put the question of retraction to rest, though Rizal is a

hero, whether he retracted or not, we must investigate if he really did a
turn-around. If he did not, and the documents were forgeries, then somebody
has to pay for trying to deceive a nation.

Link: http://nhcp.gov.ph/the-rizal-retraction-and-other-cases/