The Life of Jose Rizal: Philippine Patriot
The After-Life in Memory
An hour or so after the shooting a dead-wagon from San Juan de Dios Hospital took
Rizal's body to Paco Cemetery. The civil governor of Manila was in charge and there also
were present the members of a Church society whose duty it was to attend executions.
Rizal had been wearing a black suit which he had obtained for his European trip, and a
derby hat, not only appropriate for a funeral occasion because of their somber color, but
also more desirable than white both for the full day's wear, since they had to be put on
before the twenty-four hours in the chapel, and for the lying on the ground which would
follow the execution of the sentence. A plain box inclosed the remains thus dressed, for
even the hat was picked up and encoffined.
No visitors were admitted to the cemetery while the interment was going on, and for
several weeks after guards watched over the grave, lest Filipinos might come by night to
steal away the body and apportion the clothing among themselves as relics of a martyr.
Even the exact spot of the interment was intended to be unknown, but friends of the
family were among the attendants at the burial and dropped into the grave a marble slab
which had been furnished them, bearing the initials of the full baptismal name, Jose
Protasio Rizal, in reversed order.
The entry of the burial, like that of three of his followers of the Liga Filipina who were
among the dozen executed a fortnight later, was on the back flyleaf of the cemetery
register, with three or four words of explanation later erased and now unknown. On the
previous page was the entry of a suicide's death, and following it is that of the British
Consul who died on the eve of Manila's surrender and whose body, by the Archbishop's
permission, was stored in a Paco niche till it could be removed to the Protestant
(foreigners') cemetery at San Pedro Macati.
The day of Rizal's execution, the day of his birth and the day of his first leaving his native
land was a Wednesday. All that night, and the next day, the celebration continued the
volunteers, who were particularly responsible, like their fellows in Cuba, for the atrocities
which disgraced Spain's rule in the Philippines, being especially in evidence. It was their
clamor that had made the bringing back of Rizal possible, their demands for his death had
been most prominent in his so-called trial, and now they were praising themselves for
their "patriotism." The landlords had objected to having their land titles questioned and
their taxes raised. The other friar orders, as well as these, were opposed to a campaign
which sought their transfer from profitable parishes to self-sacrificing missionary labors.
But probably none of them as organizations desired Rizal's death.
Rizal's old teachers wished for the restoration of their former pupil to the faith of his
childhood, from which they believed he had departed. Through Despujol they seem to
have worked for an opportunity for influencing him, yet his death was certainly not in