Researched and supplemented by: Herbert G. Gardiner, PGS, Grand Historian, Grand Lodge Free & Accepted Masons of Hawaii
Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado Alonso Realonda, better known to the world as Jose Rizal, was a Freemson. He represented the quintessence of Filipino patriotism during the waning years of the Spanish rule and the influence of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Dr. Rizal was born on June 19, 1861, in Calumba, Laguna, and executed in the prime of his life by a squad of the 10th Spanish Infantry Regiment by being shot in the back at 7:00 a.m. on December 30, 1896 at the Campo de Bagumbayan located directly behind the Luneta in Manila. His execution was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. but it was secretly advanced 1 hour by the Spanish authorities to avoid any demonstration or possibly an uprising by the Filipino populace. After 300 years of oppressive rule by Spain and the Catholic Church, in 1896, the Filipinos began what became an all-out revolt against Spain and the church. You may well ask what was Rizal's crime? He was executed for trying to lift the yoke of oppression by the Spanish Colonial government and the friars from his Filipino countrymen. He did not encourage sedition against Spain, but wanted more humane treatment of his countrymen mainly by the friars and to a lesser extent by the Spanish Colonial Administrators. He advocated political, clerical, and land acquisition reforms. In essence, he wanted an end to the discrimination, exploitation, and persecution of his Filipino countrymen.