Jose Rizal Was Jack the Ripper?

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Andrea P. Mateo

Jose Rizal was Jack the Ripper?

Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines, one of the Southeast Asian countries. His full name was Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo Realonda, the well-loved Philippine national hero, and the brave known genius was famous and will remain famous worldwide. I don’t know if you’ve heard about him, but of course if you’re a Filipino, you surely know him well because he’s a big part of the Philippine history. Jose Rizal is a star and like I’ve said genius and every star and genius is famous. And every famous is controversial.

An article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer records some Philippine urban legends: the "White Lady" of Balete Drive, Robina Gokongwei's "snake twin" lurking in department store dressing rooms, the elusive "kapre" that lives in an ancient mango tree near the Emilio Aguinaldo house in Kawit town, and Andres Bonifacio's love child from a place aptly named Libog (now Santo Domingo) in Albay province. None of those mean much to me. But most of the article is devoted to discussing two other Philippine legends that are of more general interest. The first one is that Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, Jack the Ripper?

The name Jack the Ripper" is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name originated in a letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the media. The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax, and may have been written by a journalist in a deliberate attempt to heighten interest in the story. Other nicknames used for the killer at the time were "The Whitechapel Murderer" and "Leather Apron". 'Jack the Ripper' has become the most infamous in the annals of murder. Yet, the amazing fact is that his identity remains unproven today. In the years 1888-1891 the name was regarded with terror by the residents of London's East End, and was known the world over. So shrouded in myth and mystery is this story that the facts are hard to identify at this remove in time. And it was the officers of Scotland Yard to whom the task of apprehending the fearsome killer was entrusted.

Rizal was in London from May 1888 to January 1889, in the British Library copying "Sucesos de las islas Filipinas" by hand because there were no photocopying machines at the time. Jack the Ripper was active around this time, and since we do not know what Rizal did at night or on the days he was not in the library, some people would like to believe Rizal is suspect. They argue that when Rizal left London, the Ripper murders stopped. They say that Jack the Ripper must have had some medical training, based on the way his victims were mutilated. Rizal, of course, was a doctor. Jack the Ripper liked women, and so did our own Rizal. And -- this is so obvious that many overlooked it -- Jose Rizal's initials match those of Jack the Ripper!

If Jack the Ripper did turn out to be Filipino, that would throw a wrench in his status as the Most Evil Brit of all time. And any of you people out there actually believe this? Just because Rizal was in London at around the same time, "liked women" (although to be more exact women liked him, he was not a womanizer; the women were the ones who chased him) was a doctor, often worked late hours alone, was a Freemason, and most ludicrously had matching initials would prove he is Jack the Ripper? I'd like you to tell me if there is a single court in the world that would convict a person solely on that kind of circumstantial evidence.

Given these, the conspiracy theory goes, Rizal could very well have been Jack the Ripper. Having been in London within the time frame of the murders, he had the opportunity to commit the crimes (“We do not know what Rizal did at night or on the days he was not in the...
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