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Jose Rizal in Madrid Vandalized

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Topics: Philippines, Manila
Unidentified vandals defaced the monument of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal in Madrid, said a Negros-based priest visiting Spain.

Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem, property administrator of the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos said he saw the vandalized monument on Tuesday.

“Being in Spain, I visited the monument as a proud Filipino, and as a faithful disciple of the sculptor, I was shocked to discover that the monument is defaced with those dirty words," Jakosalem said in an article posted on the news site Visayan Daily Star on Thursday.

Jakosalem, who was attending the 54th General Chapter of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in Spain, said he saw the words “Mason de mierda (Mason shit)!" in red paint on the monument.

“Yes, Jose Rizal was a former Mason. But he was born a faithful and devoted Catholic, embracing masonry as a consequence of liberating his people, and only to embrace back the Catholic faith before his death – in the end, being forgiven and forgiving his executioners for the sake of freedom," he said.

Jakosalem said the incident is a wake-up call to Philippine embassy officials to "take care of our cultural heritage, too, inside and outside of our country."

Commemorating year of death

Rizal's monument was inaugurated December 5, 1996 along the Avenida de Las Islas Filipinas in Madrid to commemorate the 100th year of his death.

The inauguration was part of the celebrations marking the centennial of Philippine independence from Spain.

The statue was made by the late Filipino sculptor Florante “Boy" Caedo.

“The Rizal Monument in Spain is a monument of our freedom," he added.

Advocate for reforms

Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861–December 30, 1896, Bagumbayan), is the national hero of the Philippines. He was the seventh of 11 children born to a wealthy family in Calamba, Laguna.

The day of his death is commemorated as a holiday called Rizal Day.

Rizal's military trial and execution in 1896, during the Spanish period, made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.

Rizal was a polyglot (someone who uses many languages), who was conversant in at least 10 languages.

Rizal was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist. His most famous works were his two novels, the "Noli me Tangere" and "El Filibusterismo."

Rizal earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila.

He later enrolled in Medicine and Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas.

He continued his studies in Spain where he earned the degree of Licentiate in Medicine from the Universidad Central de Madrid.

He also attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg.

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