The Philippines of Rizal’s Time
Instability of Colonial Administration
•The instability of Spanish politics since the turbulent reign of King Ferdinand VII (1808-1833) marked the beginning of political chaos in Spain.
•The Spanish government underwent frequent changes owing to bitter struggles between the forces of despotism and liberalism and the explosions of the Carlist Wars.
•Adversely affected Philippine affairs because it brought about frequent periodic shifts in colonial policies and a periodic rigodon of colonial officials.
Corrupt Colonial Officials
•The colonial officials (governors-general, judges, provincial executives, etc.) sent by Spain to the Philippines in the 19th century were a far cry from their able and dedicated
predecessors of the 16th, 17th, ang 18th centuries.
•The were either highly corrupt, incompetent, cruel, or venal
Philippine Representation in Spanish Cortes
•To win the support of overseas colonies during the Napoleonic invasion, Spain granted them representation in the Cortes (Spanish Parliament). •The first period of Philippine representation in the Spanish Cortes (1810-1813) was thus fruitful with beneficent results for the welfare of the colony. However, the second period and the third period of representation were less fruitful, because the Philippines delegates were not as energetic and devoted in parliamentary work. •The representation of the overseas colonies (including the Philippines) in the Spanish Cortes was abolished in 1837.
•“We want representation in the legislative chamber so that our aspirations may be known to the mother country and its government.” – Graciano Lopez Jaena
Human Rights Denied to Filipinos
•The people of Spain enjoyed freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and other human rights (except freedom of religion).
•Spanish authorities denied these human rights to the Filipinos in Asia.
•“Why do we fall into an anomaly, such as combining our claim for liberty for ourselves, and our wish to impose our law on remote peoples? Why do we deny to others the benefit which we desire for our father land?” – Sinibaido de Mas
No Equality Before the Law
•The Spanish missionaries taught that all men, irrespective of color and race, are children of God and as such they are brothers, equal before God.
•Brown Filipinos and white Spaniards may be equal before God, but not before the law and certainly not in practice.
•Leye de Indias – were promulgated by the Christian monarchs of Spain to protect the rights of the natives in Spain’s overseas colonies and to promote their welfare.
Maladministration of Justice
•The courts of justice were notoriously corrupt.
•They were courts of “injustice”.
•The Spanish Judges, fiscals (prosecuting attorneys), and other court officials were inept, venal, and often times ignorant of law.
•Justice was costly, partial, and slow.
•Wealth, social prestige, and color of skin were preponderant factors in winning a case in court.
•The judicial procedure was so slow, and clumsy that it was easy to have justice delayed. And justice delayed, as a popular maxim states, “is justice denied”.
•The Spanish authorities civil as well as ecclesiastical, zealously propagated the Christian faith, but seldom practised its sublime tenets. •They regarded the converted Filipinos as inferior beings who were infinitely undeserving of the rights and privileges that the white Spaniards enjoyed. •Spaniards and their mestizo satellites derisively called the brown-skinned and flat-nosed Filipinos “Indios” (Indians).
•A white skin, a high nose, and Castilian lineage were a badge of vaunted superiority.
•Spaniard or a mestizo, no matter how stupid or mongrel born he was, always enjoyes political and social prestige in the community.
•Jose Burgos bewailed Spanish misconception that a man’s merit depended on the pigment of his skin, the height of his nose, the...
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