On Friday, June 19, 2009, the Filipinos would again be marking Dr. Jose Rizal’s 148th birthday. Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado, born June 19, 1861 at Calamba, Laguna, is recognized a national hero. At the young age of 35, the man considered as the greatest Filipino patriot of all time, accused of treason by the Spanish colonial government, was shot by a firing squad.
Historical records bear no name as to who killed Jose Rizal but his very own countrymen were used to shoot him dead. Nothing was also identified as the exact reason for his killing. In fact, Rizalista websites suggest that it was his turning to truth that did him in.
In 1889, Rizal wrote a Letter to the Young Women of Malolos, praising them for their courage. At that time, the country was under the rule of Spain, which rule ended in1898.
Filipininana.net describes the background:
Written in Tagalog, Jose Rizal wrote this letter – upon the request of Marcelo H. del Pilar – on 17 February 1889 in London while annotating Morga’s book. The letter praises the young women of Malolos for their perseverance to pursue the establishment of a “night school” where they can study Spanish. Based on accounts, on 12 December 1888, 20 young women from Malolos petitioned Governor-General Weyler for the establishment of a “night school” to study Spanish under Teodoro Sandiko, a professor of Latin. However, Fr. Felipe Garcia, the Spanish parish priest, objected to the petition, prompting the governor-general to dismiss the petition. Unperturbed, the young women continued with their clamor (for the establishment of the school) and eventually succeeded. Señora Guadalupe Reyes became the teacher of the women. The school remained open for three months. (Written by Teresa Lovely C. Rebatis ; Edited by Frederick N. Castillo).
THERE IS NO MORE RIZAL in the country, but his language is very much alive. Some sectors believe that listening to Bro. Eliseo Soriano of Ang Dating Daan, will make one notice a striking resemblance. Rizal is dead; Soriano is alive; but two of them speak the same language, same tone, same fervor in spirit. Two of them speak without fear; two of them wanted for their dauntless articulations.
Rizal was considered by the Spaniards as one of the best writers around. Soriano is hated for his most articulate tongue that spared no one that deceived anyone. Rizal was an exile; Soriano now is. Both men left their country to have an easier time to breathe and do their own work.
Preacher Soriano is alive but he is being hunted – by those who cannot stand his tongue. Should people one day find him killed by his own countrymen, it is not far-fetched. The ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo in the Ang Tamang Daan of Net 25 had already been boldly suggesting his death by way of saying that a coffin, red carpet, and candles are ready, as well as the Amurao Funeral Home for Bro. Soriano. The Ang Dating Daan sector believe that it will happen, however, only if God allows it.
Bro. Soriano is the Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) with church locales in six continents. The Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) is his highly successful radio-tv program that has consistently garnered web awards in the last six years. MCGI is more popularly known to the public as Ang Dating Daan.
Here are the excerpts from Rizal’s Letter that bears the usual discourses of Bro. Eli Soriano. The resemblance was much noted in a Translation Clinic given recently to some 40 Ang Dating Daan participants for language translation exercises. Without an author’s name, the excerpts were thought to come from Bro. Soriano’s bible exposition discourses.
Now that you have responded to our first appeal for the welfare of our people; now that you have set an example for those who, like you, long to have their eyes opened and be delivered from servitude, our hopes are revived and with you as our allies we even dare to face adversity, confident of victory.
No longer do Filipino women have to stand with their heads bowed or appear on bended knees. Hope for the future now quickened their heart-beats. No longer is there any mother who will contribute to the blindness of her daughter and raise her in self-contempt and utter moral debasement. Submission to an unjust order or ready complaisance is no longer the quintessence of wisdom. Nor a polite smile now the only weapon against insult or a humble tear the ineffable panacea for all tribulations.
You already know that God’s will is different and distinct from the will of a priest; that religiousness does not consist in bending one’s knees for a long time, much less in mumbling kilometrical prayers, counting the heads of big rosaries, and wearing grimy scapularies. It consists rather in spotless conduct, in the purity of one’s intention and in the uprightness of one’s judgment or criterion. You know that prudence does not mean blind obedience to whatever whims may strike the fancy of godlings. It means doing what is reasonable and just, because blind obedience is itself the cause of such whims, and hence those who provoke them are the real sinners.
Officials or friars can no longer assert that they alone are responsible for their unjust orders, because God has endowed each person with reason and a will of his or her own, and that reason enables its possessor to distinguish what is just from what is unjust. All of us were born free, unshackled, and nobody has the right to subjugate the will and the spirit of another. And why should one submit one’s thoughts, free and noble, to another?
It is cowardice and a mistake to believe that saintliness is blind obedience and that prudence and the ability to think are signs of presumption. Ignorance has ever been ignorance; it has never been prudence and honor. God, the primal source of all wisdom, does not demand that man, created in his own image, allow himself to be deceived or hoodwinked. He wants us to use and let shine the light of reason with which he has so mercifully endowed us. He is like the father who handed a torch to each of his sons to light their way in the darkness, bidding them to keep its flame ever bright and not to trust to the light of the others, but to help and advise one another to find the right path. Fools they would be if they fell headlong for following the light of another; and the father would be right in reproaching them, thus: “Did I not give a torch to each of you?” But he would have no reason to hide them if they fell due to the light of their respective torches because then the light might have been dim and the road extremely bad.
Nobody, but nobody, talks like this anymore in the country except Bro. Eli Soriano. When it comes to truth, he cannot stop talking – not even add nor diminish, he says.