Execution of GOMBURZA

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Father Jose Burgos: One of the GOMBURZA.

GOMBURZA stands for the names of the three Filipino priests- Fathers Mariano Gómez, José Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, executed on February 17, 1872, at Bagumbayan, Manila. These three martyrs were sentenced to death by means of the garrote, mechanical strangulation, on the charges of subversion and inciting revolution after the Cavite mutiny.


Secularization Issue

Prior to the execution of the three Filipino martyrs, there had been an unresolved issue about secularization in the Philippines that resulted a conflict among the religious regulars and the church seculars. Father Mariano Gomez was a strong advocate of the rights of the secular clergy.

Father Jose Burgos, however, was liberal and had strong nationalist views. He went for ecclesiastic reforms to empower native clergy, the reason he became a target of opposition by Roman Catholic authorities.

Father Jacinto Zamora, on the otherhand, loved playing cards. No one knew about this except his playmates. Unfortunately, on the day of the Cavite Revolt, Father Zamora received an invitation that said, his friend has "Powder and Munitions." In a gambler's language, Powder and munitions meant they had much money to gamble. This invitation fell into the Spanish hands. This invitation is one of the reasons why the Spaniards blamed the three priests.

Cavite Mutiny

The "Cavite Mutiny" is an unsuccessful revolt of 200 Filipino soldiers and laborers against the Spanish oppression which hoped to start a national uprising on the night of January 20, 1872 at a Cavite arsenal.

This mutiny was used by the Spanish authorities as an excuse to execute the three Filipino priests. They were used as scapegoats against the rising tide of Filipino nationalism.


Execution by garrote.

Garrote is a method of execution formerly practiced in Spain, in which a tightened iron collar is used to strangle or break the neck of a condemned person<ref name="test1">Answers.com, meaning of garrote. (accessed on January 30, 2008)</ref>. This was what they used to execute the GOMBURZA at Bagumbayan on February 17, 1872.

After the Execution

The execution left a profound effect on many Filipinos; José Rizal, the national hero, would dedicate his novel Noli Me Tangere to their memory<ref name="test2">"The Historical Setting for the Rise of the NP." (accessed on January 30, 2008)</ref>. This injustice triggered the awakening nationalism of the Filipinos and provoked them to secretly form movements against the foreign invasion and seek independence.

Recovery of the Corpses

The corpses of the three priests were secretly dumped in an unmark site at the Paco cemetery. They were not recovered until a month before their 126 Death Anniversary in 1996<ref name="test3">Casipit, Jennifer R., "GOMBURZA. Reluctant martyrs started it all." (accessed on January 30, 2008)</ref>, in the ladies' comfort room of the Paco Park by the Manila City Engineers Office.


A commemorative event was held in honor of the martyred priests in 1996 arranged by the National Centennial Commission through its GOMBURZA Anniversary Committee. This was in cooperation with the National Historical Institute, the Manila Tourism and Cultural Affairs Bureau, the National Parks Development Authority and the Intramuros Administration. Held at the Rizal Park, GOMBURZA Monument and the Paco Park Cemetery. The unveiling of a marker at Paco Park Cemetery declaring the park a National Historical Shrine highlighted the event.

See Also

Further reading

  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press.


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