The Final Day - Rizal’s Day in Review
Fort Santiago, Manila, Islands of the Philippines - The final day of Jose Rizal has been spent busily attending to a variety of visitors. Most, sources relate, he met with equanimity and serene confidence. The only moment of anger he displayed is, in display of callousness, guards refused to allow Teodora Alonso to embrace her doomed son. Witnesses report he shouted: “Cowards, not before long, Spain will be out of the Philippines!”
Jose Rizal’s long day began at six o’clock in the morning when he was visited by Captain Rafael Dominguez, who proceeded to read the declaration of Rizal’s execution. Witnesses state that Dr Rizal reacted to the news calmly and cooly, even confidently. He signed the notification with a strong hand, sources who have seen the signature state that it is strong, confident, and even beautiful. He made two declarations prior to signing, first that he is an indio not a “mestizo Chinese” and that he maintains his innocence of the charges. Unsurprisingly, waiting in the anteroom while Rizal was served his sentence were the Jesuit priests Miguel Saderra Mata and Luis Viza.
Witnesses have indicated that Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda, O.P is obsessed with bringing Dr Rizal back into the Church. One source, on condition of anonymity, has said Archbishop Nozaleda is propelled by a ‘burning zeal.’ It appears that Archbishop Nozaleda believes that the Jesuits, based on Dr Rizal’s more positive memories of his time at the Ateneo de Manila, are in the best position to bring him back to the fold. It appears the priests also attempted to leverage Dr Rizal’s relationship with Josephine Bracken to their benefit. The Archbishop has refused to publicly comment on Dr Jose Rizal.
Sources say that Dr Rizal warmly welcomed the pair of Jesuits priests to his rooms. He even accepted a statue of the Sacred Heart that he carved while in the Ateneo. It was placed on a table. At approximately 9AM a certain Father Roselle joined the discussion, with him was a journalist from the Heraldo de Madrid named Santiago Matraix. It appears that, as access to Dr Rizal by local media is being restricted, Matraix may be the last journalist to interview Rizal. Matraix related to Diario de Filipinas that during the discussion Dr Rizal described his time at the Ateneo: “Father, you’ll remember I was never president, but secretary. I was then very small and could not preside. You will notice that I have never presided over anything in my life - I have been and I am very insignificant.” Rizal continues to tweak the Church and their obsession with him.
At 10AM the parade of priests continued with two Jesuits by the name of Father Vilaclara and Balanguer replacing Father Roselle. Father Balanguer, for a time, was the parish priest of Dapitan and was approached by Dr Rizal when he wished to wed Ms Josephine Bracken during his exile in the town. After Balanguer came Father March, then Father Faura. To Father Faura, Rizal exclaimed: “Father, does Your Reverence not recall the last time we talked and what you predicted for me? You were a prophet: I am going to die on the scaffold.”
Among the political dignitaries who paid Rizal a visit were the civil governor of Manila, Manuel Luengo, and His Majesty’s Fiscal.
It was only in late afternoon when Rizal’s family was allowed to visit. Previously, he sent a note that only the “most valiant” should visit, for he had important things to say. Rumors are running rampant that he will clandestinely hand over some of his writings to his family. Sources have previously indicated that Rizal has spent most of his free time writing. It was during that meeting that the Spanish authorities physically prevented Rizal from embracing his mother. It was one of the only times that Rizal visibly showed his anger. It was a display of callous disregard for a mother’s love and the final hours of a condemned man. The Spanish authorities have defended their actions by saying they fear relatives may pass poison to him.
Soon after Rizal visited with his mother, his sisters arrived and remain with him. Reports indicate that Rizal has more visits from Jesuit priests to look forward to this evening.