Jose Rizal's Desiderata to us all today

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez - The Freeman

Today is the 163rd birth anniversary of the greatest Filipino, nay, the greatest among the Malayan race: Dr. Jose Protasio Mercado Rizal y Realonda, the most eminent Filipino hero, poet, novelist, physician, journalist, artist, inventor, agriculturist, athlete, world traveller, and lover of women and songs.

Dr. Rizal never entered politics but his immortal masterpieces “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” are among the greatest political satires and sarcasms in the annals of our history. His principles and values do constitute a continuing lecture to our politicians today who all wield power today sans ideology and principles. The caricatures of Capitan Tiago and Padre Damaso are very strong representations of corruption, conscienceless power-tripping, and spineless influence-peddling. Dr. Rizal's satire about Padre Damaso and Padre Salvi are strong attacks against religious leaders who use God and the Bible to amass money, seduce women, and unduly interfere in government affairs. There are many of such human viruses today.

Unlike the politics of former president Rodrigo Duterte, Dr. Rizal was a strong advocate for non-violent and democratic modes of instituting reforms. His character of Crisostomo Ibarra was an exemplification of reformism through education and empowerment of the masses. His opposite extreme of the character of Elias was a denunciation of a reckless and ill-advised adventurism by armed struggle of a poorly-trained, poorly-armed, and undisciplined ragtag army of peasants, against the superior battalions of the oppressors. In a way, Rizal rejected the rather desperate and poorly-planned revolution led by Andres Bonifacio of the Katipunan and by General Emilio Aguinaldo of the Magdalo faction.

Dr. Jose Rizal rejected the politics of Capitan Tiago, which was no different from today's politics dominated by family dynasties of traditional politicians and influence-peddlers. Capitan Tiago was a perfect caricature depicting the human greed for power that corrupts and an ultimate representation of absolute power, which corrupts absolutely. Capitan Tiago is Rizal's argument against the politics of the incompetents who are powerful, and against the dishonest nincompoops, who are vested with too much authority over the lives of innocent and weak men and brainless megalomaniacs who are lording over without opposition in unstable and conscienceless governments.

Rizal also denounces the limitless powers vested in Padre Damaso, who was a satirical character of today's religious pastors, priests, religious preachers, and modern scribes, Pharisees, and self-appointed so-called sons or messengers of God, who use the name of God himself in vain and brandish the Bible just to pressure the poor to part with their hard-earned money. They pontificate like false prophets and amass too much wealth that they could build their own kingdoms. Some fake religious leaders can even summon a harem of foreign sex slaves, and trafficked children to beg money in the streets just to finance a life of profligacy and hedonism. They do all these with shameless impunity in collaboration with petty political power-wielders.

Today, we Filipinos should review our own lives, which are being dominated and ruled by modern versions of Capitan Tiago who use artificial intelligence and robots in order to make us the latest mutations of Crispin, Basilio, and Sisa. We should re-examine our own values as shameless impostors and scalawags lord over us like modern versions of Padre Damaso and Padre Salvi, false prophets who seek to fleece us of our money and trample our human dignity.

Dr. Jose Rizal's teachings should awaken us into rejecting the political rascals and scoundrels in our midst. Exactly 163 years after Rizal's birth and 128 years after his martyrdom, we should have become wiser and more discerning in the choice of our leaders. The novels of Rizal were a denunciation of 377 darkest years of slavery from 1521 to 1898. Today, our oppressors are fellow Filipinos who steal elections, buy votes, and control our lives as if they were colonizing us by the grace of the crown of Spain.

If we do not break the chains that continue to choke us, when shall we ever become free? Dr. Jose Rizal must be squirming in his grave.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with