La Liga Filipina
Today we commemorate the founding of La Liga Filipina. July 03, 1892 Rizal founded La Liga Filipina or The Philippine League in the home of Doroteo Ongjunco at Calle Ilaya, Tondo.
La Liga’s constitution was drafted in Hong Kong with help from his friend Jose Ma. Basa but the thought of mobilizing the indios into a single movement may have dawned at Rizal as a result of several events and realizations: (1) his fall out with Marcelo H. Del Pilar (2) his frustration over his fellow expatriates in Europe and (3) the inevitable collapse of Spain as a world power. His differences with M.H. Del Pilar and the the expatriates’ lack of zeal in their cause made him realize that he can no longer rely on their movement. The impending collapse of Spain which was accomplished in the Treaty of Paris, two years afters Rizal’s death, made him see the need to prepare for independence through the Liga.
The Constitution of the Liga Filipina: (Zaide & Zaide)
1. To unite the whole archipelago into one compact and homogenous body.
2. Mutual protection in every want and necessity.
3. Defense against all violence and injustice.
4. Encouragement of education, agriculture, and commence.
5. Study and application of reforms.
The motto was: Unus Instar Omnium (One Like All).
The governing body of the league was the Supreme Council which had jurisdiction over the whole country. It was composed of a president, a secretary, a treasurer, and a fiscal. There was a Provincial Council in every province and a Popular Council in every town.
Duties of the members:
1. obey the orders of the Supreme Council;
2. to help in recruiting new members;
3. to keep in strictest secrecy the decisions of the Liga authorities;
4. to have a symbolic name which he cannot change until he becomes president of his council;
5. to report to the fiscal anything that he may hear which affects the Liga;
6. to behave well as befits a good Filipino; and
7. to help fellow members in all ways.
The Liga was national in scope but Guerrero believes it was an “underground movement organized so openly above ground!” (The First Filipino) because the Spanish colonial government was still the established government in the archipelago. “One does not know whether to gasp at Rizal’s candor or marvel at his boldness!” (Ibid) He probably meant that the establishment of La Liga could have an adverse political consequences. However, “the end of Spanish colonization was not one of them.” (Dumol and Camposano)
July 6, 1892, three days after the launch of La Liga, Rizal was arrested due to some incriminatory leaflets entitled Ponees Frailes (Poor Froars) found in Lucia’s pillow cases. July 7, 1892 Rizal was deported to Dapitan, died in 1896 and in 1898 the archipelago was ceded to the United States. This hindsight tells us that there was really no chance for the implementation of the league’s aims.
Despite our differences in views and opinions of what is going on in the Philippines and its relations with other countries, one should seize every opportunity to do what he think is best for our beloved nation and let history judge all of us.
Dumol, Paul Arvisu and Camposano, Clement C. The Nation as Project. A New Reading of Jose Rizal’s Life and Works. Manila, Philippines: Vibal Group, Inc., 2018.
Garcia, Carlito D., De Viana Augusto V. and Cruz, Cynthia. Rizal and the Development of Filipino Nationalism. Mandaluyong City, Philippines: Books Atbp. Publishing Corp., 2015.
Guerrero, Leon Ma. The First Filipino. Manila, Philippines: National Histprocql Commission, 1974.
Zaide, Gregorio F. and Zaide, Sonia M. Jose Rizal. Quezon City: Philippines: All-Nations Publishing Co., Inc., 2014.