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November 20, 1896, Dr. Jose Rizal Appeared Before Colonel Francisco Olive

Upon the outbreak of the insurrection the regime had immediately opened a general inquiry which was entrusted to Colonel Olive, the same person who led a company of soldiers five years earlier to eject the tenants of Calamba in Laguna, among them, the Rizal family.

Colonel Francisco Olive (Photo:

When Rizal’s name kept cropping up in the statements made by those who had been arrested or who had availed themselves of Blanco’s offer of amnesty, Olive had asked the Marquess to secure the return of Rizal to the Philippines to answer for the offences in which he had been implicated. The request could not be refused, notwithstanding the Governor General’s own letters of recommendation in which he had absolved Rizal of all blame, and the telegram had been sent to hold Rizal prisoner and send him back by the next ship.

He arrived on the 3rd November and was immediately taken to Fort Santiago. However, it was not until November 20, 1896, Dr. Jose Rizal was summoned and appeared before Colonel Francisco Olive, sitting as Judge Advocate, to answer the charges that have been pressed against him. Presented before him were documentary and testimonial evidences.

In accordance with Spanish criminal procedure he was informed of the charges and the evidence against him but was allowed only to give testimony on his own behalf, without the right to cross-examine the witnesses against him or to offer any formal defense. The oral and documentary evidence had all been derived from the main inquiry, the documents, according to Retana, having been among those seized in Bonifacio’s warehouse, which he had apparently converted into archives of subversive literature.

This preliminary investigation lasted for 5 days.


The First Filipino by Leon Ma. Guerrero. Manila: National Historical Commission, 1974.

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