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March 1, 1888, some native Filipinos and mestizos presented a petition demanding explusion of the friars

On March 1, 1888, some native Filipinos and mestizos marched in procession to the official residence of Jose Centeno and presented a petition demanding the immediate expulsion of the friars of the religious orders, and of the Archbishop, whom they declared unworthy to occupy the Primacy of the Islands. Centeno, a mining engineer, was acting civil governor of Manila, and an anti-clerical, was said to have emboldened the demonstration.

Filipino soldiers in 1899 (

The petition was addressed to the Queen of Spain.

The procession was calm and unmarked by any untoward incident- much like a religious procession. What distinguished it was the petition it presented. Entitled “Viva España! Viva el Rey! Viva el Ejercito! Fuera los Frailes!” (“Long Live Spain! Long Live the King! Long Live the Army! Down with the Friars!) it was a litany of what the petitioners believed to be the friars’ transgressions not only against the natives but also against the colonial government, among others: defiance of the ban of having corpses in churches; preventing the masses from learning Spanish; defending the Chinese who were disloyal to the government among others, in short, the friars were the reason the Filipinos were backward and the Philippines underdeveloped. Even the Archbishop (Payo) was not spared: the petitioners accused him of supporting the parish priests who defied the ban on corpses because it would be bad for business, and because of this, of flouting the authority of the Governor General. To rectify this, the petitioners sought his return to Spain, the expulsion of the friars, and at the very least, their suppression through secularization of the parishes held by them- giving the parishes to secular priests, and the true assimilation of the Filipinos into Spanish nation.

The result of this appeal was that the principal persons who took part in it were banished, or sent to reside at undesirable places within the Archipelago.


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