I reported about Armando Malay’s “Veneration with Understanding” for my Rizal class (PI 100) in UP Diliman two years ago. Renato Constantino’s 1969 was a controversial piece, and the arguments he put forward may sound convincing – until you read this point-by-point rebuttal by the eminent late Filipino journalist-freedom activist. Below are the most essential points of Malay’s article. You can also download my Veneration With Understanding PowerPoint file . :)


14.    Again: “A man becomes a hero, or a national hero, if he accomplishes some achievement or achievements that his people would admire so much that they would place him in higher regard than any other man in the country…That achievement may be in the revolutionary field, the field of statesmanship and music, and in the future, it might be in the scientific or economic fields.”


Malay: “The field from which a national hero would spring is not limited to the field of revolution."
Malay: “The field from which a national hero would spring is not limited to the field of revolution."

15.    “The field from which a national hero would spring is not limited to the field of revolution. Maybe, in some new African nation, the national hero would be one who invents a vaccine that would forever banish a debilitating disease.”

16.    “My quarrel with Constantino is this: He set-up the criterion of “revolutionary leadership” as the one that would govern the choice of a national hero – and since he did not join the revolution of 1896 but even repudiated it, he could not qualify.”

17.    “Further: since Rizal continues to be venerated by his people, despite the shortcomings described by Constantino, then our veneration of Rizal as our national hero is misplaced, a veneration without understanding.”

18.    “I submit most energetically that his veneration is not misplaced and is not without understanding. If Rizal “betrayed the masses (as Constantino infers), then the masses must be so ignorant or so misled that 74 years after Rizal’s they are still venerating a man whose main concern was to protect the interests of the ilustrado class.”

19.    “The achievements of Rizal in all the fields he chose (culture, history, sciences) would be more, much more, than winning a battle or starting a revolution.”

“I am not denigrating those who served out country by starting the revolution or winning battles…But to reject one man from the place that is rightfully his because he did not believe that the revolution was the right way for his country – this I cannot accept.”

“Men and heroes are not like buttons that can be classified as to their size and color, because they did this and did not do that. Totality of achievements is a better criterion and by this, Rizal stands above all others.”

20.    R. Constantino: “The propagandists, in working for certain reforms, chose Spain as the arena of their struggle instead of working among their own people, educating them, helping them realize their own condition, and in articulating their own aspirations.”

21.    A. Malay: “Again, Constantino is setting up another criterion of his own making: that the national hero must work among his own people…If a man can better serve his country by working from the outside, then more honor to him than the one who elects to stay in his own country where he virtually can do nothing because of despotism (censorships and other repressions).”

“They did so not to isolate themselves from the masses of their country but to get ideas, to work for reforms…Many great men and women got their baptism of fire in foreign countries, but returned home as soon as they thought they were ready.”

22.    R. Constantino:

“Reflecting the interests of the ilutrado class, Rizal drew the principal characters of his two novels from that class: Ibarra, Fathers Damaso and Salvi, Maria Clara etc.”

Constantino: "Reflecting the interests of the ilustrado class, Rizal drew the principal characters of his two novels from that class."
Constantino: "Reflecting the interests of the ilustrado class, Rizal drew the principal characters of his two novels from that class."


23.     A. Malay: “There is a difference between the main characters in a novel and those whom the author would set up as a model for emulation. The “heroes” in Rizal’s novels were not Ibarra, Maria Clara or Fray Damaso and Fray Salvi. In contradistinction, Rizal gave us Elias, a man of the masses; Father Florentino, a Filipino priest; Juli and Sisa, and many others, who all sprang from the masses.”

24.    “As to the contention that Rizal as the national hero was created by the Americans, I’d like to say two things: Two years after his execution, Rizal was already honored by the Philippine revolutionary government when Aguinaldo declared December 30 1898 as a day of mourning.”

“As early as 1892, when the Katipunan was organized, Rizal was already regarded as a sort of a national hero. He was the honorary president of Katipunan…According to Katipuneros questioned by Spanish authorities; Rizal’s picture was hung in their meeting rooms.”

25.    VENERATION OF RIZAL WAS A FACT EVEN BEFORE HIS EXECUTION. To say now that Rizal was a creation of the Americans because they did want Filipinos to choose Bonifacio as their national hero is to fly in the face of facts. Worse, it is to insult the masses who, if they are to believe the detractors of Rizal, have allowed themselves TO BE DUPED FOR SO LONG.



3 thoughts on “Armando Malay: “Veneration of Rizal was a fact even before his execution” Part II

  1. 😀 Former LGU Secretary Jesse Robredo has been considered as one of our greatest Filipino heroes in modern times. He is a man who is more on action than talk, he gets more results than others even though performing his tasks almost behind the scenes of government. No wonder, he is more recognized upon death.

    Robredo extolled for ‘tsinelas’ leadership – transcending the limitations of convention for the good of others.


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