Chapter 14: - Page 5 of 9

In the House of the Students

(English version of “El Filibusterismo”)

The Spanish government, he said among other things, has given you everything, it has denied you nothing! We had absolutism in Spain and you had absolutism here; the friars covered our soil with conventos, and conventos occupy a third part of Manila; in Spain the garrote prevails and here the garrote is the extreme punishment; we are Catholics and we have made you Catholics; we were scholastics and scholasticism sheds its light in your college halls; in short, gentlemen, we weep when you weep, we suffer when you suffer, we have the same altars, the same courts, the same punishments, and it is only just that we should give you our rights and our joys.

As no one interrupted him, he became more and more enthusiastic, until he came to speak of the future of the Philippines.

As I have said, gentlemen, the dawn is not far distant.  Spain is now breaking the eastern sky for her beloved Philippines, and the times are changing, as I positively know, faster than we imagine.  This government, which, according to you, is vacillating and weak, should be strengthened by our confidence, that we may make it see that it is the custodian of our hopes.  Let us remind it by our conduct (should it ever forget itself, which I do not believe can happen) that we have faith in its good intentions and that it should be guided by no other standard than justice and the welfare of all the governed.  No, gentlemen, he went on in a tone more and more declamatory, we must not admit at all in this matter the possibility of a consultation with other more or less hostile entities, as such a supposition would imply our resignation to the fact.  Your conduct up to the present has been frank, loyal, without vacillation, above suspicion; you have addressed it simply and directly; the reasons you have presented could not be more sound; your aim is to lighten the labor of the teachers in the first years and to facilitate study among the hundreds of students who fill the college halls and for whom one solitary professor cannot suffice.  If up to the present the petition has not been granted, it has been for the reason, as I feel sure, that there has been a great deal of material accumulated, but I predict that the campaign is won, that the summons of Makaraig is to announce to us the victory, and tomorrow we shall see our efforts crowned with the applause and appreciation of the country, and who knows, gentlemen, but that the government may confer upon you some handsome decoration of merit, benefactors as you are of the fatherland!  

Enthusiastic applause resounded.  All immediately believed in the triumph, and many in the decoration.

Let it be remembered, gentlemen, observed Juanito, that I was one of the first to propose it.

The pessimist Pecson was not so enthusiastic.  Just so we don’t get that decoration on our ankles, he remarked, but fortunately for Pelaez this comment was not heard in the midst of the applause.

When they had quieted down a little, Pecson replied, Good, good, very good, but one supposition: if in spite of all that, the General consults and consults and consults, and afterwards refuses the permit?

Learn this Filipino word:

sumásala sa oras