Chapter 49: - Page 5 of 9

The Voice of the Hunted

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Some error exists here which I do not see just now some fallacy in the theory to invalidate the practise, for in Spain, the mother country, this corps is displaying, and has ever displayed, great usefulness.

I don’t doubt it. Perhaps there, it is better organized, the men of better grade, perhaps also Spain needs it while the Philippines does not. Our customs, our mode of life, which are always invoked when there is a desire to deny us some right, are entirely overlooked when the desire is to impose something upon us.  And tell me, sir, why have not the other nations, which from their nearness to Spain must be more like her than the Philippines is, adopted this institution? Is it because of this that they still have fewer robberies on their railway trains, fewer riots, fewer murders, and fewer assassinations in their great capitals?

Ibarra bowed his head in deep thought, raising it after a few moments to reply: This question, my friend, calls for serious study.  If my inquiries convince me that these complaints are well founded I will write to my friends in Madrid, since we have no representatives.  Meanwhile, believe me that the government needs a corps with strength enough to make itself respected and to enforce its authority.

Yes, sir, when the government is at war with the country.  But for the welfare of the government itself we must not have the people think that they are in opposition to authority.  Rather, if such were true, if we prefer force to prestige, we ought to take care to whom we grant this unlimited power, this authority.  So much power in the hands of men, ignorant men filled with passions, without moral training, of untried principles, is a weapon in the hands of a madman in a defenseless multitude.  I concede and wish to believe with you that the government needs this weapon, but then let it choose this weapon carefully, let it select the most worthy instruments, and since it prefers to take upon itself authority, rather than have the people grant it, at least let it be seen that it knows how to exercise it.

Elias spoke passionately, enthusiastically, in vibrating tones; his eyes flashed.  A solemn pause followed. The banka, unimpelled by the paddle, seemed to stand still on the water.  The moon shone majestically in a sapphire sky and a few lights glimmered on the distant shore.

What more do they ask for? inquired Ibarra.

Reform in the priesthood, answered Elias in a sad and discouraged tone.  These unfortunates ask for more protection against—

Learn this Filipino word:

iginupò ng sariling bigát