Fr. Jacinto Zamora was born in Pandacan, Manila, on August 14,
parents were former capitan of Pandacan, Don Venancio Zamora and Dona Hilaria
obtained his early education in Pandacan and later transferred to the Real Colegio de San Juan de Letran where
he finished his Bachiller en Artes.
He continued his studies at the University ofSanto
graduating on March 6, 1858, with the degree of Bachelor of Canon
and Civil Laws. Like his fellow student Jose Burgos, he kept on working for his
doctorate in Canon Laws.
Burgos, Juan Dilig and eight other student
leaders, he headed a student demonstration in the night of January
demanding the removal of the newly appointed Mayor. Dissent from the students
was considered an insult to the authorities. This was brought to the attention
of the Vicar General. He was punished with two months confinement in his
years after receiving his tonsure, he was ordained a presbyter. He served in
the parishes of Marikina, Pasig, then of Lipa, Batangas. After a
competitive examination in which he placed second, he was appointed to the
Manila Cathedral effective December 3, 1864.
was appointed, together with Burgos and Gomez as members of the Committee
on Reforms and Seculares group. He
worked for the secularization of the Filipino clergy and fought for their
rights. Two groups ofFilipino priests
and laymen were founded. The priests sought the secularization of all
legislation tending to discriminate against Filipinos.
been an examiner of new priests, both Filipinos and Spaniards, he had a first
hand knowledge of their competence.
the habit of playing cards after saying mass. Once he was invited by another
priest with a mysterious invitation: “Grand Reunion… Our friends are well
provided with powder and munitions.” Unfortunately this invitation fell into
the hands of the Spanish authorities. “Powder and munitions,” of course, in the
card players’ language meant money with which to gamble throughout the night.
This incident and the Cavite Revolt in 1872 that happened o the same day were
enough to convict him to death.
“revolt” was merely the uprising of the laborers at the Cavite Arsenal by
veteran soldiers who felt aggrieved because despite their long services, they
were required to pay tributes. January
20, 1872, was payday at the Arsenal and the workers received their
wages reduced by the amount of the tributes. The mutiny spread to the Fort of
San Felipe, Cavite where it
received sympathetic response among the soldiers under the leadership of a
Filipino soldier, Sgt. Lamarid. However, the rebels were defeated and Lamarid
of sedition for having allegedly instigated the Cavite Mutiny, Zamora, Burgos and Gomez were tried at FortSantiago on February 15, by a military
tribunal. After the mock trial, they were found “guilty” and sentenced to death
by garrote. No defense on their
behalf was put up.
General Izquierdo approved the decision of the military court and fixed the
execution on the morning of February 17, 1872. To further disgrace the three
priests, he requested Archbishop Gregorio Meliton Martinez to deprive them of
their priestly habits so that they would no longer be ministers of God at their
execution. The Archbishop spurned this unholy request because he believed in
the innocence of the three priests.
sunrise of February 17, 1872, the field of Bagumbayan (now Luneta)
was already overflowing with spectators – Spaniards, Filipinos and foreigners.
o’ clock, the death march from FortSantiago started. Zaldua went ahead of the
three priests who were dressed in black habits. He was smiling, for he was
anticipating last minute pardon and money that was promised him for testifying
falsely against them.
As the execution was about to begin, Zaldua realizing too late that
the promised pardon and reward were not forthcoming, protested violently.
the three priests, Fr. Zamora was the second to be the garroted. His last
moments were described by Salvador Pons y Torres.
hearing his name called, Fr. Zamora went up the scaffold, without saying a word
and seated himself in the place pointed out to the executioner, because, days
before, his soul had grown used to the death penalty…. He was insane!”
these martyrs, Rizal dedicated his El
Filibusterismo: “The Government, by surrounding your trials with mystery
and shadows, causes the belief that there was some error, committed in the
fatal moments; and the whole Philippines by worshiping your memory and calling
your martyrs in no sense recognizes your culpability.”
In his honor,
two elementary schools have been named after him, one in Manila and another in Pasay.