Jose Rizal Kangaroo Trial: Preliminary Investigation
Jose Rizal departed Barcelona on October 6, 1886 to face trial in the Philippines. While on board, the officers confiscated the diary of Rizal, they were curious what contained in it and trying to find entries that would incriminate him in the revolution but they were disappointed. It was returned after nineteen days. He was placed behind bars and was not taken out until they reached the Red Sea. In Singapore, he was placed in handcuffs. They were taking extreme measures of possible rescue and escape.
Probably, there was a valid reason for the authorities to exercise extreme measures because friends of Rizal in Singapore and Europe attempted to rescue him. Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor and Sixto Lopez sent telegrams to an English lawyer, Hugh Fort, to rescue him from the Spanish Streamer when it arrives Singapore using the legal strategy. The use of Writ of Habeas Corpus, alleging Jose Rizal was illegally detained but Chief Justice Lionel Cox denied it, on the ground that it was beyond the jurisdiction of the civil courts for it was a warship of foreign power and that would be against the International Law.
To successfully convict Rizal, his enemies gathered evidences against him by arresting his friends and tortured them to implicate him. His brother, Paciano, suffered most for he was tortured but like the hero, his spirit never gave in and remained unmoved.
The preliminary investigation lasted for five days. He was being informed of the charges and questioned by the Judge Advocate but deprived of his right to confront those who testified against him. There were testimonies and documentary evidences being presented. The following documents serve as the basis for the charges by the prosecution:
- A letter of Antonio Luna to Mariano Ponce, showing Rizal’s connection with the Filipino reform Campaign in Spain.
- Rizal’s letter to his family, stating that the deportation are good for they will encourage the people to hate the tyranny.
- A letter from Marcelo H. del Pilar, implicating Rizal in the Propaganda Campaign in Spain.
- A poem entitled Kundiman, allegedly written by Rizal in Manila, which contained the lines
…She is the slave oppressed
Groaning in the tyrant’s grips;
Lucky shall he be
Who can give her liberty!
- A letter of Carlos Oliveros to an identified person, describing Jose Rizal as the man to free the Philippines from Spanish oppression.
- A Masonic documents honoring Jose Rizal for his patriotic services.
- A letter signed Dimasalang (Rizal pseudonym) to Tenluz (Juan Zuleta), stating that he was preparing a safe refuge for Filipino people who may be persecuted by the Spanish authorities.
- A letter of Dimasalang to an identified committee, soliciting the aid of the committee in the patriotic work.
- An anonymous and undated letter to the editor of the Hongkong Telegraph, censuring the banishment of Rizal to Dapitan.
- A letter of Eldefonso Laurel to Rizal, saying that the Filipino people look up to him as their saviour.
- A letter of Ildefonso Laurel to Rizal, informing him of an unidentified correspondent of the arrest and banishment of Doroteo Cortes and Ambrosio Salvador.
- A letter of Marcelo H. del Pilar to Juan Tenluz, recommending the establishment of a special organization, independent of Masonry, to help the cause of the Filipino people.
- Transcript of a speech of pingkian (Emilio Jacinto), in reunion of the katipunan, in which the following cry was uttered “ Long live the Philippines! Long live liberty! Long live Dr. Rizal! Unify!
- Transcript of a speech of ti-tik (Jose Turiano Santiago) in the same Katipunan reunion, wherein the Katipuneros shouted: “Long live the eminent Dr. Rizal! Death to the oppressor nation!
- A poem by Laong Laan (Rizal) entitled “A Talisay” in which the author makes the Dapitan school boys sing that they know how to fight for their rights.
On November 26, 1896, the preliminary investigation was finished and Colonel Olive transmitted the records to Governor Ramon Blanco, together with the appointment of Captain Rafael Dominguez as a special judge advocate. The recommendation of the judge advocate were the following:
- That Rizal be immediately brought to trial
- That he should be kept in prison
- That an order of attachment be issued against his property to the amount of one million pesos as indemnity; and
- That he should be defended in court by an army officer, not by a civilian lawyer.
On December 8, Rizal was gi€ven a list of 100 first and second lieutenants from which he would select his defense lawyer. Rizal chose the officer Don Luis Taviel de Andrade, it was a familiar name for Rizal.
On December 11, he was formally informed of the charges and he pleaded not guilty to the charge of rebellion although he admitted that he wrote the constitution of the La Liga Filipina.