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Last words, by their very meaning, are those articulated by an individual on the point of inevitable death or doom. It can range from just a single word to a very lengthy statement.
Typically, any dying person can say his last words. However, some have been immortalized in mankind’s history books either because of the dying individual’s fame, or because the words themselves are worth remembering for posterity.
Here in the Philippines, there’s no lack of last words coming from famous (and infamous) personalities in our history. Without further ado, here are some of the most well-known last words and quotes to have ever been uttered by a Filipino.
Last Words Of: Macario Sakay, leader of the Tagalog Republic.
Sakay uttered his last words before being hanged by the Americans on September 13, 1907. The Americans had branded Sakay as a mere bandit, although contemporary historians have since regarded him as a true patriot who fought for his country.
Last Words Of: Jose Abad Santos, fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.
Jose Abad Santos uttered these last words to his son shortly before his execution by the Japanese on May 2, 1942.
Santos was appointed as Chief Justice by President Manuel Quezon shortly after WWII broke out. He refused Quezon’s offer to evacuate and thus was appointed by the latter as the virtual acting president when he later left the Philippines.
When the Japanese captured him, Santos refused their offers of collaboration, preferring to “die rather than live in shame.”
Did you know?
Jose P. Laurel almost succeeded in saving Santos’ life. Find out why he failed and why he is one of the most misunderstood Filipino badasses of all time.
Last Words Of: Gregorio del Pilar, one of the youngest Filipino generals during the Philippine Revolution.
These were General Gregorio del Pilar’s last words which he wrote in his journal on the day of his death in the famous Battle of Tirad Pass on December 2, 1899. A nephew of the great propagandist Marcelo H. del Pilar, he was known as the “Boy General” due to his young age, being only 24 years old when he died.
Last Words Of: St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint.
Ruiz uttered these words to his Japanese persecutors who asked him to recant his faith. He died in Nagasaki on Sept. 29, 1637 after being subjected to water torture, having his fingernails pierced with bamboo needles, and finally hung upside down for several days.
Last Words Of: Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon Sr., Philippines’ Comedy King.
Short but sweet, these are Dolphy’s last words to Zsa Zsa Padilla, his partner for more than 20 years, after finally succumbing to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on July 10, 2012.
Dolphy was known throughout the Philippines as the “King of Comedy” for his storied acting career spanning decades.
Last Words Of: Leo Echegaray, the first Filipino to be meted the death penalty after its re-insatement in the Philippines in 1993.
These were Echegaray’slast words before he was executed via lethal injection on February 5, 1999 after being convicted of raping his stepdaughter. His case received widespread attention, it being the first time a Filipino had been executed by the state since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1993.
Last Words Of: Antonio Luna, famous Filipino general in the Philippine-American War.
Antonio Luna’s last words were uttered before he finally succumbed to the 30 bullet and stab wounds inflicted on him on June 5, 1899 by soldiers from Kawit whom he had previously dismissed from the service. Although we may never know who masterminded the killing, Luna’s fiery temper earned him many enemies throughout his career.
Ironically, the Americans lamented his death. Frederick Funston , the American general credited with Emilio Aguinaldo’s capture, praised Luna as the “ablest and most aggressive leader of the Filipino Republic.”
Last Word Of: Cardinal Sin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila.
This was Jaime Lachica Cardinal Sin’s last word before he died on June 21, 2005 after suffering from renal complications brought on by diabetes. Considered as one of the Philippines’ most influential archbishops ever, he was instrumental in the ousting of two presidents: Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada. Interestingly, his last word was also one he liked to use frequently in his lifetime.
Last Words Of: Fr. Mariano Gomez, Filipino martyr and member of the “GOMBURZA” trio.
The last words of Fr. Mariano Gomez were uttered before he was executed via garrote by Spanish authorities on February 17, 1782 after being accused of masterminding the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. The oldest of the “GOMBURZA”, Gomez accepted his fate without much scuffle.
Last Words Of: Fr. Jose Burgos, Filipino martyr and member of the “GOMBURZA” trio.
The last of the GOMBURZA to die, Burgos’ execution was more dramatic as he repeatedly proclaimed his innocence. He had to be restrained by a dozen friars of different orders. When he uttered those words, one of them replied “Even Christ was innocent!”
The deaths of the priests, including Fr. Jacinto Zamora, would later profoundly affect many Filipino revolutionaries and reformists in their struggles against Spain.
Last Word Of: Angelo Reyes, former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff.
That was Reyes’ last word to his children moments after he shot himself in the chest on February 8, 2011. Reyes, who had once served as former President Joseph Estrada’s AFP Chief of Staff, had been accused of taking “send-off” money amounting to P50 million upon his retirement from the AFP. He later committed suicide in front of his mother’s grave at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina.
Last Words Of: Dr. Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines.
“Consummatum Est!” (It is finished!) were Rizal’s last words during his execution by firing squad in Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896. His words are said to have been the same ones used by Jesus Christ shortly before he died of crucifixion.
Last Words Of: Jaime G. Jose, Basilio Pineda Jr., and Edgardo P. Aquino, convicted rapists.
They uttered these last words to the prison chaplain Hermenegildo Angeles shortly before they were executed by electric chair on May 17, 1972. The three, including Rogelio Canal who died of a drug overdose a year earlier, had been condemned to die for abducting and raping the young actress Maggie dela Riva on June 26, 1967.
The incident became one of the country’s most sensational rape cases ever, as dela Riva refused to back down in confronting the men who belonged to prominent and powerful families.
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Fadul, J. (2010). Council of the Gods (Rizal’s El Consejo de Los Dioses). 1st ed. p.63.
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Jose Rizal Website, (n.d.). Rizal’s Last Hours. [online] Available at: http://goo.gl/fmaZqK [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].
Kuzmarov, J. (2012). Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century. 1st ed. University of Massachusetts Press, p.27.
Ocampo, A. (2009). Luna’s murder remains unsolved. [online] INQUIRER.net. Available at: http://goo.gl/D0RWLE [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].
Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, (n.d.). The execution of Jose Abad Santos. [online] Available at: http://goo.gl/r0I1OJ [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].
Santiago, L. (1982). The Last Will of Padre Mariano Gomes. Philippine Studies, 30(3), p.399.
Storey, M. and Lichauco, M. (1926). The Conquest of the Philippines by the United States (1898-1925). 1st ed. The Knickerbocker Press, p.109.
Vanzi, S. (2001). GOMBURZA Remembered. [online] Philippine Headline News Online. Available at: http://goo.gl/9PyXFU [Accessed 3 Sep. 2014].