Below are the last paragraphs in the Supreme Court’s April 18, 2017 Decision in the case of Knights of Rizal vs. DMCI Homes, Ins., DMCI Project Developers, Ins., City of Manila, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
Penned by Justice Antonio Carpio, the Decision briefly described the last hours of Rizal and his final wishes before he died.
No less than the Highest Court of the land declared that Rizal did not get his dying wishes.
Dubbed as “A Final Word” in its Decision, the Court said:
“It had been Rizal’s wish to die facing the rising sun. In his Mi Ultimo Adios, the poem he left for his family the night before he was executed, Rizal wrote:
Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el dia tras lobrego capuz
[Ako’y mamamatay, ngayong namamalas
na sa Silanganan ay namamanaag
yaong maligayang araw na sisikat
sa likod ng luksang nagtabing na ulap.]
[I die just when I see the dawn break,
Through the gloom of night, to herald the day]
Yet at the point of his execution, he was made to stand facing West towards Manila Bay, with his back to the firing squad, like the traitor the colonial government wished to portray him. He asked to face his executioners, facing the East where the sun would be rising since it was early morning, but the Spanish captain did not allow it. As he was shot and a single bullet struck his frail body, Rizal forced himself, with his last remaining strength, to turn around to face the East and thus he fell on his back with] his face to the sky and the rising sun. Then, the Spanish captain approached Rizal and finished him off with one pistol shot to his head.
Before his death, Rizal wrote a letter to his family. He asked for a simple tomb, marked with a cross and a stone with only his name and the date of his birth and death; no anniversary celebrations; and interment at Paang Bundok (now, the Manila North Cemetery). Rizal never wanted his grave to be a burden to future generations.
The letter never made it to his family and his wishes were not carried out. The letter was discovered many years later, in 1953. By then, his remains had been entombed at the Rizal Monument, countless anniversaries had been . celebrated, with memorials and monuments built throughout the world.
Rizal’s wish was unmistakable: to be buried without pomp or pageantry; to the point of reaching oblivion or obscurity in the future. For Rizal’s life was never about fame or vainglory, but for the country he loved dearly and for which he gave up his life.
The Rizal Monument is expressly against Rizal’s own wishes. That Rizal’s statue now stands facing West towards Manila Bay, with Rizal’s back to the East, adds salt to the wound. If we continue the present orientation of Rizal’s statue, with Rizal facing West, we would be like the Spanish captain who refused Rizal’s request to die facing the rising sun in the East. On the other hand, if Rizal’ s statue is made to face East, as Rizal had desired when he was about to be shot, the background – the blue sky above Manila Bay – would forever be clear of obstruction, and we would be faithful to Rizal’s dying wish.”