The youngest among the three Filipino Martyr Priests popularly known as the GOMBURZA (Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora), Father Jose Burgos was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur on February 9, 1837. After finishing his elementary grades in Vigan in 1849, he went to Manila and enrolled at the San Juan de Letran College where he excelled in all subjects. At the age of 17, he finished Bachiller en Artes with honors. He studied priesthood at the University of Santo Tomas and said his first mass at the Parroquia del Sagrario de Intramuros.
For his courageous defense of the cause of Filipino priesthood, Father Burgos earned for himself the name “Champion of the Cause of the Filipino Clergy” but incurred the hatred of the Spanish friars. Thus, when the Cavite mutiny broke out in 1872, the Spanish authorities arrested him together with Father Gomes and Father Zamora, charging them of having incited the revolution. After a mock trial at Fort Santiago on February 15, 1872, they were sentenced to die by means of the garrote, a Spanish strangulation by an iron collar tightened by a screw. On February 17, 1872, they were executed in Bagumbayan, now the Luneta.
The martyr priests’ death was a seminal event in the life of Dr.Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, who inspired him to write his second novel as a nationalistic movement.
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