Friday, January 18, 2013

Filipino Martyr: SIXTO C. LOPEZ

Revolutionary Propagandist
A Filipino patriot and propagandist during the revolution against Spain and the war
against America, Sixto Lopez was born in Balayan, Batangas on April 6, 1863. His parents were
Natalio Lopez and Maria Castelo, both natives of Balayan.
Lopez received his primary education from the public school in his hometown in 1875. His
parents then sent him to Manila to study at the Ateneo Municipal, where he completed his
elementary course. He also studied under a private teacher, Dr. Cipriano Gonzales, who had a
school in Manila, in 1880. Later, he enrolled at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, but afterwards
transferred to the University of Santo Tomas, where he obtained his secondary education in 1884.
He returned to his hometown, to help his parents manage their vast farm.
While in Balayan, he found the time to read more thoughtfully the Noli Me Tangere and El
Filibusterismo of Dr. Jose Rizal. He also learned much of Dr. Rizal’s plan to establish a Filipino
colony in Borneo as a corollary movement to liberate the Filipinos from Spanish colonial rule.
When Lopez joined a Masonic Lodge, he received several letters from Rizal. Becoming
suspicious of his activities, the local Spanish authorities ordered a search of his home. The search
yielded two novels of Rizal and several of his letters, which the raiders seized as incriminating
evidence of Lopez’s participation in a plot to overthrow the Spanish colonial regime. He eluded
arrest by taking refuge in the house of Justo Guido, then a bookkeeper of “La Insular” in Manila.
When Rizal was deported to Dapitan on July 7, 1892, Lopez took the S.S. Esmeralda, which sailed
for Hong Kong.
He stayed for eight months in Hong Kong. In March 1893, he left for the United States to
see the World’s Fair in Chicago. He stayed in the US for six months, and then sailed for Paris and,
from there, to London, England.
He was in England when he learned of the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution in 1896,
and began pursuing his role as a propagandist of the Filipino cause in Europe. He issued press
statements, released to various newspapers in London, to tell the world of the truth about the
oppressive sociopolitical conditions in the Philippines under Spanish rule. This role earned for
him the admiration of the English and other foreigners.
When General Emilio Aguinaldo decreed the establishment in Hong Kong of the
revolutionary Committee composed of a central directorate, members, and correspondents, Lopez
was designated as correspondent for England together with Antonio Regidor. He also served as
Felipe Agoncillo’s secretary during their trip to the United States on September 2, 1898 so that
Agoncillo could present his credentials as Philippine Ambassador to America.
When Agoncillo did not get an audience with the US President, Lopez commented: “I
believe that if America had granted our very reasonable request that the troops being sent to
Manila were not intended as a menace to our government or our people – and it was as much
America’s duty as ours to endeavor to maintain peace – the conflict could not have occurred.”
The conflict he referred to was the Philippine-American War, which was a severe blow to the newly
installed Philippine Independence.
To see for himself the conditions of his fellow Filipinos at the time, he returned to Manila
in 1903. Because of his refusal to take the oath of allegiance to the United States, however, the
American colonial administration deported him barely two months after he arrived. Like General
Artemio Ricarte, he never took the oath of allegiance.
In 1915, Lopez was permitted to return to the Philippines, but as an alien. He was already
in his early fifties then. He lived in Saigon as a self-exile. It said that Lopez came home for good
after the Philippines had gained its independence and became a republic in 1946.

Alvarez, Santiago. The Katipunan and the Revolution: Memoirs of a General. Quezon City
:Ateneo de Manila University Press,1992.
Galang, Zoilo. Encyclopedia of the Philippines Volume 8. Manila: P. Vera Sons, 1936.
Kalaw, Teodoro. Philippine Masonry. Manila :McCullough Printing Co.,1956.

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