Veritable anguish


Few scholars are aware of letters of petition for the return of Spanish priests after the Spanish colonial period. Written in Spanish, one such petition letter emanating from Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, is dated 16 November 1899.

The letter is signed by the following residents of Dumaguete: Juan Teves – Genaro Periquet – Rufino Osoa – Juan Pucol – Alejandro Catada – Martin Masias – Timoteo Regalado – Catalino Pinili – Alfonso Sendiong – Manuel Teves – Blas Amistad – Emilio Diaz, Jose V. Teves – Bernabe Amor – Mariano Amor – at Cornelio Moncopa’s request – at Pedro Bucad’s request – Emilio Diaz – Bernabe Ines – Marcos Tamad – Pastor Valencia – Vicente Amor – Pedro Orbeta – Elpidio Amor – Juan Lasola – Doroteo Teves – Feliciano Noble – Benigno Teves – Magno Generoso – Juliano Sa(la)tan – Ramon Pastor.

This writer is in possession of a copy of such a letter. Here’s the petition as translated by Fr. Jose Arcilla, SJ in a book he edited, entitled Unknown Aspects of the Philippine Revolution (2006):

Very Reverend Father Superior:

The undersigned, residents of the town of Dumaguete, capital of the island province of Negros Oriental, in their own and in the name of the residents of the same, with deep respect, manifest before Your Reverence:

That, with the reestablishment of order and normalization of the situation disturbed by the recent past events, the causes that impelled the departure of the friars from their respective parish now having disappeared, in my judgment, and considering, Very Reverend Father, the veritable anguish of these devout towns finding themselves bereft of spiritual help, they therefore respectfully come before Your Reverence today asking that you be good enough to provide for this town, in need of spiritual help, Jesuit priests who will see to satisfy their spiritual needs. In this same spirit, the petitioners address themselves to His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bishop of Jaro, to whose diocese these parishes belong, at the same time submitting a petition to the Supreme Authority of the Archipelago that he might restrain his subjects lest they raise an obstacle, that they instead favor as far as it is on their part the coming of the priests to take charge of these parishes, since this decision would be very beneficial to the towns and redound to the good and progress of their inhabitants.

Be kind enough, then, Your Reverence, to listen to the supplication of the petitioners, in the measure that they hope from the greatness of soul and charitable sentiment of Your Reverence.

God grant you length of years. Prudencio Mariño, Local President

Dumaguete, 16 November 1899