Page 4 of Fray Botod, meaning Big-Bellied Friar, a character sketch written by Graciano Lopez Jaena in 1874 when he was only eighteen years old. In this work, he caricatured the typical friar of the day as abusive, cruel, lazy, indifferent, greedy and lustful. He particularly abhored the abuses and greediness of the friars that his first written work was against this group of people.

- Bravo, bravo, friend! I haven't finished yet the story of the Oriental dancers. I'll continue . . . but what's happening? I hear cries, whistles, clamor, commotion. . . .

- Can it be a fire? No, no, let's go, let's look at it.

They turned around and went to the street where the shouting came.

- Look! . . . various students are hissing at Fr. Botod and his companions.

- Well done; dignity is beginning to raise an outcry and take revenge for so many ignominies. You'll see, you'll see where dignity will land!

- Where? In jail or exile. Poor students! They're from the University of Manila and the Seminary who are home for vacation. They have been carried away by their impressions, their youthful genialities, not knowing what they're doing, they have acted without reflection.

- I applaud them, they're tenacious lads; they must begin sometime; their protest will attract attention.

- It's not yet time, my friend, the time has not yet come; if you don't think so, wait and you'll see.

They could hear these or similar phrases:

"Have you ever seen such effrontery? What cynicism! Scandalously riding in an omnibus through the busiest streets of the town with his pupils and concubines; one must be impudent to do that! Go ahead, you rogue, rascal, knave, shameless go ahead! You fool around!"

Taken aback, Fr. Botod composed himself afterwards and with his twitching hands threatened the students who were reviling him exclaiming:

- You'll pay me for this someday! You'll pay me someday!

Get down the omnibus, coward, pig, indecent; come down, come down and let's fight, friar . . .

The riot continued swelling. Fr. Botod, fearing that they might smash him, drew back toward his convent. That afternoon his pleasure was marred. The big belied friar suffered symptoms of cerebral congestion. The unexpected demonstration of four or five students made him angry.

He did not sleep the whole night. His mouth was frothing.

At four o'clock in the morning he ordered his luxurious carriage to be readied: a carriage with silver decorations and harness pulled by a pair of superb sorrel-colored horses.

As soon as it was ready, he left for the provincial capital. He reported to the provincial governor the demonstration, the scandal of which he was the victim, omitting to report the truth about the incident.

Scarcely had two days passed when a couple of Guardia Civil headed by a lieutenant arrested and handcuffed the six students, leaders of the demonstration, who were accused of sedition and of attempting upon the integrity of the mother country. The grief-stricken families of the unfortunate youths hastened to the convent to plead for mercy with the Father.

Fr. Botod gave a cruel answer to their pleas, saying:

- I've already told you, Capitana Ipay, Capitán Imuy, Cabezang Baruy, Tenientela Munang, Fiscal Orong, Capitana Bibay not to send your sons to Manila to study or to the Seminary, for they learn nothing or finish any course of study; they learn only mischiefs and nonsense. They well deserved this punishment, so that they would learn how to respect the Father, the representative of God on earth. You, Indios, are worthless; you're like carabaos; flogging is what you deserve.

After this very stupid little sermon, full of improper words as well as insults, he sent to blazes the dejected parents of the boys. The students, after the filing of administrative charges against them, without any consideration were banished.

- You see now, my friend, how dignity, point of honor, and justice have gone to jail and then ostracism. In this country, immorality, shamelessness, scandal and injustice are more in vogue than justice.

- You're right, my friend; I give up. I'm going to continue my story about the Oriental dancers some other time. Now I want you to tell me the notorious misdeeds of Fr. Botod so that I can expose them in the press in Europe and America. I want the whole world to know them and execrate them.

- They'll not believe them.

- I want them for my information.

- So be it; here they are:

How the Father gambles and amuses himself:

- Oy, boy!

- Sir.

- Tell Principala Mindang, Cabesang Incoy, Tia Bilay, Minay, Pitay, Capitán Insoy, Capitana Tinang and others to come quickly to the convent. The burro [card game] table is ready. Tell them to come after supper for we are going to put on a good hand at night.

- Yes, sir. These prominent citizens of the town, gathered around the dining table of the convent, began playing burro, concluding with either monte [a gambling card game] or roulette.

Meanwhile the canding-canding in separate and distant rooms played among themselves blind hen, wheel or skipping rope. When Fr. Botod is winning, he is in good humor. He jests with the capitanas and principalas; and at his expense he eats with them suman, bibingka, poto, and tikoy. While playing, he chews kamanchiles, betel nut and other Philippine tidbits; but when he loses, when he is unlucky, he is in bad humor and becomes insupportable: he stamps his foot, gets furious and snorts worse than aragamuffin.

In order not to displease the Reverend Father, his fellow players yielded to him, made themselves lose purposely, in the same way that Ferdinand VII's courtiers prepared the caroms for him. Late at night his fellow friars, parish priests of nearby towns, would join him, bringing along big sacks of money. Monte or roulette begins. How they cheat each other! Botod never spares the tolls.
Fray Botod Part    |  12  |  3  |  4  |  5  |

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