El filibusterismo (lit. Spanish for "filibustering"; The Subversive or Subversion, as in the Locsín English translation, are also possible translations), also known by its English alternative title The Reign of Greed, is the second novel written by Philippine national hero José Rizal. It is the sequel to Noli me tangere and, like the first book was written in Spanish. It was first published in 1891 in Ghent.
The novel's dark theme departs dramatically from the previous novel's hopeful and romantic atmosphere, signifying the character Ibarra's resort to solving his country's issues through violent means, after his previous attempt at reforming the country's system have made no effect and seemed impossible with the attitudes of the Spaniards towards the Filipinos. The novel, along with its predecessor, was banned in some parts of the Philippines as a result of their portrayals of the Spanish government's abuse and corruption. These novels along with Rizal's involvement in organizations that aim to address and reform the Spanish system and its issues led to Rizal's exile to Dapitan and eventual execution. Both the novel and its predecessor, along with Rizal's last poem, are now considered Rizal's literary masterpieces.
Both of Rizal's novels had a profound effect on Philippine society in terms of views about national identity, the Catholic faith and its influence on Filipino's choice, and the government's issues of corruption, abuse, and discrimination, and on a larger scale, the issues related to the effect of colonization on people's lives and the cause for independence. These novels later on indirectly became the inspiration to start the Philippine Revolution.
Throughout the Philippines, the reading of both the novel and its predecessor is now mandatory for high school students throughout the archipelago, although it is now read using English, Filipino, and the Philippines' regional languages.
Thirteen years after the events of Noli me tangere, Crisostomo Ibarra returns to the Philippines under the guise of Simoun, a wealthy bearded jewelry tycoon sporting blue-tinted glasses, and a confidant of the Captain-General. Abandoning his idealism, he becomes a cynical saboteur and agitator, seeking revenge against the Spanish Philippine system responsible for his misfortunes by plotting a revolution. Simoun insinuates himself into Manilahigh society and influences every decision of the Captain-General to mismanage the country’s affairs so that a revolution will break out. He cynically sides with the upper classes, encouraging them to commit abuses against the masses to encourage the latter to revolt against the oppressive Spanish colonial regime. This time, he does not attempt to fight the authorities through legal and peaceful means, but through violent revolution using the masses. His two reasons for instigating a revolution are at first, to rescue María Clara from the convent and second, to get rid of the ills and evils of Philippine society.
A now grown-up Basilio visits the grave of his deranged mother, Sisa, in a forested land owned by the Ibarra family one evening. Near the gravesite, Simoun digs for his buried treasures. His identity is discovered by Basilio when the two happen to meet up just as the latter leaves Sisa's grave to go home. Simoun spares Basilio's life and tells his story of his past, then asks him to join in his planned revolution against the government, egging him on by bringing up the tragic misfortunes of the latter's family. Basilio declines the offer as he still hopes that the country’s condition will improve.
Basilio, at this point, is a graduating medical student at the Ateneo Municipal. After the death of his mother, Sisa, and the disappearance of his younger brother, Crispín, Basilio heeded the advice of the dying boatman, Elías, and traveled to Manila to study. Basilio was adopted by Capitan Tiago after María Clara entered the convent. With the help of the Ibarra's riches and Capitan Tiago, Basilio was able to go to Colegio de San Juan de Letrán where, at first, he is frowned upon by his peers and teachers because of his skin color and his shabby appearance but is able to win their favor after winning a fencing tournament. Capitan Tiago’s confessor, Father Irene is making Captain Tiago’s health worse by giving him opium even as Basilio tries hard to prevent Capitan Tiago from smoking it. He and other students want to establish a Spanish language academy so that they can learn to speak and write Spanish despite the opposition from the Dominican friars of the Universidad de Santo Tomás. With the help of a reluctant Father Irene as their mediator and Don Custodio’s decision, the academy is established, but this turns bad as they will serve, not as the teachers but as caretakers of the school. Dejected and defeated, they hold a mock celebration at a pancitería while a spy for the friars witnesses the proceedings. Basilio, however, did not show up during the event.
Simoun, for his part, keeps in close contact with the bandit group of Kabesang Tales, a former cabeza de barangay who suffered misfortunes at the hands of the friars. Once a farmer owning a prosperous sugarcane plantation, Tales was forced to give everything he had owned to the greedy, unscrupulous Spanish friars and the Church. His son, Tano, who became a Civil Guard, was captured by bandits; his daughter Julî had to work as a maid under Hermana Penchang to get enough ransom money for Tano's freedom; and his father, Tandang Selo, became mute. Before joining the bandits, Tales took Simoun’s revolver while Simoun was staying at his house for the night. As payment, Tales leaves a locket that once belonged to María Clara. To further strengthen the revolution, Simoun has Quiroga, a Chinese businessman hoping for a consul position in the Philippines, smuggle weaponry to the country, using the latter’s bazaar as a front. Simoun plans to attack during a stage play with all of his enemies in attendance. On the afternoon of the day the attack is supposed to happen, Basilio informs Simoun of María Clara's death in the convent during the morning hours of the day. A heartbroken Simoun abruptly aborts his plan in order to mourn her death.
A few years after the mock celebration by the students, the people are agitated when disturbing posters are found displayed around the city. The students present at the[which?]pancitería (that is to say, a local noodle shop) are arrested on charges of agitation and disturbing the peace. Basilio, although not present at the mock celebration, is also arrested. Capitan Tiago dies after learning of the incident. But before he dies he signs a will; unknown to him, it was forged by Father Irene. Tiago's will originally stated that Basilio should inherit all his property; but due to this forgery his property is given in parts, one to Santa Clara, one for the archbishop, one for the Pope, and one for the religious orders, leaving nothing for Basilio to inherit. Basilio is left in prison as the other students are released. A high official tries to intervene for the release of Basilio but the Captain-General, bearing grudges against the high official, coerces him to tender his resignation. Julî, Basilio’s sweetheart and the daughter of Kabesang Tales, tries to ask Father Camorra's help upon the advice of Hermana Bali.[who?] The two travel to the convent, but during a rendezvous, Camorra tries to rape Julî, due to his long-hidden desires for young women. Hermana Bali tries to intervene to stop Camorra's immoral act but is outmatched by the friar. Julî, finding herself trapped and being cornered by the friar, jumps from the convent's window to her death. Simoun arranges for Basilio's release and manages to get him out of confinement.
After Basilio is released, Simoun tells him about Julî's ordeal with Camorra and her suicide. Basilio decides to join Simoun’s revolution. Simoun then tells Basilio his plan at the wedding of Paulita Gómez and Juanito Pelaez, Basilio’s hunch-backed classmate. He plans to conceal an explosive charge of nitroglycerin inside a pomegranate-styled kerosene lamp that Simoun will give to the newlyweds as a gift during the wedding reception. The reception is to take place at the former home of the late Capitan Tiago, which is now filled with explosives planted by Simoun. According to Simoun, the lamp will stay lighted for only twenty minutes before it flickers; if someone attempts to turn the wick, it will explode and kill everyone—important members of civil society and the Church hierarchy—inside the house. Basilio has a change of heart and attempts to warn Isagani, his friend and the former sweetheart of Paulita. Simoun leaves the reception early as planned and leaves a note behind:
Initially thinking that it is simply a bad joke, Father Salví recognizes the handwriting and confirms that it is indeed Ibarra’s. As people begin to panic, the lamp flickers. Father Irene tries to turn the wick up when Isagani, due to his undying love for Paulita, bursts in the room and throws the lamp into the river, sabotaging Simoun's plans. He escapes by diving into the river as guards chase after him. He later regrets his impulsive action: The explosion and revolution could have fulfilled his ideals for Filipino society; he had contradicted his own belief that he loved his nation more than he loved Paulita.
Simoun, now unmasked as the perpetrator of the attempted arson and failed revolution, becomes a fugitive. Wounded and exhausted after being shot by the pursuing Guardia Civil, he seeks shelter at the home of Father Florentino, Isagani’s uncle, and comes under the care of doctor Tiburcio de Espadaña, Doña Victorina's husband, who was also hiding at the house. Simoun takes poison in order not to be captured alive. Before he dies, he reveals his real identity to Florentino while they exchange thoughts about the failure of his revolution and why God forsook him, when all he wanted was to avenge the people important to him that were wronged, such as Elias, Maria Clara, and his father Don Rafael. Florentino opines that God did not forsake him and that his plans were not for the greater good but for personal gain. Simoun, finally accepting Florentino’s explanation, squeezes his hand and dies. Florentino then takes Simoun’s remaining jewels and throws them into the Pacific Ocean with the corals hoping that they would not be used by the greedy, and that when the time came they would be used for the greater good.
Below are some of the major and minor characters in the novel.
- Simoun - Crisostomo Ibarra in disguise, left for dead at the end of Noli me tangere. Ibarra has resurfaced as the wealthy jeweler, Simoun, sporting a beard, blue-tinted glasses, and a revolver. Fueled by his mistreatment at the hands of the Spaniards and his fury at Maria Clara's fate, Simoun secretly plans a revolution to seek revenge against those who wronged him.
- Basilio - Son of Sisa and another character from Noli Me Tangere. After his mother's death, he became a vagabond until Captain Tiago took him in out of pity and hired him as a houseboy in exchange for sending him to school. In the events of the book, he is a graduating medical student who discovered Simoun's true identity and befriended him. His girlfriend is Juli.
- Isagani - Basilio's friend and one of the students who planned to set up a new school. He is very idealistic and hopes for a better future for the Philippines. His girlfriend was the rich and beautiful Paulita Gomez, but they broke up once he was arrested. Despite this, his love for her still endured. He sabotaged Simoun's plans by removing the lamp that contained explosives and threw it in the waters.
- Kabesang Tales - Cabeza Telesforo Juan de Dios, a former cabeza de barangay (barangay head) of Sagpang, a barangay in San Diego's neighboring town Tiani, who resurfaced as the feared Luzón bandit Matanglawin. He is the son of Tandang Selo, and father of Juli and Tano.
- Don Custodio - Custodio de Salazar y Sánchez de Monteredondo, a famous "journalist" who was asked by the students about his decision for the Academia de Castellano. In reality, he is quite an ordinary fellow who married a rich woman in order to be a member of Manila's high society.
- Paulita Gómez - The girlfriend of Isagani and the niece of Doña Victorina, the old Indio who passes herself off as a Peninsular, who is the wife of the quack doctor Tiburcio de Espadaña. In the end, she and Juanito Peláez are wed, and she dumps Isagani, believing that she will have no future if she marries him.
- Macaraig - One of Isagani's classmates at the University of Santo Tomas. He is a rich student and serves as the leader of the students yearning to build the Academia de Castellano.
- Father Florentino - Isagani's godfather, and a secular priest; was engaged to be married, but chose to be a priest after being pressured by his mother, the story hinting at the ambivalence of his decision as he chooses an assignment to a remote place, living in solitude near the sea. Florentino also harbors great hatred for the corrupt Spanish friars. He offered shelter to Don Tiburcio de Espandaña when the latter was hiding from his wife, Donya Victorina.
- Huli - Juliana de Dios, the girlfriend of Basilio, and the youngest daughter of Kabesang Tales. To claim her father from the bandits, she had to work as a maid under the supervision of Hermana Penchang. Eventually, she was freed but committed suicide after Father Camorra attempted to rape her.
- Juanito Pelaez - A favorite student of the professors. They belong to the noble Spanish ancestry. After failing in his grades, he became Paulita's new boyfriend and they eventually wed.
- Doña Matutinay - Victorina delos Reyes de Espadaña, known in Noli Me Tangere as Tiburcio de Espadaña's cruel wife. She is the aunt of Paulita Gomez, and favors Juanito Pelaez over Isagani. She is searching for her husband, who has left her and is in hiding. Although of Indio heritage, she considers herself as one of the Peninsular.
- Father Camorra - The lustful parish priest of Tiani, San Diego's adjacent town who has longtime desires for young women. He nearly raped Juli causing the latter to commit suicide.
- Ben-Zayb - The pseudonym of Abraham Ibañez, a journalist who believes he is the "only" one thinking in the Philippines. Ben-Zayb is an anagram of Ybanez, an alternate spelling of his name.
- Placido Penitente - A student of the University of Santo Tomas who was very intelligent and wise but did not want, if not only by his mother's plea, to pursue his studies. He also controls his temper against Padre Millon, his physics teacher. During his High School days, he was an honor student hailing from Batangas.
- Hermana Penchang - Sagpang's rich pusakal (gambler). She offers Juli to be her maid so the latter can obtain money to free Kabesang Tales. Disbelieving of Juli and her close friends, she considers herself as an ally of the friars.
- Tiburcio de Espadaña - Don Tiburcio is Victorina de Espadaña's lame husband. He is currently in hiding at Father Florentino's.
- Father Írene - Captain Tiago's spiritual adviser. Although reluctant, he helped the students to establish the Academia de Castellano after being convinced by giving him a chestnut. The only witness to Captain Tiago's death, he forged the last will and testament of the latter so Basilio will obtain nothing from the inheritance.
- Quiroga - A Chinese businessman who dreamed of being a consul for his country in the Philippines. He hid Simoun's weapons inside his house.
- Don Timoteo Pelaez - Juanito's father. He is a rich businessmen and arranges a wedding for his son and Paulita. He and Simoun became business partners.
- Tandang Selo - Father of Kabesang Tales and grandfather of Tano and Juli. He raised the sick and young Basilio after he left their house in Noli me tangere. He died in an encounter on the mountains with his son Tales, when he was killed by a battalion that included his own grandson, Tano.
- Father Fernández - The priest-friend of Isagani. He promised to Isagani that he and the other priests will give in to the students' demands.
- Sandoval - The vice-leader of Macaraig's gang. A Spanish classmate of Isagani, he coerces his classmates to lead alongside him the opening of the Spanish language academy.
- Hermana Báli - Another wealthy gambler in Tiani. She became Juli's mother-figure and counselor; helped to release Kabesang Tales from the hands of bandits.
- Father Millon - A Dominican friar who serves as the Physics professor of the University of Santo Tomas. He always becomes vindictive with Placido and always taunts him during class. Millon is based on/inspired by an ill-mannered Dominican friar who was Rizal's anatomy professor in Santo Tomas.
- Tadeo - Macaraig's classmate. He, along with the other three members of their gang, supposedly posted the posters that "thanked" Don Custodio and Father Irene for the opening of the Academia de Castellano.
- Leeds - An American who holds stage plays starring severed heads; he is good friends with Simoun.
- Tano - Kabesang Tales's elder son after his older sister, Lucia died in childhood. He took up the pseudonym "Carolina" after returning from exile in the Caroline Islands, and became a civil guard. He was among the battalion killed his grandfather, Selo, who was part of a group of an attacking rebels.
- Pepay - Don Custodio's supposed "girlfriend". A dancer, she is always agitated of her "boyfriend"'s plans. She seems to be a close friend of Macaraig.
- Gobernador General - The highest-ranking official in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period, this unnamed character pretends that what he is doing is for the good of the Indios, the local citizens of the country, but in reality, he prioritizes the needs of his fellow Spaniards living in the country.
- Father Hernando de la Sibyla - A Dominican friar introduced in Noli Me Tangere, now the vice-rector of the University of Santo Tomas.
- Pecson - classmate who had no idea on the happenings occurring around him. He suggested that they held the mock celebration at the pancitería.
- Father Bernardo Salvi- Former parish priest of San Diego in Noli Me Tangere, now the director and chaplain of the Santa Clara convent.
- Captain Tiago - Santiago delos Santos, Captain Tiago is Maria Clara's stepfather and the foster-father to Basilio. His health disintegrates gradually because of his frequent smoking of opium, which Father Irene unscrupulously encourages despite Basilio's attempts to wean his guardian off the addiction . Eventually, he died because Father Irene scared him about the revolt of the Filipinos.
- Book notes/Summary in English (The Reign of Greed)
- 1991: "El Filibusterismo" — a Filipino (Tagalog) musical adaptation of the novel staged by theater company Tanghalang Pilipino with libretto (book and lyrics) by Paul Dumol and Jovy Miroy and music by Ryan Cayabyab. It premiered in 1991 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and was directed by Nonon Padilla.
Malungkot na patungo sa Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas si Placido Penitente sapagkat ibig na niyang tumigil ng pag-aaral tulad ng nasabi na niya sa 2 sulat niya sa ina na nagagalit sa kaniya. Pinakiusapan nga lamang siya ng ina na kahit batsilyer sa artes ay matapos niya.Nasa ikaapat na taon na siya.
Ang paghahangad ni Placido na magtigil ng pag-aaral ay palaisipan sa kanyang mga kababayang taga Tanawan. Siya ang pinakamatalino sa bantog na paaralan ni Padre Valerio roon. Hindi naman siya sugarol, walang kasintahang magyayayang pakasal, at laban sa mga aral ng Tandang Basyong Makunat, masalapi.
Nagulat pa si Placido nang makapasok na siya sa Magallanes (dating Sto.Domingo) at siya’y tapikin ni Juanito Palaez sa balikat. Si Palaez ay mapaghangin at paborito ng mga guro. Anak ng mestisong Kastila. Mayaman. May pagkakuba.
Kinumusta ni Juanito ang bakasyon ni Placido. Pagkatapos ay ibinalita ang pagbabakasyon niya sa Tiyani, kasama si Padre Camorra. Nangharana raw sila ng magagandang babae. Wala raw bahay na hindi nila napanhik. At may ibinulong kay Placido na ikinamangha tila ng huli. Tanga raw si Basilio sa pagkakaroon ng katipang tulad ni Huli. Pero susuko rin daw si Huli kay Padre Camorra.
Nagtanong ng leksyon si Palaez kay Penitente sapagkat noon lamang papasok ang kuba. Pulos walang pasok noong nakaraang mga araw. May kaarawan ng guro, may pista ng santo, mayroong umambon.
Ang leksyon daw nila ay ukol sa mga salamin. Niyaya ni Pelaez si Penitente na maglakwatsa. Tumutol ang huli. Nagpatuloy sila ng paglalakad. May naalala si Pelaez, nanghingi ng abuloy para sa monumento ng isang paring Dominiko. Nagbigay si Placido para magtigil na si Pelaez at alam din ng Batangueno na nakatutulong ang gayong mga abuloy sa pagpasa ng estudyante. Malapit na sila sa Unibersidad. Naroon si Isagani na nakikipagtalo ukol sa aralin. Ang ibang estudyante ay naniningin ng magagandang dalagang nagsisimba. Namutla at namula sa lugod si Isagani nang magkulusan ang mga mag-aaral at magtinginan sa isang bagong dating na victoria o karuwahe. Nakita niya si Paulita Gomez, ang kanyang katipan, na kasama si Donya Victorina. Si Donya Victorina ay ngumiti kay Juanito Pelaez. Si Tadeo na kaya lamang pumasok sa paaralan ay upang alamin kung may pasok at kung mayroon ay aalis at magdadahilang maysakit ngunit nakapapasa, sa anong himala ay napasunod kay Paulita sa simbahan.
Nagpasukan na sa paaralan ang mga estudyante. Ngunit may tumawag kay Placido. Pinalagda si Placido sa kasulatang tutol sa balak na paaralan ni Macaraig. Hindi lumagda si Placido. Walang panahong basahin ang kasulatan. Nalaala niya ang isang amain na nawalan ng mga pag-aari nang lumagda sa isang kasulatang di binasa. Ngunit sa matagal na pagpipilitan ay nahuli sa klase si Placido Penitente. Pumasok parin si Placido. Hindi na patiyad. Pinatunog pa ang takong ng sapatos. Inakala niyang ang pagkakahuli niya ay pagkakataon na upang siya’y mapuna at makilala ng kanyang guro. Sila’y may mahigit na 150 sa klase. At siya nga’y napuna ng guro na lihim na nagbanta.1