Some years ago a writer called Pio Andrade proposed that the well-known photograph of Rizal’s execution was a fraud staged by the Americans or possibly a still from a long-lost 1912 film. He identified what he claimed were anomalies, one of which he claims surprised a professional photographer at MOWELFUND, the Philippines movieworkers welfare fund. He reproduced a number of images to support his claim but there was one image he had never seen:
An actual print of the Rizal execution photograph. A photograph which had been on display in Manila before he came up with his theory. A photograph absolutely essential for his to consider for his thesis. In fact the only photograph upon which he should have based his claim.
After the initial publication of his claim in the Philippine Inquirer newspaper, Andrade chose not to address the problems with his claims and did not respond to invitations to do so, including personal ones from me. Mr. Andrade is now dead but his legacy lingers on in the conspiracy theory end of Philippine historiography, with frequent outings on discussion fora and websites.
As we shall see, Mr. Andrade’s claims are the result of inadequate research with a heavy dose of confirmation bias. In other words, a good example of how not to research history. Mr. Andrade made statements and conclusions that were beyond his competency to make.
To be continued.