THE ORDER OF THE KNIGHTS OF RIZAL
The history of the Knights of Rizal goes back to December 30, 1911 when Colonel Antonio C. Torres organized a group of 9 men from different walks of life for the purpose of commemorating in a fitting manner the execution and martyrdom of our foremost national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Thereafter, year after year, the same group would gather to celebrate the birth and commemorate the death of Dr. Jose Rizal. During Rizal Day celebrations, this group would be seen conspicuously on horseback reminiscent of the Knights of old known for their chivalry and exemplary life.
To provide a continuity ensure and to encourage others to join them, these admirer of Dr. Rizal on November 16, 1916, organized a private non-stock corporation and named it the “Orden de Caballeros de Rizal.’ The incorporators of the corporation were: Antonio C. Torres, Juan Flameño, Martin P. de Veyra, Jose A. del Barrio and Jose S. Calvez.
Colonel Antonio C. Torres, Chief of Police of Manila, was the first Supreme Commander. The following have since then been Supreme Commanders of the Order: Martin P. de Veyra, Manuel Lim., Juan F. Nakpil, Herminio Velarde, Teodoro Evangelista, Hermigildo B. Reyes, Santiago F. dela Crusz, Jesus E. Perpiñan, Vitalino Bernardino, Jose Ma. Paredes, Claudio Teehankee, Jose S. Laurel III, Justo P. Torres, Jr., Simeon C. Medalla, Condrado M. Vasquez, Sr., Filemon H. Mendoza, Angel Rizal Alvarez, Elias B. Lopez, Lamberto C. Nanquil, Demetrio L. Hilbero, Rogelio M. Quiambao, Vicente P. Palmon, Carmelo T. Gempesaw, Jesus B. David, Jose D. Lina, Jr., Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Sir Virgilio R. Esguerra, Sir Pablo S. Trillana III, Sir Reghis M. Romero II, KGCR and incumbent Sir Jeremias “Jerry” C. Singson.
In 1951, the Supreme Council of the Order created a Committee on Legislation for the purpose of studying the feasibility of filing a bill in the Congress of the Philippines to be enacted into law to enable the Order to secure a legislative charter. Justice Roman Ozeata was the Chairman of the Committee with Sirs Carlos Hilado and Pedro Sabido were members. The bill seeking to give the Order of the Knights of Rizal a legislative charter was docketed as Senate Bill No. 251, with then Senators Enrique Magalona, Lorenzo Sumulong, Esteban Abada, Emiliano Tria Tirona, Camilo Osias, Geronima Pecson, Jose Avelino and Ramon Torres as sponsors. In the lower house, Congressman Manuel Zosa of Cebu was the principal sponsor of the measure. The explanatory note of the Bill read as follows:
“The purpose of the attached bill is to accord to the civic and patriotic organization known as “Orden de Caballeros de Rizal” (Order of the Knights of Rizal) the same kind of official recognition and encouragement as that accorded to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines by Commonwealth Act No. 111, by granting to its legislative Charter and investing it with the necessary powers to enable it more fully and more effectively to accomplish the laudable purposes for which it was organized.”
“The bill enacted into law will also serve as an historical monument to Rizal; it will constitute an official recognition by the Republic of the Philippines of the inestimable value to the nation of his teachings and examples and of the wisdom and necessity of inculcating them in the minds and hearts of our people so they may strive to follow and practice them. The authors and proponents of this bill believe that if the purpose thereof are faithfully and effectively carried out, social discipline, civic virtues, and love of justice will be fostered, promoted, and enhanced in this country, and that the Knights of Rizal as chartered entity is the most convenient instrumentally by which this desirable ends can be attained: Let Rizal’s life and martyrdom influence and guide the destiny of the nation. Let this and future generations live the Rizal way.”
Recommended for approval on May 15, 1951, the measured was signed into law by the President of the Philippines on June 14, 1951, becoming Republic Act 646.
KR CHARTER EXEMPT FROM RESTRICTIVE PROVISIONS OF CORPORATE LAW
It is patent from the wordings of Act 646 that the purpose in lifting the Knights of Rizal from its staus of a purely private corporation to a “public corporation,” is to broaden its powers and to exempt it from the restrictive provisions of the corporation law (now corporation code) to enable it to effectively carry out the objectives for which it was established. While it is true that the power granted to it “to make and adopt by-laws, rule and regulations” is qualified in the sense that such adopted by-laws rules and regulations should not be inconsistent with the laws of the Philippines, the qualification should be construed as empowering the corporation to adopt by-laws which are not illicit or contrary to morals, good customs, public order or public policy (SEC. Opinion, January 13, 1969).
KNIGHTS OF RIZAL HAS CORPORATE POWERS
As a legal entity the Knights of Rizal can exercise corporate powers. Thus, it shall have perpetual succession, with power to sue and to be sued, to hold such real and personal property as shall be necessary for corporate purposes; to solicit and receive public contributions; to receive real and personal property by gift, device, or bequest; to adopt a seal ant to alter the same at pleasure; to have offices and conduct its business and affairs in the City of Manila and elsewhere; to make and adopt by-laws, rules, and regulations not inconsistent with the laws of the Philippines, and generally to do all such acts and things (including the establishment of regulations for election of associates and successors) as may be necessary to carry7 into effect the provisions of Republic No. 646 and to promote the purposes of said corporation. (Sec. 3, R.A. 646).
THE KNIGHTS OF RIZAL: AN ORGANIZATION
The Order of the Knights of Rizal is a cultural, non-sectarian, non-partisan, non racial, civic and patriotic organization chartered under Republic Act 646, as an instrumentality by which the teachings of our foremost national hero Dr. Rizal may be propagated among the Filipino people, and others who may believe in his teachings to the end that they emulate and follow his example.
Honorary Knighthood was also bestowed upon national leaders and statemens who became members were President Manuel L. Quezon, Emilio Aguinal, Jose P. Laurel, Carlos P. Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand E. Marcos,. Fidel V. Ramos, and Joseph Ejercito Estrada. Justice Justo P. Torres, Jr. and Chief Justice Hialrio G. Davide Jr.
Vice President Ferdinado Lopez, Salvador H. LAUREL; Chif Justice Roberto Concepcion, Claudio Teehanke, Marcelo B. Fernan, Andres R. Narvasa, and Hilario Davide, Jr., Justices Calixto O. Zaldivar, COndrado V. Sanchez, Roman Ozaeta, JBL Reyes, Quintin Paredes, Jose Ma. Paredes, Condrado M. Vasquez, Justo P. Torres, Jr., Reynato S. Puno, Senators Claro M. Recto, Jose W. Diokno, Gil J. Puyat, Jose J. Roy, Camilo Osias, Lorenzo M. Tañada, Lorenzo Sumulong, Benigno Aquino, Jr., Edgardo J. Angara, Ernesto M. Maceda, Juan Ponce Enrile, Blas Ople, Heherson T. Alvarez,; high government officials and prominent personalities like Salvador Araneta, Jose D. Ingles, Jorge Bocobo, Narciso Ramos, Carlos P. Romulo, Jorge B. Vargas, Jose Y. Yulo, Leoncio Lopez-Rizal, Sixto Y. Orosa, Jose V. de Venecia, Ruben D. Torres, Alfredo S. Lim, Hernado Perez, Renato S. de Villa, Jose D. Lina, Jr., Alfonso T. Yuchengco, Cesar E.A. Virata, Rufino Cardinal J. Santos, Jaime Cardinal L. Sin and Don Emilio T. Yap; educators Leoncio B. MOnzon, Condrado Benitez, Francisco T. Dalupan, and Teodoro Evangelista, among others. International personalities who became members of Order were King Juan Carlos I of Spain, US Secretary of State, Henry Albert Kissinger, Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia, Senator Paul Harty of Belgium, Sir Austin Coates of Vienna, Austria, Senator John Ensign of Las Vegas, USA and Dr. Daisaku Ikeda of Japan, among others. Likewise, most of the members of the diplomatic corps in the Philippines particularly those from Latin America joined the Order, meanwhile on assignment in this country, and continued the propagation of the ideals and teachings of Rizal in their own countries.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was recipient of the Teodora Alonzo Award, highest award given to women. Mrs. Aquino, the mother of the late Senator Benigno Aquino and his wife President Corazon C. Aquino were also confer the Doña Teodora Alonzo Award.
The Order has presently in its roll around 10,000.00 members listed in 131 active chapters in the Philippines and 61 active chapters in the USA, Europe, Canada, Austria, Japan, Middle East and Southeast Asia.