Gomez, at 73, was the oldest of the three priests. He blessed people on the way and is quoted to have said, “Not a single leaf can move except at the will of the Divine Creator. Since it is His will that I die at this place, may His will be done.”
Zamora ascended the platform without a word. This was not courage or calm in the face of death; he had suffered a nervous breakdown two days earlier. It could be said that he was already dead even before the garrote did him in.
Burgos was executed last and, having witnessed three deaths ahead, his was the most difficult death. After he sat on the garrote, he stood up and shouted, “What crime have I committed to die in this manner? Is there no justice on earth?”
Twelve friars then came and pushed him back into the seat. But after a bit of a struggle, he managed to stand up again and shouted, “But I am innocent. I have not committed any crime.”
One of the friars hissed, “Even Jesus Christ was without sin.”
That did the trick. Burgos then sat and accepted the inevitable.
Before the hood was placed on Burgos’ head, the executioner knelt before him and asked his forgiveness. Burgos blessed him saying, “I forgive you, my son. Perform your duty.”
So moved was the crowd that they too knelt on the ground and crossed themselves. Then when all were executed, a tension in the air caused some Spaniards to worry about a rebellion. They ran toward Intramuros for safety and a minor stampede occurred, leaving many injured. The commotion stopped when the governor-general emerged from Intramuros with trumpet fanfare, followed by soldiers who had been put on alert that morning expecting a rebellion.