In the wake of Ibarra’s violent outburst, the town’s influential members discuss the situation amongst themselves, wondering how they can protect Ibarra, given all he and his father have done for San Diego. Don Filipo in particular hopes to do what he can to shield Ibarra from public harm, but the mayor steps in and says, “What can we do? What can the town do? Whatever happens, the friars are always right!” Don Filipo points out that this is the case because officials like themselves always let the friars have their way. The mayor reminds him that the church is “rich and united,” while the government in the Philippines is “divided and poor.” Exasperated, Don Filipo resigns as deputy mayor.
In this conversation, the mayor provides a reason for why the church has more power than the local government: it is “rich and united.” Once again, readers see that financial concerns factor into the church’s influence over the town, a fact that is unsurprising considering how obsessed the friars are with collecting indulgences and accusing people like Crispín of stealing, which amasses tremendous wealth for the friarocracy. Additionally, since anybody who disagrees with the friars is isolated from the community (like Tasio), the church is a powerful unified institution.