Cyrene Joy Morato
Andy Patricio Bonifacio
The circumstances surrounding the declaration of Philippine independence , Its
constitution and form of government, were certainly not ideal. The Filipino forces could
have chosen a better timing. The U.S. take-over of Intramuros on August 13, 1898, to the
exclusion of the Filipino forces who had earlier laid siege to the city, muddled the issue
of who were the real victors of the battle: was it the Americans or the Filipinos that
were responsible for the Spaniards surrender?
Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, together with Apolinario Mabini, were faced with the
difficult task of uniting the educated and rich with the majority who were poor
and uneducated under a form of government worthy of international respect
and recognition. This, they had o do in just a short time with the impending U.S.
occupation of the country.
Aguinaldo and Mabini,
• despite their opposition, failed and in the end,
found themselves behind the birth of a
premature Republic of the Philippines that was
controlled by the elite.
A government ruled by a dictator, who
has unrestricted and supreme authority
over citizens and all aspects of their
When Aguinaldo was in Hongkong, he asked
Mariano Ponce to prepare a constitution that
provided for a republic form of government.
When Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines, he
realized that is was time to organize a government,
as what Consul Wildman had earlier advised.
“He was to establish a dictatorial form of
Because such a
government was very
effective in a critical
period such as what the
There were many problems that needed to be addressed like
financing a new government.
Food for other people
Reconstruction of destroyed buildings and houses, including
roads and bridges.
And many others
Aguinaldo was convinced that a
dictatorial form of government was
efficient than a republic government in
a time of crisis, he asked Ambrosio
Rianzares Bautista, a lawyer of good
standing, to prepare the machinery for
the established of a dictatorial
May 24,1898. Aguinaldo, upon
the advice of Bautista, formally
established the Dictatorial
Government “to be
administered by decrees
promulgated under my
Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista
Before he left for the Philippines, Felipe Agoncillo,
who had left the Philippines in 1895 because some friars
were after him, gave him some good advice. Realizing
that Aguinaldo would need the services of dedicated and
patriotic men, Aguinaldo advised him to look for a
certain Apolinario Mabini of Tanawan, Batangas.
He was according to the informant, a
bright young man who could be relied upon
in times of crisis. And Aguinaldo
remembered Agoncillo’s advice.
He learned that Mabini was resting in Los
He ordered his men to fetch Mabini and
bring him to Kawit, Cavite.
When Mabini was brought before Aguilando in his office,
the General looked at the man before him. He was thin and
obviously sick. He was paralyzed from the waist down to his
lower limbs, a sickness which he must have contracted
since birth. Then Aguinaldo noted that there was a strange
light in Mabini’s eye that he could not explain. There was
something in those eyes that captivated Aguinaldo. No one
spoke, “there was a long silence”. Then Aguinaldo heard
Mabini’s voice for the first time. It was firm. It had deep
conviction. It had courage. All at once Aguinaldo’s doubts
vanished. He smiled and reached for Mabini’s right hand .
He held the latter’s hand tightly. This meeting was the
beginning of a friendship that, unfortunately, lasted for only
The Declaration of Independence
• Aguinaldo thought that it would be best
to declare the independence of the country.
He believed the people would work
hard to protect that independence and
thus, contribute to the stability of the
newly established government but
Apolinario Mabini, who was not yet
Aguinaldo’s official adviser at the time.
He said that the more important thing to
do was to reorganize the government
first, to make it popularly based and thus
more stable than a dictatorial
June 5, Aguinaldo ordered that June 12, be
set aside for the proclamation of independence.
To make event memorable, He asked Julian
Felipe, a musician from Cavite. To compose a
march which would be played during the
independence day ceremonies. And it was
entitled “Marcha Filipina Magdalo” upon hearing
the music, Aguinaldo decided to make it the
official march of the Philippines.
June 12, between four and five in the afternoon, Aguinaldo
proclaimed the independence of the Philippines from the window
of his home Kawit.
Designed by Aguinaldo and sewn
in Hongkong by Mrs. Marcela
Agoncillo with the help of Delfina
Herbosa and Lorenza Agoncillo was
officially hoisted for the first time
to the accopaniment of the “Marcha
This was his last official ac. After June 12, he faded
from the picture and Mabini stepped in as
Aguinaldo’s topmost adviser. The Declaration of
Independence was signed by ninety-eight persons.
U.S. Admiral Dewey declined the invitation to the
ceremonies Instead, an American army officer by
the name of Colonel L. M. Johnson attended on his
behalf. It was not until August 1 that many towns of
Luzon Promulgated the proclamation of
Mabini have a very important role in the Filipino government after
the declaration of independence on June 12, 1898. He set to work
immediately by preparing a decree for Aguinaldo’s signature in which
it was stated that “the first duty of the government is to interpret
faithfully the will of the people”
Mabini prepared the decree of June 18, which provided for the
reorganization of the government in provinces that were already
taken from the Spaniards.
The town chief acted as president of the Assembly; the cabeza of the
poblacion or town proper as the vice president; and the delegate for
justice and civil registry as the secretary.
Mabini thought that there should be a Revolutionary Congress to
prepare for this, he included in the June 18, decree a provision starting
that each province should elect its delegates to congress.
The main function of the Congress was “to propose…measures
concerning the preservation of internal order and external security of
In a supplementary decree of June 20, Mabini provided
for the administration of justice in areas under the Filipino
government. For the time being, Spaniards penal Code was
adopted expert for those provisions which were contrary to
the decree of the Filipino government. The town chief was
automatically assigned as the town judge. In criminal cases,
this, in turn, would order the accused to appear before the
provincial council to stand trial. In civil cases, the decisions
were made by the popular council. All decisions were to be
considered temporary and may be changed by a court of
♦ A government involved in great fundamental changes in system or reversal
of existing condition.
Aguinaldo changed the form of government from
dictatorial to revolutionary. This took effect on June 23.
The name of the government was Revolutionary
◘ The decree prepared by Mabini, changed the
title of the Chief of State from Dictator to
To help the president on his duties, four department were created. They
were the Department of Foreign Affairs, Navy and Commerce; The
Department of War and Public Works; the Department of Police and
Internal Order, Justice , Education, and Hygiene; and the Department of
Finance, Agriculture, and Manufacturing Industry.
The June 23, decree also provided for the creation of Congress.
Provinces which could not hold any election for delegates to congress,
because they were still under the Spaniards. Would be represented by
appointive delegates to Congress.
The provisions of the decrees of June 18 and 23, Aguinaldo call the
congress to meet at Barasoain church in Malolos,Bulacan. On
September 4, Aguinaldo appointed 50 delegates to congress to
represent provinces that were experiencing unstable condition because
of fierce and order issues. The majority of this were educated and rich.
Lawyers, physicians, and businessmen made up 59%. Non from the
peasants, labor, muslims and other ethnoliguistic groups were
represented. The basilica barasoain was filled with people on the
morning of September 15, 1898. The banda pasig played the “Marcha
Filipina,” at the church yard. The Marcha is now known as the National
Anthem. Cries of Viva!” reverberated when Aguinaldo arrived with his
aides. He entered the church and sat in one of the chairs designated
for him. He acknowledged the applause and then stood up.
In the afternoon, the members of congress elected the following
President…………………….Pedro A. Paterno
Vice President……………...Benito Legarda
First secretary……………..Gregoria Araneta
Second secretary…………..Pablo Ocampo
In the meeting of September 29, Congress ratified the
proclamation of independence in Kawit on June 12. This was the
first significant act of congress. That the united states was for
the Americans: and I say the Philippines is for the Filipinos.” The
statement, apparently, was intended for U.S government, whose
Representative Admiral Dewey continued to be uncommitted to
the idea of an Independent Philippines.
What Mabini provided in the decrees of June 18 and 23 was for Congress to functions as
advisory group to be president; he meant for it not to act as a lawmaking body. He believes that in
times of emergency, as what was happening in those days, the Chief Executive should not be
hampered by too many discussions in order to execute plans immediately. They believed that it was
necessary to have a modern constitution where Congress functioned as an equal branch of the
executive charged with legislative power. Mabini answered that the unstable times were not
conductive for such a constitution. They needed more time to deliberate in order to decisively
frame the provisions of the constitution. Mabini prepared a draft of the constitution called
Constitutional Plan of the Philippines Republic and submitted it to Congress.
Felipe G. Calderon, a descendant of a Franciscan friar of Santa Ana, Manila, prepared his
version of the constitution with the advice of Cayetano Arellano, a brilliant lawyer. Calderon and
Arellano borrowed from the constitutions of many countries, like Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico,
Belgium, France, and Brazil. There was a strong opposition to the article providing for a state
religion which was Catholicism. After long discussions and a tied decision, a second vote was
taken. Other provision was modified because of Mabini’s objection. The final version of the
constitution was promulgated by Aguinaldo on January 21, 1899.
The Malolos Constitution was the first important state document that the Filipino people,
speaking through their representatives, had ever produced. According too this constitutions,
the government that was established was “popular, representative, and responsible.” it was
divided into three branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Safeguards against
abuses were provided for so that the people would not experience what they had experienced
under Spain. The President was elected by the Assembly, which took the place of congress. The
department secretaries-the secretary of foreign affairs, secretary of justice, among others-were
responsible not to the President, but to the Assembly.
The Malolos constitution is unique of three reasons: first, the Assembly or the legislative
branch was more powerful than the executive or the judicial branch; second, it provided that
when the Assembly was not in session, a Permanent Commission, composed of members of the
Assembly, would sit as a legislative body; and lastly, the Constitution established a unicameral
legislature. He said preferred the oligarchy of the intellect over the few rich, this excluded the
many who were poor and uneducated. This also excluded many veterans of the 1896
Revolution, the soldiers and leaders of the Katipunan in the Provinces.
• In preparation for the inauguration of the Philippine Republic, Aguinaldo, as early as
January 2, 1899, reorganized his Cabinet. The following were appointed:
President of the Cabinet and Secretary of Foreign
: Apolinario Mabini
Secretary of Inter
: Teodora Sandico
Secretary of War
: Baldomero Aguinaldo
Secretary of Welfare, Public Instruction,Public
works, Communications,Agriculture, Industry and
: Gracio Gonzaga
This Cabinet was also called the Council of Government.
Mabini, in a last effort to include the “ignorant masses”
declared that the Cabinet “belongs to no party, nor does it
desire to form one; it stands for nothing save interests of the
At the inauguration of the Republic on January 23,
Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President of the
Republic. Then the Malolos Constitution was read article by
article so that people would know what it was all about. To
make the event memorable, Aguinaldo pardoned all
prisoners of war who were not regular members of the
Spanish Army. Also, Spaniards and aliens were granted the
right to engage in business in the Philippines.
The armed struggle between the Spaniards and the Filipinos resulted
in the destruction of schools and buildings. Consequently, all schools
were closed. However, in the interest so Filipino children and adults, the
Revolutionary Government ordered the provincial governors to reopen
schools that had been abandoned during the revolution. Then a decree
provided for the improved curriculum of the Burgos Institute. The
curriculum included subjects such as Latin grammar, universal geography,
English, French, history, mathematics, physics, chemistry, philosophy, and
natural laws. In October 1898, a decree was issued creating the Literary
University of the Philippines. Dr. Joaquin Gonzales was appointed as the
first president of the university and was later succeeded by Dr. Leon Ma.
Guerrero. Dr. Guerrero delivered the commencement address of the school
on September 29, 1899. The Philippine American War broke out and led
to the disbandment of the professors, who, in their own way, worked for
their country in the fight against a new enemy.
A struggling nation like the Philippines, toward the end of the nineteenth century,
needed propaganda media to make the feelings and ideas of the people known to the
world. The Revolutionary Government founded its official organ, El Heraldo de la
Revolution, which came out on Septenber29, 1898. Later, its name was changed to
Heraldo Filipino, then to Indices Officials, and finally to Gaceta de Filipinas. The most
famous of this newspaper was La Independencia. Its editor and part-owner was
General Antonio Luna. The newspaper came out on September 3 ,1898 and great
Filipino Ma. Guerrero, Jose Palma, Rafael Palma, Epifanio de los Santos, Jose Abreu,
Mariano V. del Rosario, Salvador V. del Rosario, Rosa Sevilla and Florentina Arellano.
Other nationalistic newspapers that were circulated were La Republica Filipina in
Mandaluyong; La Libertad in Manila; Ang Kaibigan nang Bayan in Malolos; Columnas
Volantes in Lipa, Batangas; La Federacion in Cabanatuan, Iloilo; La Revolution in Jaro,
Iloilo; La Oportunidad in Tagbiliran, Bohol, and many others. Copies of these
periodicals were no longer available and they did not last for long. The country and
people as they inspired the Filipinos to fight till the end, in defense of human dignity,
honor, and freedom.
These Filipino diplomats were Felipe Agoncillo for the United States; Mariano Ponce and Faustino
Lichauci for japan; Antonio Ma. Regidor for England; Juan Luna and Pedro Roxas for France; and
Eriberto Zacal for Australia.
The assignment of Agoncillo was deemed most important. The United States by Sixto Lopez.
Agoncillo’s efforts to seek official’s audience with President McKinley failed. Agoncillo again tried to
submit a memorandum explaining why the Filipinos deserved to be organized as an independent
people, but again he failed. The commissioners refused to have any official business with him. On
December 10, 1898, the Spanish and American peace commissioners signed the Treaty of Paris. By this
treaty, Spain turned over the improvements made by Spain in the Philippines.
Agoncillo returned to Washington, D.C. to prevent the ratification of the treaty. Without Senate
approval, the treaty would not become a law. In the Senate, many were against the treaty. He said that
at the time the treaty was signed, Spain had already been ousted from the Philippines by the Filipinos.
Many Americans were also against the treaty and even established the Anti-Imperialist League which
was very vocal against the move of the United States to colonize the Philippines. When the PhilippineAmerican War started on February 4, 1899, the American newspapers said it was the Filipinos who
started the war. On February 6, the Senate voted to pass the Treaty of Paris. The American imperialists,
who propagated the falsehood that the Filipinos started the hostilities, won the day