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The Malolos Congress

Malolos CongressEmilio Aguinaldo issued a decree on July 18, 1898 asking for the
election of delegates to the revolutionary congress, another decree was promulg
ated five days later, which declared that Aguinaldo would appoint representative
s of congress because holding elections is not practical at that time. He appoin
ted 50 delegates in all (but this number fluctuated from time to time). In accor
dance with these two decrees, Aguinaldo assembled the Revolutionary Congress at
the Brasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan on September 15, 1898.

The atmosphere was festive and the Pasig Band played the national anthem. After
Aguinaldo had read his speech congressional elections were held among the delega
tes present. The following were among the most important achievements of the Mal
olos Congress:

1. In September 29, 1898, ratified the declaration of Philippine independence he

ld at Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898
2. Passage of a law that allowed the Philippines to borrow P 20 million from ban
ks for government expenses
3. Establishment of the Universidad Literatura de Filipinas and other schools
4. Drafting of the Philippine Constitution
5. Declaring war against the United States on June 12, 1899

Malolos Constitution

A committee headed by Felipe Calderon and aided by Cayetano Arellano, the consti
tution was drafted, for the first time by representatives of the Filipino people
and it is the first republican constitution in Asia. The constitution was inspi
red by the constitutions of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium and F
rance. After some minor revisions (mainly due to the objections of Apolinario Ma
bini), the final draft of the constitution was presented to Aguinaldo. This pave
d the way to launching the first Philippine Republic. It established a democrati
c, republication government with three branches - the Executive, Legislative and
the Judicial branches. It called for the separation of church and state. The ex
ecutive powers were to be exercise by the president of the republic with the hel
p of his cabinet. Judicial powers were given to the Supreme Court and other lowe
r courts to be created by law. The Chief justice of the Supreme Court was to be
elected by the legislature with the concurrence of the President and his Cabinet

Apolinario Mabini, revolutionary leaderFirst Philippine Republic

The first Philippine Republic was inaugurated in Malolos, Bulacan on January 21,

1899. After being proclaimed president, Emilio Aguinaldo took his oath of offic
e. The constitution was read article by article and followed by a military parad
e. Apolinario Mabini was elected as a prime minister. The other cabinet secretar
ies were: Teodoro Sandico, interior; Baldomero Aguinaldo, war; Gen. Mariano Tria
s, finance & war; Apolinario Mabini, foreign affairs; Gracio Gonzaga for welfare
, Aguedo Velarde, public instruction; Maximo Paterno, public works & communicati
on; and Leon Mara Guerrero for agriculture, trade & commerce.
The Philippine National Anthem

Aguinaldo commissioned Julian Felipe, a composer from Cavite province was asked
to write an an instrumental march for the proclamation of independence ceremony.
The original title was "Marcha Filipina Magdalo". This was later changed to "Ma
rcha Nacional Filipina". The lyrics was added in August 1899 based on the poem t
itled "Filipinas" by Jose Palma. The original lyrics was written in Spanish, the
n to English (when the Flag Law was abolished during the American period) then l
ater, was translated to Tagalog, which underwent another change of title to Lupan
g Hinirang, the Philippine National Anthem.