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Biak na Bato Republic Monument
Daily History Philippine Revolution

Biak na Bato Constitution approved: Nov. 1, 1897

On this day in 1897, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the Republic of Biak-na-Bato, approved the provisional constitution that Filipino lawyers Isabelo Artacho and Felix Ferrer drafted.

The provisional constitution provided for a republican government, with powers vested in a Supreme Council composed of a President, a Vice-President, and four Secretaries of State.

Under the constitution, the four Secretaries directed activities such as foreign relations, war, interior and local government, managing state finances and collecting taxes, contracting public debt here or abroad, recruit and mobilize troops and provide for their maintenance, and bring before the judicial power the President or any of the members of the Council charged with violation of the law.

Artacho and Ferrer copied the provisional constitution almost word-for-word from the 1895 Constitution of Jimaguayu in Cuba.

After Aguinaldo ratified the provisional constitution, 52 members of the Assembly of Representatives signed the constitution. Among the signatories are Gregorio Del Pilar, Mariano Llanera, Pablo Tecson, Severino de las Alas, Baldomero Aguinaldo, Mariano Noriel, Artemio Ricarte, Manuel Tinio, Valentin Diaz, Servillano Aquino, Vito Belarmino and Agapito Bonzon.

The republic, which Aguinaldo established in San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan on May 31, 1897, dissolved on Dec. 14, 1897 when Aguinaldo and his Cabinet agreed to go on exile in Hong Kong after signing a conditional truce with the Spanish colonial government led by Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera.

References

Totanes, Henry. “Ang Saligang Batas ng Republika ng Biak na Bato.” Philippine Journal of Education, Volume 76. Quezon City: University of the Philippines College of Education, 1997, p. 254

Dumindin, Arnaldo. “Background: The Philippine Revolution and the Spanish-American War.” Philippine-American War, 1899-1902

Bernas, Joaquin. “Filipino Consciousness of Civil and Political Rights.” Philippine Studies, Volume 25. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University, 1977. pp. 163- 185

Constantino, Renato and Letizia. A History of the Philippines. New York: NYU Press, 1975. pp. 190-191

Trivia Question

Aside from drafting the constitution, Artacho was also appointed to what position under the short-lived republic?

Yesterday’s answer: Gerry Geronimo

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