Posted on Tuesday, 15th September 2009 by All Philippines

Today in Philippine history, September 15, 1898, the revolutionary constituent assembly, known as the Malolos Congress, held its opening plenary session to draft the framework of the first Philippine Constitution (the Malolos Constitution). This was held on the historical church of Barasoain in Malolos, Bulacan.

Following the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain (June, 12, 1898) by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo and his revolutionary government in Kawit, Cavite, a plan was drafted by Aguinaldo and his supreme council which aims to create a new constitution that will be implemented with the foundation of the first Philippine Republic. On June 18 and 23, 1898, President Aguinaldo issued a decree ordering a new constituent assembly to be formed that will draft and ratify the planned new constitution. The assembly will convene at the church of Barasoain in Malolos, Bulacan. On September 4, 1898, Aguinaldo appointed 50 delegates from various Philippine provinces to the Malolos constitutional convention. He later added 10 more delegates to the assembly on Spetember 10, 1898.

At 10:30, in the morning of September 15, 1898, the opening ceremony of the Malolos Congress started. The Barasoian church in Malolos, Bulacan was filled with spectators and delegates as the Philippine National Anthem was being played. A few minutes later, the Malolos Congress was inaugurated. The constituent secretary read the names of the chosen delegates and introduced President Emilio Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo approached the podium and delivered his speech to the Congress, first in Filipino (Tagalog) and later in Spanish. His speech was prepared for him by one of his closest aide, Felipe Buencamino. After his speech, Aguinaldo declared the end of the preliminary ceremonies and the start of the Malolos constitutional convention.

Later in the afternoon, the delegates convened and voted for its officers. The elected officers of the Malolos Congress were as follows:

Pedro A. Paterno – President

Benito Legarda – Vice President

Gregorio Araneta – First Secretary

Pablo Ocampo – Second Secretary

One of the most significant acts of the Malolos Congress was on September 29, 1898, when it ratified the Philippine Independence, declared earlier on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite. The Malolos Constitution was promulgated on January 21, 1899, 2 days before the birth of the first Philippine Republic (also the first republic government in Asia).

Malolos Congress


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