THE LIGA FILIPINA
A translation of the Spanish original
The Philippine Islands: 1493-1898
Vol. LIII, pages 217-226
by James Alexander Robertson and Emma Helen Blair
CONSTITUTION OF THE LIGA FILIPINA
1. To unite the whole archipelago into one compact, vigorous, and homogeneous body.
2. Mutual protection in every want and necessity.
3. Defense against all violence and injustice.
4. Encouragement of instruction, agriculture, and commerce.
5. Study and application of reforms.
Motto: Unus instar ómnium [One like all.]
1. To set these ends in operation, a Popular Council, a Provincial Council, and a Supreme Council shall be created.
2. Each Council shall consist of a Chief, a Fiscal, a Treasurer, a Secretary, and members.
3. The Supreme Council shall consist of the Provincial Chiefs, just as the Provincial Council shall be composed of the Popular Chiefs.
4. The Supreme Council shall have command of the Liga Filipina, and shall deal directly with the Provincial Chiefs and Popular Chiefs.
5. The Provincial Council shall have command of the Popular Chiefs.
6. The Popular Council only shall have command of the members.
7. Each Provincial Council and Popular Council shall adopt a name different from that of their locality or region.
Duties of the Members:
1. They shall pay monthly dues of ten centimos.
2. They shall obey blindly and promptly every order emanating from a Council or a Chief.
3. They shall inform the Fiscal of their Council of whatever they note or hear that has reference to the Liga Filipina.
4. They shall preserve the most absolute secrecy in regard to the decisions of the Council.
5. In all walks of life, preference shall be given to the members. Nothing shall be bought except in the shop of a member, or whenever anything is sold to a member, he shall have a rebate. Circumstances being equal, the member shall always be favored. Every infraction of this article shall be severely punished.
6. The member who does not help another member in the case of need or danger, although able to do so, shall be punished, and at least the same penalty suffered by the other shall be imposed on him.
7. Each member, on affiliation, shall adopt a new name of his own choice, and shall not be able to change the same unless he becomes a Provincial Chief.
8. He shall bring to each Council a service [trabajo; evidently a service done for the organization], an observation, a study, or a new candidate.
9. He shall not submit to any humiliation or treat anyone with contempt.
Duties of the Chief:
1. He shall continually watch over the life of his Council. L He shall memorize the new and real names of all the Councils if he is the Supreme Chief, and if only a Popular Chief those of all his affiliated members.
2. He shall constantly study means to unite his subordinates and place them in quick communication.
3. He shall study and remedy the necessities of the Liga Filipina, of the Provincial Council, or of the Popular Council, according as he is Supreme Chief, Provincial Chief, or Popular Chief.
4. He shall heed all the observations, communications and petitions which are made to him, and shall immediately communicate them to the proper person.
5. In danger, he shall be the first, and he shall be the first to be held responsible for whatever occurs within a Council.
6. He shall furnish an example by his subordination to his superior chiefs, so that he may be obeyed in his turn.
7. He shall see to the very last member, the personification of the entire Liga Filipina.
8. The omissions of the authorities shall be punished with greater severity than those of the simple members.
Duties of the Fiscal:
1. The Fiscal shall see to it that all comply with their duty.
2. He shall accuse in the presence of the Council every infraction or failure to perform his duty in any member of the Council.
3. He shall inform the Council of every danger or persecution.
4. He shall investigate the condition of the funds of the Council
Duties of the Treasurer:
1. He shall enter in a ledger the new names of the members forming the Council.
2. He shall render strict monthly account of the dues received, noted by the members themselves, with their special countermarks.
3. He shall give a receipt and shall have a note of it made in the ledger in the hand of the donor, for every gift in excess of one peso and not over fifty.
4. The Popular Treasurer shall keep in the treasury of the Popular Council, the third part of the dues collected, for the necessities of the same. The remainder, whenever it exceeds the sum of ten pesos, shall be delivered to the Provincial Treasurer, to whom he shall show his ledger, and himself writing in the ledger of the Provincial Treasurer the amount delivered. The Provincial Treasurer shall then give a receipt, and if it is in accordance with the accounts, shall place his O.K. in the ledger of the other. Like proceedings shall follow when the Provincial Treasurer delivers funds in excess of ten pesos to the Supreme Treasurer.
5. The Provincial Treasurer shall retain from the sums handed to him by the Popular Treasurer one-tenth part for the expenses of the Provincial Council.
6. Whenever any member desires to give the Liga Filipina a sum in excess of fifty pesos, he shall deposit the sum in a safe bank, under his vulgar name and then shall deliver the receipt to the Treasurer of his choice.
Duties of the Secretary:
1. At each meeting he shall keep a record of proceedings, and shall announce what is to be done.
2. He shall have charge of the correspondence of the Council. In case of absence or incapacity, every authority shall name a substitute, until the council name one to fill his place.
Rights of the members:
1. Every member has a right to the moral, material, and pecuniary aid of his Council and of the Liga Filipina.
2. He may demand that all the members favor him in his trade or profession whenever he offers as many guaranties as others. For this protection, he shall transmit to his Popular Chief his real name and his footing, so that the latter may hand it to the Supreme Chief who shall inform all the members of the Liga Filipina of it by the proper means.
3. In any want, injury, or injustice, the member may invoke the whole aid of the Liga Filipina.
4. He may request capital for an enterprise whenever there are funds in the treasury.
5. He may demand a rebate of all the institutions or members sustained directly by the Liga Filipina, for all articles [sold him] or services rendered him.
6. No member shall be judged without first being allowed his defense.
Rights of the Secretary [sic; Chief?]
1. He shall not be discussed unless an accusation of the Fiscal precede.
2. For want of time and opportunity, he may act by and with himself, as he has the obligation to perform the charges which may be laid on him.
3. Within the Council he shall be the judge of every question or dispute.
4. He shall be the only one who shall be empowered to know the real names of his members or subordinates.
5. He shall have ample power to organize the details of the meetings, communications, and undertakings, for their efficacy, security, and rapid dispatch.
6. Whenever a Popular Council is sufficiently numerous, the Provincial Chief may create other subordinate Councils after first appointing the authorities. Once constituted, he shall allow them to elect their authorities according to the regulations.
7. Every Chief shall be empowered to establish a Council in a village where none exists, after which he shall inform the Supreme Council or Provincial Council.
8. The Chief shall appoint the Secretary.
Rights of the Fiscal:
1. He shall cause every accused person to go out or appear while his case is being discussed in the Council.
2. He shall be able to examine the ledgers at any time.
Rights of the Treasurer:
He shall dispose of the funds in an urgent and imperious necessity of any member or of the Council, with the obligation of giving account and answering before the tribunal of the Liga Filipina.
Rights of the Secretary:
He may convoke extra meetings or assemblies in addition to the monthly meetings.
Investment of the funds:
1. The member or his son, who while not having means, shall show application and great capacities, shall be sustained.
2. The poor shall be supported in his right against any powerful person.
3. The members who shall have suffered loss shall be aided.
4. Capital shall be loaned to the member who shall need it for an industry or for agriculture.
5. The introduction of machines and industries, new or necessary in the country shall be favored.
6. Shops, stores, and establishments shall be opened, where the members may be accommodated more economically than elsewhere.
The Supreme Chief shall have power to dispose of the funds in needy cases, whenever he later renders an account to the Supreme Council.
1. No one shall be admitted without a previous and unanimous vote of the Council of his village, and without satisfying the tests to which he must submit.
2. Offices shall end every two years, except when there is an accusation by the Fiscal.
3. In order to obtain the posts, three-fourths of all the votes present shall be required.
4. The members shall elect the Popular Chief, the Popular Fiscal, and the Popular Treasurer. The Popular authorities shall elect the Provincial authorities; and the Provincial authorities shall elect the Supreme authorities.
5. Every time that a member becomes the Popular Chief, that fact shall be communicated to the Supreme Chief, together with his new and old names; and the same shall be done whenever a new Council shall be founded.
6. Communications in ordinary times, shall bear only the symbolical names both of the writer and of the persons for whom they are intended, and the course to be pursued shall be from the member to the Popular Chief, from the latter to the Provincial Chief or the Supreme Chief, and vice versa. In extraordinary cases alone shall these formalities be omitted. However, in any time or place, the Supreme Chief may address anyone directly.
7. It is not necessary for all the members of a Council to be present to render decisions valid. It shall be sufficient if one-half the members are present and one of the authorities.
* This constitution was partly printed at London, at the London Printing Press, No. 25 Khulug St.[see correction below], in both Spanish and Tagalog. Those parts printed (the ends, duties of the members, and the general rules) contain some changes from Rizal’s MS. Preceding the constitution proper is the membership pledge to the Liga. It is as follows:
“Number. . . . To . . . of . . . I . . . of . . . years of age, of . . . state profession . . ., as a chosen son of Filipinas, declare under formal oath that I know and entirely understand the ends aimed at by the Liga Filipina, whose text appears on the back of the present. Therefore, I submit myself, and of my own accord petition the chief . . . of this province, to admit me as a member and coworker in the same, and for that purpose I am ready to unconditionally lend the necessary proofs that may be demanded of me, in testimony of my sincere adhesion!”
The ends of this printed text are the same as those of the MS. The motto is the same, and there is also a place for a countersign. The duties of the members are somewhat changed, the changes being as follows:
“1. He shall pay two pesos for one single time, as an entrance fee, and fifty centimos as a monthly fee, from the month of his entrance. 2. With the consciousness of what he owes to his fatherland, for whose prosperity and through the welfare that he ought to covet for his parents, children, brothers and sisters, and the beloved beings who surround them, he must sacrifice every personal interest, and blindly and promptly obey every command, every order, verbal or written, which emanates from his Council or from the Provincial Chief. 3. He shall immediately inform, and without the loss of a moment, the authorities of his Council of whatever he sees, notes, or hears that constitutes danger for the tranquility of the Liga Filipina or anything touching it. He shall earnestly endeavor to be sincere, truthful, and minute in all that he shall have to communicate. 4. He shall observe the utmost secrecy in regard to the deeds, acts, and decisions of his Council and of the Liga Filipina in general from the profane, even though they be his parents, brothers, and sisters, children, etc., at the cost of his own life, for this is the means by which the member will obtain what he most desires in life.” Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are the same. The general rules of the printed version are as follows: “In order that the candidate may be admitted as a member to the Liga Filipina, he must possess morality, good habits, no have been proceeded against justifiably as a robber, shall not be a gambler, drunkard, or libertine. The candidate must solicit and petition his entrance from a member; and the latter shall communicate it to his Fiscal, for the investigations that must be made in regard to his conduct.
On Dec. 30, 1903, a monument was erected to Rizal, to his companions, and to other founders of the Liga Filipina by the village of Tondo, on a site given by Timoteo Paez, one of the members of the Liga. On the monument is the following inscription: “Remember [this word in English, the rest in Spanish]. Facing the site and at house No. 176 Ilaya St., Dr. Rizal founded and inaugurated on the night of July 3, 1892, the Liga Filipina, a national secret society, with the assistance and approval of the following gentlemen: Founder, Dr. Rizal; shot. Board of directors – president, Ambrosio Salvador; arrested. Fiscal, Agustin de la Rosa; arrested. Treasurer, Bonifacio Arevalo; arrested. Secretary, Deodato Arellano; first president of the national war Katipunan society; arrested. L Members – Andres Bonifacio; supreme head of the Katipunan, who uttered the first war cry against tyranny, August 24, 1896. Mamerto Natividad; seconded, in Nueva Ecija, the monument of Andres Bonifacio, August 28, 1896; shot. Domingo Franco; supreme head of the Liga Filipina; shot. Moises Salvador; venerable master of the respected lodge, Balagtas; shot. Numeriano Adriano; first guard of the respected lodge Taliba; shot. Apolinario Mabini; legislator; arrested. Ambrosio Rianzarews Bautista; first patriot of ‘768; arrested. Timoteo Lanuza; initiator of the manifestation for the expulsion of the friars in 1888; arrested. Marcelino de Santos; arbitrator and protector of La Solidaridad, the Filipino organ in Madrid; arrested. Paulino Zamra; venerable master of the respected lodge, Lusong; deported. L Juan Zulueta; member of the respected lodge, Lusong; died. Doroteo Ongjunco; member of the respected lodge, Lusong; owner of the house. Arcadio del Rosario; orator of the respected lodge, Balagtas; arrested. Timoteo Paez; arrested.” – EPIFANIO DE LOS SANTOS.
See Retana’s account of the Liga in Nuestro Tiempo for Aug. 10, 1905, pp. 202-211. He says mistakenly that the constitution was printed in Hong Kong. Actually Retana was correct the booklet was, in fact, printed in Hong Kong. It purported to be printed in London to deliberately mislead the Spanish. Rizal sent his draft of the constitution to his good friend, José Basa who probably had the pamphlet both printed and smuggled back into the Philippines. -- from a note from Jim Richardson.