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The Malolos Constitution.

Translation by Sulpicio Guevara from the original Spanish text


WE, the Representatives of the Filipino people, lawfully convened, in order to establish justice, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and to secure for ourselves the blessings of liberty, imploring the aid of the Supreme Legislator of the Universe to help us attain these objectives, have voted, decreed, and sanctioned the following.




Article 1. The political association of all the Filipinos constitutes a NATION, whose state shall be known as the Philippine Republic.

Article 2. The Philippine Republic is free and independent.

Article 3. Sovereignty resides exclusively in the people.



Article 4. Government of the Republic is popular, representative, alternative, and responsible, and shall exercise three (3) distinct powers: namely the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.

Any two or more of these powers shall never be united in one person or corporation, nor the legislative power vested in one single individual.



Article 5. The State recognizes the freedom and equality of all religions, as well as the separation of the Church and the State.



Article 6. The following are Filipinos:

  1. All persons born in the Philippine territory. A vessel of Philippine registry is considered, for this purpose, as part of Philippines territory.
  2. Children of a Filipino father of mother, although born outside of the Philippines.
  3. Foreigners who have obtained certificate of naturalization. Those who, without such certificate, have acquired a domicile in any town within Philippine territory.

It is understood that domicile is acquired by uninterrupted residence for two years in any locality within Philippine territory, with an open abode and known occupation, and contributing to all the taxes imposed by the Nation.

The condition of being a Filipino is lost in accordance with law.

Article 7. No Filipino or foreigner shall be detained nor imprisoned except for the commission of crime and in accordance with law.

Article 8. All persons detained shall be discharged of delivered to the judicial authority within 24 hours following the act of detention.

All detentions without the legal effect, unless the arrested person is duly prosecuted within 72 hours after delivery to a competent court.

The accused shall be duly notified of such proceeding within the same period.

Article 9. No Filipino shall be imprisoned except by virtue of an order by competent court.

The order of imprisonment shall be ratified or confirmed within 72 hours following the said order, after the accused has been heard.

Article 10. No one shall enter the dwelling house of any Filipino or foreigner residing in the Philippines without his consent, except in urgent cases of fire, inundation, earthquake or other similar danger, or by reason of unlawful aggression from within, or in order to assist a person therein who cries for help.

Outside of these cases, the entry into the dwelling house of any Filipino or foreigner resident in the Philippines or the search of his papers and effects can only be decreed by a competent court and executed only in the daytime.

The search of papers and effects shall be made always in the presence of the person searched or of a member of his family and .in their absence, of two witnesses resident of the same place.

However, when a criminal caught in fraganti should take refuge in his dwelling house, the authorities in pursuit may enter into it, only for the purpose of making an arrest.

If the criminal should take refuge in the dwelling house of foreigner, the consent of the latter must first be obtained.

Article 11. No Filipino shall be compelled to change his residence or domicile except by virtue of final judgement.

Article 12. In no case may correspondence confined to the post office be detained or opened by government authorities, nor any telegraphic or telephonic message detained.

However, by virtue of an order a competent court, correspondence may be detained and opened in the presence of the sender.

Article 13. All orders of imprisonment, of search of dwelling house, or detention of written correspondence, telegraph or telephone, must be justified.

When an order lacks this requisite, or when the ground on which the act was founded is proven in court to be unlawful or manifestly insufficient, the person to be detained or whose imprisonment has not been ratified within the period prescribed in Article 9, whose correspondence has been detained, shall have the right to recover damages.

Article 14. No Filipino shall be prosecuted or sentenced, expert by a judge or court of proper jurisdiction and according to the procedure prescribed by law.

Article 15. Expert in the cases provided by the Constitution, all persons detained or imprisoned not in accordance with legal formalities shall be released upon his own petition or upon petition of another person.

The law shall determine the manner of preceding summarily in this instance, as well as the personal and pecuniary penalties which shall be imposed upon the person who ordered, executed or cause to be executed the illegal detection or imprisonment.

Article 16. No one shall be temporarily or permanently deprived of rights or disturbed in his enjoyment thereof, except by virtue of judicial sentence.

The officials who, under any pretext whatsoever, should violate this provision, shall be personally liable for the damages caused.

Article 17. No one shall be deprived of his property by expropriation except on grounds of public necessity and benefit, previously declared and justified by proper authority, and indemnifying the owner thereof prior to expropriation.

Article 18. No one shall be obligated to pay any public tax which had not been approved by the National Assembly or by local popular governments legally so authorized, and which is not in the manner prescribed by the law.

Article 19. No Filipino who is in full enjoyment of his civil and political rights, shall be impeded in the free exercise of said rights.

Article 20. Neither shall any Filipino be deprived:

  1. of the right to freely express his ideas or opinions, orally or in writings, through the use of the press or other similar means.
  2. of the right of association for purposes of human life and which are not contrary to public morals; and lastly,
  3. of the right to send petitions to the authorities, individually or collectively.

The right of petition shall not be exercised through any kind of armed force.

Article 21. The exercise of the right provided for in the proceeding article should be subject to general provisions regulating the same.

Article 22. Crimes committed on the occasion of the exercise of rights provided for in this title, shall be punished by the courts in accordance with the laws.

Article 23. Ant Filipino may establish and maintain institutions of learning, in accordance with the laws authorizing them.

Article 24. Foreigners may freely reside in Philippine territory, subject to legal dispositions regulating the matter; may engage in any occupation or professions for the exercise of which no special license is required by law to be issued by the national authorities.

Article 25. No Filipino who is in full enjoyment of his political and civil rights shall be impeded in his right to travel freely abroad of in his right to transfer his residence or possessions to another country, except as to his obligations to contribute to military service or the maintenance of public taxes.

Article 26. No foreigner who has not been naturalized may exercise in the Philippines any office which carries with it any authority of jurisdictional powers.

Article 27. All Filipinos are obliged to defend his country with arms when called upon by law, and to contribute to the expenses of the State in proportion to his means.

Article 28. The prior authorization to prosecute a public official in the cases which constitute apparent and clear violations of constitutional precepts. In others, the agents of the law shall only be exempted if they did not exercise the authority.

Article 30. The guaranties provided for in articles, 7,8,9,10 and 11 and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 20 shall not be suspended, partially or wholly, in any part of the Republic, except temporarily and by authority of law, when the security of the State in extraordinary circumstances so demands.

When promulgated in any territory where the suspension applies, there shall be a special law which shall govern during the period of the suspension, according to the circumstances prevailing.

The law of suspension as well as the special law to govern shall be approved by the National Assembly, and in case the latter is in recess, the Government shall have the power to decree the same jointly with the Permanent Commission, without prejudice to convoking the Assembly without the least delay and report to it what had been done.

However, any suspension made shall not affect more rights than those mentioned in the first paragraph of this article nor authorize the Government to banish or deport from the Philippines any Filipino.

In no case may the civil or military chief promulgate any penalty other than those previously provided by law.

Article 31. In the Republic of the Philippines, no one shall be judged by a special law nor by special tribunals. No person or corporation may enjoy privileges or emoluments which are not in compensation for public service rendered and authorized by law. War and marine laws shall apply for crimes or delicts which have intimate relation to military or naval discipline.

Article 32. No Filipino shall establish laws on primogeniture, nor institutions restrictive of property rights, nor accept honors, decorations or honorific titles or nobility from foreign nations without the consent of the Government.

Neither shall the government establish in the Republic institutions mentioned in the preceding paragraph, nor confer honors, decorations or honorific titles and nobility to any Filipino.

The Nation, however, may reward by special approved by the Assembly, conspicuous, services rendered by citizens of the country.
Titles V to VII
Titles VIII to XIV


Source: Centennial Publication. National Historical Institute

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