125th Anniversary of the Opening of the Malolos Congress

September 13, 2023

Senate of the Philippines

Manifestation of
Senate President Pro Tempore
Loren Legarda

125th Anniversary of the Opening of the Malolos Congress

13 September 2023

Mr. President,

I would like to manifest my call to our colleagues in the Senate to mark the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Malolos Congress on Friday, September 15, 2023.

This assembly of representatives from throughout the Philippines gathered in the church of Barasoain, Malolos, Bulacan to create laws that would govern the newly-born Filipino nation. Many have been elected by the people in places that have been liberated from Spanish colonial rule while some have been appointed to represent areas which the light of liberty was still to elusive. The whole archipelago was represented, from as far north as Cagayan, as far south as Siasi and Jolo, as far west as Palawan, and as far east as Palau which our forebears considered as part of our family.

The representatives braved armed skirmishes and endured separation from loved ones to accomplish the work of building the nation. After all, the expulsion of invaders is just the first step. Their colonial rule had to be replaced with a government that upheld democracy and human rights, a government that would work to improve the lives of its citizens.

In the Constitution that the Malolos Congress produced, we introduced to our national consciousness civil liberties such as the freedom of religion, the right to privacy, and right to due process, the separation of executive, legislative, and judicial powers, and the autonomy and empowerment of local governments.

The Malolos Congress, alongside the revolutionary government led by President Emilio Aguinaldo, showed to the whole world our capability for self-governance. Aside from writing our own laws, we were able to establish local governments, a literary-scientific university and public schools, a military academy, and newspapers with wide circulation. We sent representatives in various major cities in the world, who brought with them copies of our Constitution and news of our victories.

Although the Republic that was born out of our struggle for freedom was interrupted by American colonial rule, we never stopped fighting for our independence, and we continue to defend it from internal and external threats.

Today, we remain committed to the ideals of representative democracy that our forebears enshrined in the Constitution they wrote. At the same time, just as they were guided and inspired by our rich history in discussing the Constitution, let us extend our full support to all who have been given the task of tell and retell their stories–most especially the National Historical Commission of the Philippines led by its able Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Franco Calairo. The NHCP leads us in sustaining the memory of our nascent republic by maintaining the Museo ng Republika ng 1899 in Barasoain, and by marking the places connected with our rich republican story.

I invite my colleagues in the Senate and their staff to visit this museum and to join us as we open an exhibit which they have graciously brought to our own abode.

Thank you very much and may we all continue to do our best to discharge the duties which have been given to us not just by the people in the present, but by the legacy of our forebears.