General Emilio Aguinaldo's opening and closing messages to the Malolos Congress
September 15, 1898, Opening of Congress
The work of the revolution being happily terminated and the conquest of the territory completed, the moment has arrived to declare that the mission of arms has been brilliantly accomplished by our heroic army and now a truce is declared in order to give place to councils which the country offers to the service of the government in order to assist in the unfolding of its programme of liberty and justice, the divine message written on the standards of the revolutionary party.
A great and glorious task, an undertaking within the capacity of every class of patriots, is it for undisciplined troops to fight and break lances in opposition to the injustice done to those whom they defend and protect. But this is not all.
It remains for us, further, to solve the grave and supereminent problems of peace for those whom our fatherland demanded from us the sacrifice of our blood and of our fortunes and now time calls for a solemn document, expressive of the high aspirations of the country, accomplished by all the prestige and all the grandeur of the Filipino race, in order to salute with this the majesty of those nations which are united in accomplishing the high results of civilization and progress.
To these great friendly nations, whose glorious liberty is sung by the muse of history, was addressed the sacred invocation which accompanied our undertaking in its incredible acts of valor, to these nations the Filipino people now send its cordial salutations of lasting alliance.
At this opening of the temple of the laws, I know how the Filipino people, a people endowed with remarkable good sense, will assemble. Purged of its old faults, forgetting three centuries of oppression, it will open its heart to the noblest aspirations and its soul to the joys of freedom; proud of its own virtues without pity for its own weaknesses, here in the church of Barasoain, once the sanctuary of mystic rites, now the august and stately temple of the dogmas of independence, here it is assembled in the name of peace that is perhaps close at hand, to unite the suffrage of our native soil and of our learned Tagalog psychologists, of our inspired artists and of the eminent personages of the bench, to write with their votes the immortal book of the Filipino constitution as the supreme expression of the national will.
Illustrious spirits of Rizal, of Lopez Jaena, of Marcelo Hilario del Pilar! August shades of Burgos, Pelaez and Panganiban (Jose Ma.)! Warlike geniuses of (Crispulo) Aguinaldo and (Candido) Tirona, of (Mamerto) Natividad and (Edilberto) Evangelista! Arise a moment from your unknown graves! See how history has passed by right of heredity from your hands to ours, see how it has been multiplied and increased to an immense size to infinity by the gigantic strength of arms, and more than by arms, by the eternal, divine suggestion of liberty which burns like holy flame in the Filipino soul. Neither God nor the fatherland grants us a triumph except on the condition that we share you the laurels of our hazardous struggle.
And you, representatives of popular sovereignty, turn your eyes to the lofty example of the illustrious patriots!
Let this example and their revered memory, as well as the generous blood spilled on the battlefields, be a potent incentive to arouse in you a noble spirit of emulation to dictate with the great wisdom your high mandate demands, the laws which in this fortunate era of peace are destined the political destinies of our country.
Source: Agoncillo, Teodoro. History of the Filipino People, 4th edition. 1973
January 23, 1899, Inauguration of the Republic
I congratulate you upon having concluded your constitutional labors. From this date, the Philippines will have a National Code, to the just and wise precepts of which we each and everyone of us owe blind obedience, and whose liberal and democratic guaranties also extend to all.
Hereafter, the Philippines will have a fundamental law which will unite our people with the other nations by the strongest of solidarities, that is the solidarity of justice, of law and right, eternal truths which were the basis of human dignity.
I congratulate myself on seeing our constant efforts crowned, efforts which I continued from the time I entered the field with my brave countrymen of Cavite, as did our brothers in other sections with no arms, but bolos, to secure our liberty and independence.
And, finally, I congratulate our beloved people who from this date will cease to be anonymous and will be able with legitimate pride to proclaim to the Universe the long desired name of Philippine Republic.
We are no longer insurgents, we are no longer revolutionists, that is to say armed men desirous of destroying and annihilating the enemy. We are from now on, Republicans, that is to say, men of law, able to fraternize with all other nations, with mutual respect and affection. There is nothing lacking, therefore, in order for us to be recognized and admitted as a free and independent nation.
Ah, Representatives! How much pain and bitterness do those passed days of the Spanish slavery bring to our minds and how much hope and joy do the present moments of Philippine liberty awaken in us.
Great is this day, glorious is this date; and this moment when our beloved people rise to the apotheosis of independence will be eternally memorable. The 23rd of January will be for the Philippines hereafter a national feast day, as is the Fourth of July for the American nation. And thus, in the same manner as God helped weak America in the last century, when she fought against powerful Albion [England], to regain her liberty and independence. He will also help us today in the identical undertaking, because the ways of Divine justice are immutably the same in rectitude and wisdom.
A thousand thanks, Representatives, for your parliamentary labor, which ennobles us and established in a public and authentic manner that we are a civilized nation and also a brave one, worthy therefore, of being freely admitted into the concert of nations.
You have justly deserved the gratitude of the country and of the Government, in that you showed the entire world by your wisdom, sound sense and prudence, that in this remote and heretofore unknown portion of the world, the principles of European and American civilization are known, and more than known, have for a long time been earnestly desired and very well felt; that there is a degree of intelligence and hearts here perfectly in accord with those of the most civilized nations; and that notwithstanding the calumnious voice of our eternal detractors, there is here finally, a national spirit, which unites and brings together all Filipino hearts into a single idea and a single aspiration to live independent of any foreign yoke in the democratic shadow of the Philippine Republic.
For this reason, on seeing consecrated in our constitutional labor the eternal principles of authority, of liberty, or order and of justice, which all civilized nations profess, as the most perfect guaranty of their actual solidarity, I feel strength, pride and am sincerely impelled, from the bottom of my heart, to cry.
Viva the Philippine Republic! Viva the Constitution! Viva their illustrious authors, the representatives of the first Filipino Congress!
I have concluded.
Source: Centennial Publication, National Historical Institute; original source: Taylor, John R. M. The Philippine Insurrection Against the United States. Volume III, Exhibit 410 pp 536 - 538