The Philippine Revolution

by Apolinario Mabini


Copyright 1969
By Leon Ma.Guerrero


Permission to post this text on the Austrian-Philippine Website is provisionally granted by the estate of Leon Ma. Guerrero. It is intended for academic use. Commercial exploitation of this is explicitly prohibited. Copyright Estate of Leon Ma. Guerrero. All rights reserved.


Scanning and proofreeding of the text by Robert L. Yoder


The Spanish Regime in the Philippines Before the Revolution.

There were formerly in Manila Latinity schools where that language was taught together with a little Spanish, the only mandatory requirements for the study of philosophy, theology and jurisprudence in the University of Santo Thomas, run by the Dominicans. The Philippine priests and lawyers who were Burgos's contemporaries, with the exception of sons of Spaniards, knew Latin perfectly well but hardly any Spanish because the educational system was wholly religious. Of those few Filipinos who had enough financial resources to study in Manila, the majority studied for the priesthood because the friars looked askance at lawyers while priests were held in high esteem by the natives. Later, in order to discourage young Filipinos from going to Spain or elsewhere abroad for studies not available in Manila,, there to pick up liberal and irreligious ideas, the friars amended the educational structure and opened medical and pharmaceutical schools, believing that they could thus at least choose the textbooks and teachers most suitable to their purposes: between. two unavoidable evils, the lesser was to be preferred. However, such was the thirst for knowledge and learning that many scions of wealthy families preferred to study in Spain and travel about Europe. Among those who went abroad for the express purpose of working for the improvement of the political situation of the Filipinos, Don Jose Rizal, a medical student, and Don Marcelo H. del Pilar, a Bulacan lawyer persecuted by his town's parish priest, deserve special mention.

From the political point of view the Philippines was then in a deplorable state. As a mere Spanish possession it did not enjoy constitutional guarantees, so that the King, through the Minister of the Colonies, the member of his government responsible for these matters, had in his hands, the whole of the legislative and executive power. In so far as he also appointed and transferred justices and judges at his discretion, he was also the absolute head of the judicial branch. He was represented in the archipelago by the governor general of the Philippines, who was always, a military man with the rank of lieutenant-general or captain-general in the army, and who exercised dictatorial authority to suspend at his discretion the enforcement of the decrees issued. by the Colonial Ministry when in his judgment they were prejudicial to peace and order in the islands; to banish any citizen or compel him to change his place of residence without being heard in his own defense; to prohibit the public ation or importation into the archipelago of books, pamphlets and articles not approved by the official censors; to search domiciles and correspondence without judicial warrant; to prohibit associations and assemblies for political purposes, as well as the exercise of any religion except the Roman Catholic: in brief, to prohibit the exercise of all those natural rights, older than any human law, which are due to any citizen. Thus the country was in effect in a permanent state of war, although peace had reigned everywhere for three centuries.

The governor general was also commander-in-chief of the army in the Philippines. As viceregal patron he appointed all parish priests and other ecclesiastical employees. He was assisted in his multiple functions, although with more independence and greater powers than ordinary secretaries, by the director general of the public treasury, in affairs pertaining to this field; the director general of civil administration, in affairs pertaining to police, public works, communications, agriculture, industry, commerce, mines, forests, public instruction and others; and by the deputy commander-in-chief in military matters.

The governor himself assisted by the executive secretary, handled official business outside the jurisdiction of the said officials. An Administrative Council had been established to advise him on matters of great weight and importance, and he could also convoke the Council of State, composed, in addition to the high officials already mentioned, of the chief commandant of the naval station and squadron, the archbishop of Manila, and the president of the Manila high court.

All the departments and provincial governments were staffed with peninsular Spaniards, personnel unfamiliar with the country and relieved every time there was a cabinet change (in Madrid). Very few Filipinos secured employment as army officers, as officials in the civil administration, or as judges and prosecuting attorneys. A few Filipinos, more outstanding for their wealth than for their learning, just recently served as members of the Administrative Council, but these positions were unpaid and besides the body was purely advisory in nature. Every government employee tried to make the most of the short time he usually had in office so that dismissal should not catch him unprovided for. In every government centre or branch office the employees covered up for one another because if any of them were to be brought to book their whole class and race would be dishonoured. Any Filipino who denounced the abuses of the Spanish officials and friars was persecuted as a subversive. The archipela go was not represented in the Spanish parliament.

There was no representative municipal government except only in the city of Manila. Town mayors merely collected taxes and enforced the orders of the provincial authorities. They could repair highways with forced labour, but otherwise hand neither funds nor authority to undertake other public works. A mayor was not the leader of his community but only the servant of the town's parish priest and constabulary commanding officer.

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created: September 8, 1998
updated: December 22, 1998
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