1899 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
The President of the Council, Apolinario Mabini.chanrobles virtual law library
We, the Representatives of the Filipino people, lawfully covened, in order to establish justice, provide for common defense, promote the general welfare, and insure the benefits of liberty, imploring the aid of the Sovereign Legislator of the Universe for the attainment of these ends, have voted, decreed, and sanctioned the following:
Article 1. The political association of all 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. The Government of the Republic is popular, representative, alternative, and responsible, and shall exercise three distinct powers: namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. Any two or more of these three powers shall never be united in one person or cooperation, 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 Philippine territory.
2. Children of a Filipino father or mother, although born outside of the Philippines.
3. Foreigners who have obtained certification of naturalization.
4. 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 a crime and in accordance with law.
Article 8. All persons detained shall be discharged or delivered to the judicial authority within 24 hours following the act of detention. All detentions shall be without 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 a 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 a foreigner residing in the Philippines without his consent except in urgent cases of fire, inundation, earthquake or similar dangers, 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 foreign 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 a criminal should take refuge in the dwelling house of a foreigner, the consent of a latter must first be obtained.
Article 11. No Filipino shall be compelled to change his residence or domicile except by virtue of a final judgment.
Article 12. In no case may correspondence confided to the post office be detained or opened by government authorities, nor any telegraphic or telephonic message detained. However, by virtue of a competent court, correspondence may be detained and opened in the presence of the sender.
Article 13. All orders of imprisonment, of search of a dwelling house, or detention of written correspondence, telegraph or telephone, must be justified. When an order lacks this requisite, or when the grounds 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 Art. 9, or whose correspondence has been detained, shall have the right to recover damages.
Article 14. No Filipino shall be prosecuted or sentenced, except by a judge or court of proper jurisdiction and according to the procedure prescribed by law.
Article 15. Exept 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 proceeding summarily in this instance, as well as the personal and pecuniary penalties which shall be imposed upon the person who ordered, executed or to be executed the illegal detention or imprisonment.
Article 16. No one shall be temporarily or permanently deprived of rights or dstured 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 authorities, and indemnifying the owner thereof prior to expropriation.
Article 18. No one shall be obliged 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 or 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
in writing, through the use of the press or other similar means.
superior order shall not exempt a public official from liability in the
cases which constitute apparent and clear violations of constitutional
precepts. In others, the agents of the law shall only be exempted
they did not exercise the authority.
Article 33. Legislative power shall be exercised by an Assembly of Representatives of the Nation.
This Assembly shall be organized in the form and manner determined by law.
Article 34. The Members of the Assembly shall represent the who nation and not exclusively the electors who elected them.
Article 35. No representative shall receive from his electors any imperative mandate whatsoever.
Article 36. The Assembly shall meet every year. The President of the Republic has the right to convoke it, suspend and close its sessions, and dissolve the same, within the periods prescribed by law enacted by the Assembly or by the Permanent Commission.
Article 37. The Assembly shall be open at least three months each year, without including in this period the time spent in its organization.
The President of the Republic shall convoke the Assembly, not later than the 15th day of April.
Article 38. In extraordinary cases, he may convoke the Assembly outside of the period fixed by law, as determined by the Permanent Commission, and prolong its law-making, provided the extended period does not exceed one month and provided further that such extensions do not take place more than twice during the same legislative term.
Article 39. The National Assembly, jointly with the special Representatives, shall organize committees for the organization of the Assembly and for the election of the new President of the Republic, which shall be formed at least one month before the expiration of the term of office of the Representatives.
In case of death or resignation of the President of the Republic, the Assembly shall meet in session by its own right or by initiative of the President or of the Permanent Commission.
Article 40. In the meantime that the new President has not been chosen, his functions shall be exercised by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose office shall be taken over by one of the Justices of the Court, in accordance with law.
Article 41. Any session of the Assembly held outside the period of ordinary legislature shall be unlawful and void. The case provided in Article 30 and in which the Assembly has constituted itself into a Tribunal of Justice shall be excepted, but in the latter case no other functions shall be exercised except that pertaining to judicial functions.
Article 42. The sessions of the Assembly shall be public. However, sessions may be held in secret upon petition of a certain number of its members fixed by the Rules, deciding afterwards by an absolute majority of votes of the members present if the discussion on the same subject has to continue in public.
Article 43. The President of the Republic shall communicate with the Assembly by means of messages, which shall be read by a Department Secretary.
The Department Secretaries shall have the right to be heard in the Assembly, upon their request, and they may be represented in the discussion of certain bills by Commissioners appointed by decrees of
the President of the Republic.
Article 44. The Assembly may constitute itself into a Tribunal of Justice to hear and determine crimes committed against the security of the State by the President of the Republic and members of the Council of Government, by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and by the Solicitor General of the Nation, by means of a decree promulgating it, or by the Permanent Commission, or by the President of the Republic upon petition of the Solicitor General or Council of Government.
The law shall determine the mode and manner of the accusation, instruction, and disposition of the proceedings.
Article 45. No member of the Assembly shall be prosecuted nor held accountable for the opinions expressed by him, nor by the vote taken by him in the discharge of his office.
Article 46. No member of the Assembly shall be prosecuted criminally without authority of the Assembly or of the Permanent Commission to which an immediate report of the facts shall be made, for its proper action.
The imprisonment, detention, or apprehension of a member of the Assembly shall not be carried out without the prior authority of the same or by the Permanent Commission. The moment the Assembly is notified of the order of imprisonment, it shall incur liability if, within two days following the notification, it does not authorize the imprisonment or give sufficient reason upon which the refusal is based.
Article 47. The National Assembly shall have the following additional powers:
1. To approve Rules for its internal government.
Article 54. The Assembly, before adjournment, shall elect seven of its members to form the Permanent Commission during the period of adjournment, which shall designate at its first session, the President and the Secretary.
Article 55. The Permanent Commission, during the adjournment of the Assembly, shall have the following attributes:
1. Declare if there is sufficient cause to proceed against the President of the Republic, the Representatives, Department secretaries, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Solicitor-General in the cases provided by this Constitution.
2. Convoke the Assembly to a special session in the cases where the latter should constitute itself into a Tribunal of Justice.
3. To act upon pending matters which require proper action.
4. Convoke the Assembly in special sessions when the exigencies of the situation so demand.
5. Supplement the powers of the Assembly in accordance with the Constitution, excepting the act of voting and approving laws.
The Permanent Commission shall meet in session whenever convoked by the presiding officer, in accordance with this Constitution.
Article 56. The Executive Power shall be vested in the President of the Republic, who shall exercise it through his Department Secretaries.
Article 57. The administration of the particular interests of towns, provinces, and of the State shall correspond, respectively, to the Popular Assembles, the Provincial Assemblies, and to the Administration in power, in accordance with the laws, and observing the most liberal policy of decentralization and administrative autonomy.
Article 58. The President of the Republic shall be elected by absolute majority of votes by the Assembly and by the special Representatives, convened in chamber assembles. His term of office shall be four years, and may be reelected.
Article 59. The President of the Republic shall have the right to initiate the introduction of bills equally with the members of the Assembly, and promulgate the laws when duly voted and approved by the latter, and shall see to it that the same are duly executed.
Article 60. The power to execute the laws shall extend to all cases conducive to the preservation of internal public order and to the external security of the State.
Article 61. The President shall promulgate the laws duly approved by him within 20 days following their transmittal to him by the Assembly.
Article 62. If within this period, the President should fail to promulgate them, he shall return them to the Assembly with his reasons for the return, in which case the Assembly may reconsider same, and it shall be presumed by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present in a quorum. If repassed in the manner indicated, the Government shall promulgate same within ten days, with a manifestation of its non-conformity. The obligation is imposed upon the Government if it allows twenty days to elapse without returning the bill to the Assembly.
Article 63. When the promulgation of a law has been declared urgent by express will of an absolute majority of votes of the Assembly, the President of the Republic may require the Assembly to re-approve same which cannot be refused, and if the same bill is repassed, the President shall promulgate it within the legal period, without prejudice to his making of record his non-conformity with the bill.
Article 64. The promulgation of laws shall be made by publishing them in the official gazette of the Republic, and shall have the force of law thirty days following such publication.
Article 65. The President of the Republic shall have at his disposal the army and the navy, and may declare war and make and ratify treaties with the prior consent of the Assembly.
Article 66. Treaties of peace shall not take effect until voted upon by the Assembly.
Article 67. The President of the Republic, in addition to his duty to execute the laws, shall:
1. Supervise civil and military employees in accordance with the laws.
2. Appoint the Secretaries of the Government.
3. Direct the diplomatic and commercial relations with foreign powers.
4. See to it that justice is duly and promptly administered throughout the Philippines.
5. Grant pardon to convicted criminals in accordance with the laws, except any special provision relating to the Secretaries of the Government.
6. Preside over all national functions and receive ambassadors and accredited representatives of foreign powers.
Article 68. The President of the Republic may be authorized by special law:
1. To alienate, transfer or exchange any portion of Philippine territory.
2. To incorporate any other territory to the Philippine territory.
3. To admit the stationing of foreign troops in Philippine territory.
4. To ratify of alliance, defensive as well as offensive, special treaties of commerce, those which stipulate to grant subsidies to a foreign power, and those which may compel Filipinos to render personal service.
Secret treaties in no case may prevail over the provisions of open treaties or treaties made publicly.
5. To grant general amnesties and pardons.
6. To coin money.
Article 69. To the President belongs the power to issue regulations for the compliance and application of the laws in accordance with the requisites prescribed in said laws.
Article 70. The President of the Philippines, with the prior approval by majority vote of the Representatives, may dissolve the Assembly before the expiration of its legislation term. In this case, new elections shall be called within three months.
Article 71. The President of the Republic may be held liable only for cases of high treason.
Article 72. The salary of the President of the Republic shall be fixed by special law which may not be changed except after the presidential term has expired.
Marine, Public Education, Communications and Public Works, and Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce.
Article 74. All the acts done by the President of the Republic in the discharge of his duties shall be signed by the corresponding Secretary. No public official shall give official recognition to any act unless this requisite is complied with.
Article 75. The Secretaries of Government are jointly responsible to the Assembly for the general administration of the Government, and individually for their respective personal acts.
Article 76. In order to exempt them from responsibility, when held guilty by the Assembly, a petition to this effect approved by absolute majority of the Representatives is necessary.
Article 77. To the Court corresponds exclusively the power to apply the laws, in the name of the Nation, in all civil and criminal trials. The same codes of laws shall be applied throughout the Republic, without prejudice to certain variations according to circumstances as determined by law. In all trials, civil, criminal, and administrative, all citizens shall be governed by one code of laws and procedure.
Article 78. The courts of justice shall not apply general local regulations, except when they conform to the laws.
Article 79. The exercise of judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in other courts established by law. Their composition, organization, and other attributes shall be determined by the laws creating them.
Article 80. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Solicitor-General shall be chosen by the National Assembly in concurrence with the President of the Republic and the Secretaries of the
Government, and shall be absolutely independent of the Legislative and Executive Powers.
Article 81. Any citizen may file suit against any member exercising the Judicial Power for any crime committed by them in the discharge of their office.
Article 82. The organization and attributes of provincial and popular assemblies shall be governed by their respective laws. These laws shall conform to the following principles:
1. The government and management of the particular interests of the province or town shall be discharged by their respective corporations, the principle of direct and popular elections being the basis underlying each of them.
2. Publicity of their sessions, within the limits provided by law.
3. Publication of all appropriations, accounts, and agreements affecting same.
4. Government interference and, in the absence thereof, by the National Assembly, to prevent provinces and municipalities exceeding their powers and attributes to the prejudice of the interest of individuals and of the Nation at large.
5. Power of taxation shall be exercised to the end that provincial and municipal taxation do not come into conflict with the power of taxation of the State.
Article 83. The Government shall submit every year to the Assembly a budget of expenditures and income, indicating the changes made from those of the preceding year, accompanying the same with a balance sheet as of the end of the year, in accordance with law. This budget shall be submitted to the Assembly within ten days following the commencement of its session.
Article 85. The Government, in order to dispose of the property and effects of the State, and to borrow money secured by mortgage or credit of the Nation, must be authorized by special law.
Article 86. Public debts contracted by the Government of the Republic, in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, shall be under the special guarantee of the Nation.
No debt shall be contracted unless the means of paying the same are voted upon.
Article 87. All laws relating to income, public expenses, or public credits shall be considered as part of the appropriation and shall be published as such.
Article 88. The Assembly shall determine every year, upon the recommendation of the President of the Republic, the military forces by land and sea.
Article 89. The Assembly, on its own initiative or that of the President of the Republic, may propose amendments to the Constitution, indicating what article or articles are to be amended.
Article 90. This proposal having been made, the President of the Republic shall dissolve the Assembly, and shall convoke a Constituent Assembly which shall meet within three months. In the decree convoking the Constituent Assembly, the resolution mentioned in the preceding article shall be inserted.
Article 91. The President of the Republic, the Government, the Assembly, and all Filipino citizens shall faithfully observe the provisions of the Constitution; and the Legislative Power, upon approval of the Appropriations Act, shall examine if the Constitution has been strictly complied with and whether violations, if any, have been duly corrected and those responsible for the violations held liable.
Article 92. The President of the Republic and all other officials of the Nation shall not enter into the discharge of their office without having taken the prescribed oath. The oath of the President of the Republic shall be taken before the National Assembly.
The other officials of the Nation shall take their oath before the authorities determined by law.
Article 93. The use of languages spoken in the Philippines shall be optional. Their use cannot be regulated except by virtue of law, and solely for acts of public authority and in the courts. For these
acts the Spanish language may be used in the meantime.
Article 94. Meanwhile and without prejudice to the provisions of Article 48 and to the acts of the commissions designated by the Assembly to translate and submit to the same the organic laws in the development and application of the rights granted to Filipino citizens and for the government of public powers therein mentioned, the laws of the Republic shall be considered those found existing in these islands before the emancipation of the same.
The provisions of the Civil Code relating to marriage and civil registry, suspended by the Governor General of these islands; the Instructions of April 26, 1888 to carry into effect Articles 77, 78, 79, and 82 of said Code; the law on civil registry of June 17, 1870 which refers to Article 332 of the same, and the Regulation of December 13 following for the enforcement of this law, without prejudice to the Chiefs of towns continuing to be in charge of inscriptions in the civil registry and intervening in the celebration of marriage between Catholics, shall also be deemed in force and effect.
Article 95. In the meantime that the laws referred to in the preceding article have not been approved or enforced, the Spanish laws which said article allows to be enforced provisionally may be amended by special law.
Article 96. Once the laws approved by the Assembly have been promulgated in accordance with Article 94, the Government of the Republic shall have the power to issue decrees and regulations necessary for the immediate organization of the various organs of the State.
Article 97. The present President of the Revolutionary Government shall assume later the title of President of the Republic and shall discharge the duties of this office until the Assembly when convoked proceeds to the election of one who shall definitely exercise the duties of the office.
Article 98. The present Congress, composed of members by suffrage or by decree, shall last for four years, or for the duration of the present legislative term commencing on the 15th of April of next year.
Article 99. Notwithstanding the general rule established in part 2 of Article 4, in the meantime that the country is fighting for its independence, the Government is empowered to resolve during the closure of the Congress all questions and difficulties not provided for in the laws, which give rise to unforeseen events, of which the Permanent Commission shall be duly apprised as well as the Assembly when it meets in accordance with this Constitution.
Article 100. The execution of Article 5, Title III shall be suspended until the constituent Assembly meets in session.
In the meantime, municipalities which require spiritual ministry of a Filipino priest may provide for his necessary maintenance.
Article 101. Notwithstanding the provisions of Articles 62 and 63, bills returned by the President of the Republic to the Congress may not be repassed except in the legislature of the following year, this suspension being under the responsibility of the President and his Council of Government. When these conditions have been fulfilled, the promulgation of said laws shall be obligatory within ten days, without prejudice to the President making of record his non-conformity.
If the reapproval is made in subsequent legislative terms, it shall be deemed law approved for the first time.