The La Liga Filipina and Its Constitution

The La Liga Filipina and Its Constitution
© 2013-present by Jensen DG. Mañebog
Jose Rizal established La Liga Filipina, a civic association, in the house of Doroteo Ongjunco at Ilaya Street, Tondo, Manila on July 3, 1892. Though it was Jose Ma. Basa who conceived the establishment of ‘La Liga Filipina’ (The Philippine League), his friend and namesake Jose Rizal was the one who wrote its constitution in Hong Kong and actually founded it upon his return in the Philippines in 1892.
Considered an indirect upshot and subsidiary of the Propaganda, the La Liga aimed to directly involve the patriotic Filipinos, especially those based in the country, in the reform movement. Intending to uplift the life of the Filipinos, the society would promote mutual aids through projects like establishing cooperatives to provide supports like legal assistance, scholarship grants, and economic loans. The La Liga aspired, among others, to 1) unite the whole archipelago into one strong and united organization; 2) have mutual protection in every need and want; 3) serve as a defense against all violence and injustices; 4) encourage education, agriculture, and commerce; and 5) study the application of reforms.
The meeting in the house of Doroteo Ongjunco was attended by at least 20 Filipinos, including Andres Bonifacio and Apolinario Mabini. Rizal explained the aims of the ‘La Liga Filipina’ and officers were afterward elected, having Ambrosio Salvador as the president and Deodato Arellano as secretary.
Three days after the meeting though, Rizal was arrested, imprisoned, and later deported to Dapitan. The society thus became inactive, but was immediately reorganized through the active efforts of Andres Bonifacio and Domingo Franco. The revived organization expressed its support for the Propaganda Movement and its cause and vowed to raise funds for its operations.
However, disagreements on how reform should be attained soon emerged as some members wanted armed revolution whereas others wanted to preserve La Liga’s principle of a peaceful reform. The La Liga was thus dissolved before long and its membership split into two groups: the ‘Cuerpo de Compromisarios’ which comprised the conservatives who aimed to continue supporting the La Solidaridad, and the ‘Katipunan’ which consisted of the radicals led by Bonifacio. The ‘Cuerpo’ ultimately died out while the Katipunan attracted many Filipinos. Historically therefore, Rizal’s La Liga gave birth to Bonifacio’s Katipunan. (© 2013 by Jensen DG. Mañebog )
The Constitution of La Liga Filipina
(References: Agoncillo & Guerrero, History of the Filipino People, 5th edition, 1977; Blair, Emma Helen & Robertson, James Alexander, The Philippine Islands: 1493-1898, Vol. LIII, pages 217-226, Published 1903)

Read also: The Propaganda Movement, La Liga Filipina, and Katipunan

1. To unite the whole archipelago into one compact, vigorous, and homogenous body.
2.Mutual Protection in every want and necessity.
3.Defense against all violence and injustice.
4.Encouragement of instruction, agriculture and commerce.
5. Study and application of reforms.
Unus Instar Omnium (one life for all).
1. To set these ends in operation, a Popular Council, a Provincial Council, and a Supreme Council shall be created.
2.Each Council shall consist of a Chief, a Fiscal, a Treasurer, a Secretary, and members.
3.The Supreme Council shall consist of the Provincial Chiefs, just as the Provincial Council shall be composed of the popular chiefs.
4.The supreme council shall have command of the La Liga Filipina, and shall deal directly with the provincial chiefs and popular chiefs.
5.The Provincial Council shall have command of the Popular Chiefs.
6.The Popular Council only shall have comman of the members.
7.Each Provincial Council and Popular Council shall adopt a name different from that of their locality or region.
Duties and Rights of the Chief
Duties of the Chief
1.He shall continually watch over the life of his Council. He shall memorize the new and real names of all the Councils if he is the Supreme Chief, and if only a Popular Chief those of all his affiliated members.
2.He shall constantly study means to unite his subordinates and place them quick communication.
3.He shall study and remedy the necessities of the La Liga Filipina, of the Provincial Council, or of the Popular Council, according as he is a Supreme Chief, Provincial Chief, or Popular Chief.
4.He shall heed all the observations, communications, and petitions which are made to him, and shall immediately communicate them to the proper person.
5.In danger, he shall be the first, and he shall be the first to be held responsible for whatever occurs within a council.
6.He shall furnish an example by his subordination to his superior chiefs, so that he may be obeyed in his turn.
7.He shall see to the very last member, the personification of the entire La Liga Filipina.
8.The omissions of the Authorities shall be punished with greater severity than those of the simple members.
Rights of the Chief
1.He shall not be discussed unless accusations of the Fiscal precede.
2.For want of time and opportunity, he may act by and with himself, as he has the obligation to perform the charges which may be laid on him.
3.Within the Council, he shall be the Judge of every question or dispute.
4.He shall be the only one who shall be empowered to know the real names of his members or subordinates.
5.He shall have ample power to organize the details of the meetings, communications, and undertakings, for their efficacy, security, and rapid dispatch.
6.Whenever a Popular Council is sufficiently numerous, the Provincial Chief may create other subordinate Councils after first appointing the authorities. Once constituted, he shall allow them to elect their authorities according to regulations.
7.Every Chief shall be empowered to establish a Council in a village if none exists, after which he shall inform the Supreme Council or Provincial Council.
8.The Chief shall appoint a Secretary.
Duties and Rights of the Fiscal
Duties of the Fiscal
1.The Fiscal shall see to it that all comply with their duty.
2.He shall accuse in the presence of the Council every infraction or failure to perform his duty in any member of the Council.
3.He shall inform the Council of every danger of persecution.
4.He shall investigate the conditions of the funds of the Council.
Rights of the Fiscal
1.He shall cause every accused person to go out or appear while his case is being discussed in the Council.
2.He shall be able to examine the ledgers at any time.
Duties and Rights of the Secretary
Duties of the Secretary
1.At each meeting, he shall keep a record of the proceedings, and shall announce what is to be done.
2.He shall have charge of the correspondence of the Council. In case of absence or incapacity, every authority shall name a substitute, until the council name one to fill his place.
Rights of the Secretary
He may convoke extra meetings or assemblies in addition to the monthly meetings.
Duties and Rights of the Treasurer
Duties of the Treasurer
1.He shall enter in a ledger the new names of the members forming the Council.
2.He shall render strict monthly account of the dues received, noted by the members themselves, with their special countermarks.
3.He shall give a receipt and shall have a note of it made in the ledger in the hand of the donor, for every gift in excess of one peso and not over fifty.
4.The Popular Treasurer shall keep in the treasury of the Popular Council, the third part of the dues collected, for the necessities of the same. The remainder, whenever it exceeds the sum of ten pesos, shall be delivered to the Provincial Treasurer, to whim he shall show his ledger, and himself writing in the ledger of the Provincial Treasurer the amount delivered.
5.The Provincial Treasurer shall then give a receipt, and if it is in accordance with the accounts, shall place his O.K. in the ledger of the other. Like proceedings shall follow when the Provincial Treasurer delivers funds in excess of Ten Pesos to the Supreme Treasurer.
6.Whenever any member desire to give the La Liga Filipina a sum in excess of Fifty Pesos, he shall deposit the sum in a safe bank, under his vulgar name and then shall deliver the receipt to the treasurer of his choice.
Rights of the Treasurer
He shall dispose of the funds in an urgent and imperious necessity of any member of the Council, with the obligation of giving accounts and answering before the tribunal of the La Liga Filipina.
Duties and Rights of the Members
Duties of Members
1.They shall pay monthly dues of ten centavos.
2.They shall obey blindly and promptly every order emanating from a council or chief.
3.They shall inform the Fiscal of their Council of whatever they note or hear that has reference to the La Liga Filipina.
4.They shall preserve the most absolute secrecy in regard to the decisions of the council.
5.In all walks of life, preference shall be given to the members. Nothing shall be bought except in the shop of a member, or whenever anything is sold to a member, he shall have rebate. Circumstance being equal, the member shall always be favored. Every infraction of this article shall be severely punished.
6.The member who does not help another member in case of need or danger, although able to do so, shall be punished, and at least the same penalty suffered by the other shall be imposed on him.
7.Each member, on affiliation, shall adopt a new name of his own choice, and shall not be able to change same, unless he becomes a Provincial Chief.
8.He shall bring to each Council a service, an observation, a study, or a new candidate.
9.He shall not submit to any humiliation or treat anyone with contempt.
Rights of the Members
1.Every Member has the Right to the Moral, material, and pecuniary aid of his Council and of the La Liga Fil;ipina.
2.He may demand that all the members favor him in his trade or profession whenever he offers as many guarantees as others. For this protection, he shall transmit to his popular chief his real name and his footing, so that the latter may hand it to the Supreme Chief who shall inform all the members of the La Liga Filipina of it by proper means.
3.In any want, injury or injustice, the member may invoke the whole aid of La Liga Filipina.
4.He may request capital for an enterprise whenever there are funds in the treasury.
5.He may demand a rebate of all the institution or members sustained directly by La Liga Filipina, a for all articles or services rendered him.
6.No members shall be judged without first being allowed his defense.
Investment of funds
1.The member or his son, while not having means, shall show application and great capacities, shall be sustained.
2.The poor shall be supported in his right against any powerful person.
3.The member who shall have suffered a loss shall be aided.
4.Capital shall be loaned to the member who shall need it for an industry or for agriculture.
5.The introduction of machines and industries, new or necessary in the country, shall be favored.
6.Shops, stores, and establishments shall be opened, where the members may be accomodatedmore economically than elsewhere.
7.The Supreme Chief shall have power to dispose of the funds in needy cases, whenever he later renders an account to the Supreme Council.
General Rules
1. No one shall be admitted without a previous and unanimous vote of the Council of his village, and without satisfying the tests to which he must submit.
2. Offices shall end every two years, except when there is an accusation by the fiscal.
3. In order to obtain the posts, three fourths of all the votes present shall be required.
4. The members shall elect the Popular Chief, the Popular Fiscal, and the Popular Treasurer. The Popular Authorities shall elect the Provincial Authorities; and the Provincial Authorities shall elect the Supreme Authorities.
5. Every time that a member becomes the Popular Chief, that fact shall be communicated to the Supreme Chief, together with his new and old names; and the same shall be done whenever a new Council shall be founded.
6. Communications in ordinary times shall bear only the symbolic names both of the writer and of the persons for whom these are intended, and the course to be pursued shall be from the members to the Popular Chief, from the latter to the Provincial Chief or to the Supreme Chief , and vice versa. However, in any time and place the Supreme Chief may address anyone directly.
7. It is not necessary for all the members of a Council to be present to render decisions valid. It shall be sufficient if one-half the members are present and one of the authorities.
8. In critical moments, each Council shall be considered as the safeguard of the La Liga Filipina, and if for any cause or other, the other Councils are dissolved or disappeared, each Council, each Chief, each member shall take upon himself the mission of reorganizing and re-establishing them ... continue reading
© 2013-present by Jensen DG. Mañebog
Jensen DG. Mañebog, the contributor, is a book author and professorial lecturer in the graduate school of a state university in Metro Manila. His unique affordable e-books on Rizal (available online) comprehensively tackle, among others, the respective life of Rizal’s parents, siblings, co-heroes, and girlfriends. (e-mail:
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