MALOLOS TO MELLIZA LETTER, JANUARY 1899
[Original in Spanish. Unsigned copy. P.I.R., 468.4 ]
Circular of December 27, inserted in the official newspaper of the
Visayas entitled "La Revolucion" dated January 5, 1899.
From this document it appears that the Regional Revolutionary Government
of the Visayas was transformed into a Federal State, invoking
the authority granted by the Honorable President Seņor Aguinaldo to the
Commissioners, Seņores Pablo Araneta and Francisco Villanueva. It is
signed in Jaro on December 27, 1898.
By a decree of the President of the Federal State of Visayas, dated
January 5, 1899, the offices of President, Vice President and six councillors,
representing the islands of Panay, Cebu, Leyte and Samar, are confirmed.
The Spanish laws are declared in force, with the exception of
those which will be rejected as opposed to the republican ideals. Other
points of lesser importance are legislated for, and a capital of the Visayan
Federation is designated. This document was published in the same
newspaper, dated January 8, 1899. .
In the number of January 15 of said paper, appears the official correspondence between the American commander of the expeditionary forces
to take Iloilo, General Miller, and the President of the Federal State, Sr.
Lopez. In the answer of Sr. Lopez, the Supreme authority of the Government
of Malolos is invoked.
In the number of January 17, laws are published regarding the formation
of poll lists and personal taxes, distinct from our system.
In the number of January 19, other correspondence between the Americans
and Visayans is published, wherein the authority of the Government
of Malolos is again invoked by Sr. Lopez.
On January 22, at a mass meeting the resignation of Sr. Lopez is
accepted and Sr. Melliza is named by acclamation, President of the Federal
In the number for the 26th, decrees of Sr. Melliza, on the polling of
Chinese and industrial tax, together with tariffs.
MALOLOS [evidently end of January, 1899]
To the Citizen President Sr. Raymundo Melliza y Angulo.
DEAR SIR AND BELOVED BROTHER: - I write you to request of you
your talented opinion and that of all the brothers who compose the Federal
State of Visayas, of which you are the worthy President, upon the
various questions which I shall set forth, all of them relating to that
most important matter, our National Unity, the principal basis of our
common claims to be recognized as a free and independent nation by foreign
nations, and which is very necessary in order that our claim may be even
considered by them.
Political unity is an indispensable condition for the end above mentioned,
a unity, which does not exist since we here proclaimed unitarian
Republic as a form of national government, not only for Luzon but for
the entire Philippine Archipelago, and you proclaimed there in the Visayan
group a Federal State, an essentially separatist form of government.
We here legislate through the Congress subsequently putting into execution
the laws passed by the Representatives, by means of a responsible Government,
and you there legislate decrees. We are united as a force,
as a revolution against every foreign yoke, as may be seen from the notable
documents you addressed in reply to the attempts at usurpation of
General Miller, but in fact, as a nation, we are not one, but divided.
We cannot, therefore, secure compliance with our demand for recognition,
and this injures all in general in a most serious manner, especially
in view of the attitude of invasion of the Americans, because, not probably
but surely, if we were one politically speaking, the other powers
could grant us this desired recognition, a step which might also avoid
war between the Philippines and the United States of North America.
The official attitude observed by the Government which I, although
unworthy, have the honor to preside over, against the intentions of the
Americans to occupy the Visayan Islands or any other part of the Philippine
Archipelago, is well known. There is a recent case and Iloilo
played the principal role. My proclamations of January 5, last, says
literally that I would begin hostilities the moment that the Americans
should attempt to occupy that noble and heroic city by force.
As a consequence of these proclamations, seconded by you with admirable
firmness and resolution, General Otis invited me to certain conferences,
which we attended in the name of the entire Philippine Archipelago,
directing our commissioners to sustain as a principal basis the
recognition of the Philippine Republic as free and independent nation
comprising the entire Philippine Archipelago.
But the Americans can claim that your separate federal form is a
denial of the character [personalidad] we assume, an argument which
would annul all of our efforts, because no answer could be made in the
face of this evidence.
These conferences may, as your good judgment will show you, lead to
our obtaining the recognition we demand, but with some conditions favoring
the commerce and industry of America, an other important points,
which will affect the entire Archipelago, including therefore, the Visayan
Islands. In such event, you (plural) being separated from us politically
and administratively, our honor itself would force us to confess to the
United States that we lack your political representation for the purpose
of obligating you (plural) and the Visayan Islands; this would cause a
fiasco which would redound to the prejudice only of yourselves and us,
that is to say to the great Filipino people.
The unity of the army is also a necessary condition for the juridical
existence of a Nation. A well organized and well disciplined army provides
for the defense of order and tranquillity in the interior and the
security of the integrity of the territory; but on the contrary, a divided
army with independent commanders, with different military laws, and with
a disjointed organization, is to be feared at home. as an easy source of all
kinds of disturbances, and is not feared abroad at an on account of the
absence of ordinary coordination, in tactics as well as in provisions and
war materiaL In this point I can state to you that as long as we are
separated and divided from a military point of view also, we shall not
secure the recognition of our Philippine Republic, nor you that of your
As is the case with the unity of the army, it is also necessary for
the political existence of modern nations, to have national credit, which
is represented at home and abroad by the public treasury. It is necessary
that citizens be subject to the same taxes, in order that they may all and
each one contribute equitably to the expenses of the Nation. - The unity
of contributing forces increases the credit of the State abroad. - And
when this State is a new born one, as the Philippine nation, such requirements
are even more necessary in order to guarantee public confidence,
without which it is not possible to establish the national treasury upon
a firm basis.
I remind you of those popular sayings which the Spaniards sounded
in our ears: "Visayas alone or Luzon alone, cannot raise a good army
nor a good squadron." And this is indeed so, as we are here having the
greatest difficulty to raise money to meet the cost (of subsistence only!)
of our army of more than 50,000 men.
Take into consideration that the enemy's strength here in Manila is
about twenty thousand men, and in the garrison of Cavite about six
thousand; this shows our need of maintaining the 50,000 men to with.
stand at a given moment the invasion and attack of the enemy who is
on land, and is not obliged to force a landing, as is so fortunately the
case with you (plural), the Americans occupying the Bay only.
From all that has been said, I hope that you will think over the
inadvisability of our political, military and administrative separation, and
that it is urgently necessary to correct this disunion as soon as possible,
under the constitutional system we have proclaimed here. I believe this
to be so and I desire it, although only temporarily as long as our independence
is threatened by the Americans and until we shall have secured
the recognition of our Republic by most of the other foreign nations.
Afterwards the Constitutional Assembly will decide our definite national
form, whether a unitarian or federal Republic, I believe that either would
serve to secure our public happiness.
The bases of the arrangement in my opinion are the following reserving
your better judgment:
1. The proclamation there of the Republican Constitution, which is
2. The creation of a superior council of delegates of this Government,
under the presidency of yourself, representing the Departments of
the Exterior, Interior, War and Navy, Treasury, Public Woks and Communications,
Industry, Commerce and Agriculture, and public Instruction.
3. Full powers, very full powers to administer, but always under the
laws emanating from here, excepting in the case of blockade, in which
you will have discretional powers as the cases may require and the circumstances,
as you have acted up to the present time.
4. Participation in Congress and in the Central Government here,
and even in the judiciary, electing your deputies as soon as possible in
aC'cordance with the rules of my decree of June 18, and sending here
also recommendations for the last two departmept heads which have been
reserved for you (plural) and the high office of Attorney General of the
Philippine Republic, which has also been reserved. I also hope that you
(plural) will send me, in the event that you accept the arrangament and
the bases which I propose, the names of the Delegates who will constitute
there the superior Council of Government of the Visayan Islands, for the
purpose of draftmg theIr appointments.
Here, my honored and beloved brother, I will close, having b~n
prompted solely by my heart and soul, which since August 31 1896 have
been devoted completely to our beloved Philippines.
I am guided only by the interest I have in our closer union. You
may so state to all our other brothers of that heroic city, to all of whom,
and especially to yourself, your affectionate servant sends his respectful
and fraternal greeting.
[NOTE, BY COMPILER: This letter was either prepared for the signature
of E. Aguuinaldo or else a retained copy of a letter sent by him]