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Foundational Document of the Katipunan

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Foundational Document of the Katipunan
Saligang Kasulatan ng Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan


(Historical Narrative)

There is a country that is ruled by wickedness and cruelty; the laws are worthless and what prevails is the rule of the mighty. And yet this country is sacrificing its blood and life for the honor and glory of its rulers, just to be called brother or child. Its wealth, life and honor are at the disposal of people with evil desires. For more than three centuries it has suffered hardship and wearisome deceit: a record not of tolerant benevolence, but of callous neglect.
This country is ours; this chronicle of oppression is ours. A country full of suffering, to the extent of slavery. Oh Philippines! How wretched you are! Oh country of our birth! Had she wanted you to progress, she would have given you advantages over other peoples; had she desired your welfare, she would have treated you like a favored child. But you have not been treated like this. You have been persecuted; you have suffered despicable punishments and grave injustices. [To Spain:] One by one your children are accusing you; here too you despise the very being of those who cannot answer back or protest that honor is being stained.
Great and certain is the honor to be accorded to those who devote their hearts and souls to their country, because they are prepared to leave their parents, brothers and sisters, spouses, children and friends, to forsake their own interests and wealth, and to disregard the hardship ahead. Their single goal, their single thought, is the betterment of the land of their birth.
And therefore to my beloved brothers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora, who were reviled for their absolute devotion to the Philippines, our country, and to those who are now being sent to isolated places, punished, and dying in exile, we dedicate our hearts and lives in solidarity under a great and resolute Katipunan, which is now constituted to wrench this our country from the rapacious claws of the Spaniards and from the enslavement and hardship they inflict upon us in pursuit of their desire to succor and benefit themselves.
We should not believe the honeyed words about being guided and tutored; we have been invited to observe the reality by our brave and beloved brother Mr. Rizal, who desires the welfare and education of the country most earnestly, but who has now been exiled by the malefactors.
Whereas the most important, most abundantly honorable and sublime duties of any enlightened power are to defend her country, to safeguard its welfare, to expend riches, blood and even life for her country, brothers and children in order that they are not oppressed and enslaved by another ruler.
Whereas the Creator does not mandate any one of His creations to oppress and trample on another.
Whereas to defend and love one’s coun ry is not a crime, especially if she is suffocated and enslaved by her rulers, as is happening now.
Whereas a people whose interests, needs and true and genuine desires are under relentless attack has just cause to bring down the leaders or rulers who behave in such a way, and that if this eventuality arrives it is not lawless or traitorous, but the defense of true reason, and a revolt against the flame of hardship.
Whereas no Laws have been passed or justification given for the confiscation of anything that is not hers, and that we are the true owners of this land, it is just for us to demand the return of what has been borrowed, for us to govern these Islands. We do not need the intervention or direction of people from other lands, because if that happens, like now, the result is frustration, humiliation, enslavement, and slaughter.


Having regard to all the abuses just narrated, the acts perpetrated by the Spaniards that open deep wounds in our heart, and for the reasons that are enumerated above, we affirm below this document that we are of one accord and conviction to extirpate the oppression, maltreatment, enslavement and many other excesses that this subjugated and oppressed Archipelago suffers at the hands of its pitiless, ravenous and bestial oppressors.
In order to ensure the success of this momentous and arduous undertaking, and to fortify our strength, we place ourselves before the High Tribunal of God the Creator and we request the help of his great strength and power in order that we may be sheltered and succored by true reason.
For the fulfilment of what we have discussed and covenanted, we swear in the name of God before this Supreme Katipunan and our loved ones to defend this our country and to strive, come what may, for her independence and separation from Spain.
For the fulfilment of this sacred cause, we shall respond with our bodies, lives and wealth, now and in the future.
We swear also that we shall adopt and shall put into effect the principal orders that have been signed and agreed by ourselves and by other Gentlemen who belong to this Katipunan, whom we respect and salute. These orders are attached at the end.
Tondo, the _______of August in the year one thousand, eight hundred and ninety-two.

Manga daquilang cautosan
(Principal Orders)

In conformity with the foregoing narrative and covenant, we direct the whole subject and subjugated population of this Philippine Archipelago, now and in the future, to observe and implement the following orders:
  1. Be it declared that from this day forward this Archipelago is separated from Spain, and that no leadership is recognized or will be recognized other than this Supreme Katipunan.
  2. The Supreme Katipunan is hereby established, and henceforth it will be the paramount authority throughout the entire Archipelago and will issue the principal orders.
  3. The Katipunan has a paramount Chief who is to be recognised, respected and obeyed by all who support and join the Association here or the Katipunans established in other towns and provinces of this Archipelago.
  4. The Chief has two groups of three in his administration, who will be called Councilors. Their decisions must be followed and implemented without protest by all subordinates.
  5. From amongst the Councilors in these two groups of three will be drawn a Secretary, a Keeper of the funds to be deposited in a Bank, an Executor of plans regarding the expenditure of the capital or cash reserves, and a Prosecutor who will take action against anyone who commits offences or disobeys orders here in the Katipunan.
  6. Each of the Secretaries and others must recruit their own groups of three, because in this manner the membership will attain a respectable size, and thus the Katipunan will grow and spread until the objectives set out above are attained.
  7. Everyone in the Katipunan has a strict duty to pay their contributions: 80 kualta from every Head, Councilor and Assistant: 60 kualta from each of the Lieges, 40 kualta from each partisan and 16 from each follower, in accordance with the schedule in the table attached at the end.
  8. Each Katipunan of three should deliberate on steps that will be effective in strengthening unity, defending brothers who are suffering misfortune, developing skills of leadership and encouraging good conduct amongst all members, and likewise in spreading news, notifying members of new instructions, and in bringing to the attention of the chief anything they notice about the enemy, and information about the deposits in their reserves.
  9. Although the group of three may wish to recruit another member whom they believe to be competent enough and ready to be assigned duties, this should not be a reason for disregarding the secret procedures that must be followed here in the Katipunan.
  10. The Katipunan in each town and province is modelled on that in Manila and the surrounding towns, but the difference is that those in the towns are subordinate to the confederation of Chiefs in their respective provinces, and those in the provinces are subordinate to the center in Manila.
  11. Those who will be admitted into this great Katipunan must be people known to be of good character, to have their hearts set on the defense of our country, and to be prepared to face the trials they will be set. Before the supreme Head authorizes a person’s admission, a group of three must be persuaded that he is worthy of being received into the Katipunan. He will then take a new name, swear before God in the name of this Philippines to pledge his life in defence of the country and sign a pledge to that effect.
  12. Leaders must demonstrate to their followers meritorious and commendable qualities such as fellowship, friendship, brotherhood, and good parenting, and likewise show compassion toward whoever is in need.
  13. Offices in the Katipunan will be held for a term of two years, with the exception of the position of fiscal. In the event that any Head or any of the Assistants vacates their position, their place will be taken by either of the two others in their triangle.
  14. Bears in mind constantly the aims of this Katipunan, and is acutely aware of how long overdue is the rescue of the Philippines from the clutch of the malefactors

Duties of the Head (Katungkulan ng Ulo)Edit

  1. Gives orders and devises plans to make the Katipunan effective, and ensures that all followers comply with them loyally.
  2. Orders and plans will have no effect unless they have the agreement of the two Councilors. The Secretary will be answerable if they are independent
  3. Should it be necessary, the Head has authority to give orders even in the absence of any Councilor or Secretary, but he will be answerable for everything done and its consequences
  4. In time of war the Center is in control of everything and will give the orders to be followed by all the Heads in the provinces and towns.
  5. Decisions regarding punishments or rewards for achievement will be final.
  6. The Center or the Chief of the Katipunan will be impartial when there is a discussion. Whatever is decided on the matter will be followed
  7. Whereas the fundamental aim of this Katipunan is the betterment of the Philippine people, he will strive to sign beneficial laws with the help of his Councilors
  8. Whenever there is wrongdoing, he will order the establishment of a Court to make a judgment expeditiously.
  9. When a reward is to be given in recognition of a meritorious deed, he will announce it immediately and make known the favor to be granted
  10. The person of the Central Chief is to be treated with great respect. Nobody will treat him with disrespect or irreverence, and he will be called the H. N. B. P....
  11. Will strive to give sound leadership to all subjects and to improve the livelihood of the people, which will invariably be the purpose of all initiatives and new orders.

For Councilors (Sa Kasangguni)Edit

  1. Ensures that the Head or Chief has his affairs in good order
  2. Does not allow the effectiveness of the orders and instructions about operational matters to be undermined in any way
  3. One of the two Councilors will help inside the administration and the other will ensure that everything possible is being done to advance the Katipunan.
  4. Ensures nothing is neglected, not even small matters
  5. Safeguards the secrets of the Chief.

For Assistant Secretary (Sa manga Katulong Kalihim)Edit

  1. Safeguards the secret plans of the Chief on which he is consulted, and likewise the confidentiality of whatever is discussed inside the Council.
  2. Must comply with the orders without negligent delay.
  3. Orders or instructions on paper need to be endorsed by the Secretary and those not on paper shall be repeated three times by the Head to the two councilors, and in the same way they will pass the orders down to their groups of three until they have reached all members.
  4. Orders and information that must be communicated to the whole Katipunan down to the different affiliated provinces and towns will be written in the script of a new alphabet, and will be despatched by post in the Spanish manner and be endorsed by the Secretary.

Prosecutor (Tagausig)Edit

  1. Should a favor or punishment be sought in relation to any matter within the Katipunan, it is he who will be required to request it before the great Council.
  2. Will request , whenever it is needed, the written schedule of the income and outgoings of the money of the Katipunan.
  3. Will check constantly that nobody in the Katipunan, from the top to the bottom, is falling short in the accomplishment of their respective duties.
  4. Must know the true names, and also the aliases, of each and every one

Assistant (Katulong)Edit

  1. Will report to the Secretary of the Chief and will accept his every order.
If expenses for travel need to be withdrawn from the coffers of the Katipunan, will hand over the required amount to the chief as ordered, and will also provide any other necessities and give a true and honest reckoning of the expenditure or expenses incurred.

Head of the Army (Puno sa Hukbo)Edit

  1. Receives orders from the chief in charge of the Katipunan and puts them into effect immediately without delay.
Will get funds from the coffers of the Katipunan every month and be responsible for distributing the full amount to their men.
Must not neglect to ensure that their men are trained to obey orders from above.

Rules for All (Atas sa Lahat)Edit

The two members at the base of each triangle will report on their activities to the third member, who in turn will pass information on to his leader, and so on until it reaches the top. This will also be the procedure to be followed for sending contributions to the head. It will likewise be the way to proceed when orders need to be passed down from above, or communications from the Secretary need to be filtered down to the base.
Absolute secrecy must be maintained in relation to the plans, deeds and commands of the chiefs of the Katipunan. These must not be disclosed even to parents, brothers and sisters, children, spouses and other loved ones and partners in life, no matter what the temptation, because the Katipunan will deal harshly with every violation of this order.
Anything that is the subject of discord, any case concerning property or wealth, must not be brought before any court outside the Katipunan. Everything will be judged and resolved by their Katipunan