Code of Kalantiaw
The Code of Rajah Kalantiaw was a purported legal code in the epic history Maragtas that is said to have been written in 1433 by Datu Kalantiaw, a chief on the island of Negros in the Philippines. The code is now believed by many historians to have been a hoax and that it had actually been written in 1913 by Jose E. Marco as a part of his historical fiction Las antiguas leyendas de la Isla de Negros (English: The Ancient Legends of the Island of Negros), which he attributed to a priest named Jose Maria Pavon.
Philippine historian Teodoro Agoncillo describes the code as "a disputed document." Despite doubts on its authenticity, some history texts continue to present it as historical fact.
History and doubts of authenticity
In 1917, the historian Josué Soncuya wrote about the Code of Kalantiaw in his book Historia Prehispana de Filipinas ("Prehispanic History of the Philippines") where he moved the location of the Code's origin from Negros to the Panay province of Aklan because he suspected that it may be related to the Ati-atihan festival. Other authors throughout the 20th century gave credence to the story and the code.
In 1965, then University of Santo Tomas doctoral candidate William Henry Scott began an examination of prehispanic sources for the study of Philippine history. Scott eventually demonstrated that the code was a forgery committed by Marco. When Scott presented these conclusions in his doctoral dissertation, defended on 16 June 1968 before a panel of eminent Filipino historians which included Teodoro Agoncillo, Horacio de la Costa, Marcelino Foronda, Mercedes Grau Santamaria, Nicolas Zafra and Gregorio Zaide, not a single question was raised about the chapter which he had called The Contributions of Jose E. Marco to Philippine historiography.
Scott later published his findings debunking the code in his book Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History. Filipino historians later removed the code from future literature regarding Philippine history. When Antonio W. Molina published a Spanish version of his The Philippines Through the Centuries as Centuries as historia de Filipinas (Madrid, 1984), he replaced the Code with one sentence: "La tésis doctoral del historador Scott desbarate la existencia misma de dicho Código" (The doctoral dissertation of the historian Scott demolishes the very existence of the Code).
Laws of the Code of Kalantiaw
Ye shall not kill, neither shall ye steal nor shall ye hurt the aged, lest ye incur the danger of death. All those who this order shall infringe shall be tied to a stone and drowned in a river or in boiling water.
Ye shall punctually meet your debt with your headman. He who fulfills not, for the first time shall be lashed a hundredfold, and If the obligation is great, his hand shall be dipped threefold in boiling water. On conviction, he shall be flogged to death.
Obey ye: no one shall have wives that are too young, nor shall they be more than what he can take care of, nor spend much luxury. He who fulfils not, obeys not, shall be condemned to swim three hours and, for the second time, shall be scourged with spines to death.
Observe and obey ye: Let not the peace of the graves be disturbed; due respect must be accorded them on passing by caves and trees where they are. He who observes not shall die by bites of ants or shall be flogged with spines till death.
Obey ye: Exchange in food must be carried out faithfully. He who complies not shall be lashed for an hour. He who repeats the act shall, for a day be exposed to the ants.
Ye shall revere respectable places, trees of known value, and other sites. He shall pay a month's work, in gold or money, whoever fails to do this; and if twice committed, he shall be declared a slave.
They shall die who kill trees of venerable aspect; who at night shoot with arrows the aged men and the women; he who enters the house of the headman without permission; he who kills a fish or shark or striped crocodile.
They shall be slaves for a given time who steal away the women of the headmen; he who possesses dogs that bite the headmen; he who burns another man's sown field.
They shall be slaves for a given time, who sing in their night errands, kill manual birds, tear documents belonging to the headmen; who are evil-minded liars; who play with the dead.
It shall be the obligation of every mother to show her daughter secretly the things that are lacivious, and prepare them for womanhood; men shall not be cruel to their wives, nor should they punish them when they catch them in the act of adultery. He who disobeys shall be torn to pieces and thrown to the caymans.
They shall be burned, who by force or cunning have mocked at and eluded punishment, or who have killed two young boys, or shall try to steal the women of the old men (agurangs).
They shall be drowned, all slaves who assault their superiors or their lords and masters; all those who abuse their luxury; those who kill their anitos by breaking them or throwing them away.
They shall be exposed to the ants for half a day, who kill a black cat during the new moon or steal things belonging to the headmen.
They shall be slaves for life, who having beautiful daughters shall deny them to the sons of the headman, or shall hide them in bad faith.
Concerning their beliefs and superstitions: they shall be scourged, who eat bad meat of respected insects or herbs that are supposed to be good; who hurt or kill the young manual bird and the white monkey.
Their fingers shall be cut off, who break wooden or clay idols in their olangangs and places of oblation; he who breaks Tagalan's daggers for hog killing, or breaks drinking vases.
They shall be killed, who profane places where sacred objects of their diwatas or headmen are buried. He who gives way to the call of nature at such places shall be burned.
Those who do not cause these rules to be observed, if they are headmen, shall be stoned and crushed to death, and if they are old men, shall be placed in rivers to be eaten by sharks and crocodiles.
- Agoncillo, Teodoro C. (1990) , History of the Filipino People (8th ed.), Quezon City: Garotech Publishing, ISBN 971-8711-06-6.
- Duka, C. (2008), Struggle for Freedom, Rex Bookstore, Inc., ISBN 978-971-23-5045-0.
- Scott, William Henry (1992), "Kalantiaw: The Code That Never Was", Looking for the Prehispanic Filipino and Other Essays in Philippine History: And Other Essays in Philippine History, New Day Publishers, ISBN 978-971-10-0524-5
- Scott, William Henry (1984), Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History, New Day Publishers, ISBN 971-10-0226-4
- Zulueta, Francisco M.; Nebres, Abriel M. (2003), Philippine history and government through the years, National Book Store, ISBN 971-08-6344-4.