The Philippine Legislature


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Lecture slides on the Philippine legislature, based on provisions in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

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  • Learning Objectives: 1.) To become familiar with the Philippine Congress as the legislative department of the Philippine government. 2.) To be able to identify the structure, function, powers and constituency of the Philippine Congress as stipulated in Article VI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution 3.) To understand key political concepts related to governance, especially with respect to legislative branches of government
  • When we say Congress, we refer to both houses of the legislative branch of government in the Philippines. Congressmen in the Upper House are called Senators Congressmen in the Lower House are called Representatives
  • Article VI, Sections 2-4. Many of these stipulations reaffirm Article II, Section 26. Note on Composition: Election at large = nationwide Age requirement on election day: stipulated so as to avoid ambiguity. It is important to remember that Ninoy Aquino ran into problems when he ran for Senator precisely because of the age requirement. Note on term of office: if a Senator resigns mid-term, it does not entitle him to say that his term was interrupted (i.e. it is still taken against his full term). This means that a Senator on his second term cannot resign before his term ends and claim that he is entitled to run for the same seat again
  • Article VI, Sections 5-7 Legislative Districts (Art VI, Sec. 3) Based on size and contiguity of territory “ Uniform and progressive ratio” Population of 250,000 = 1 Representative Party List: To incorporate sectoral groups (civil society) Party list reps need not fulfill the residency requirement Party list groups: Labor, peasant, urban poor, youth, indigenous cultural communities, women, etc. No religious groups Youth groups are exempt from the age requirement
  • Article VI, Section 9 Regular election: Example was May 11, 2001. The seat vacated by Guingona (?) had to be filled. Unexpired term Whoever is elected merely completes the term that was prematurely vacated. In a sense, therefore, this allows such persons to skirt the prohibitions as far as terms of office are concerned.
  • Article VI, Section 11 These privileges are important to allow Congressmen to fulfill their functions without undue harassment. Note: the basic limitations are: 1.) In the case of immunity from arrest, congressmen are only immune so long as the offense in question is punishable by a prison sentence of six years or less. 2.) Immunity in both cases are guaranteed only while Congress is in session 3.) Immunity applies (especially with respect to the privilege of speech and debate) only when the Congressman is acting de officio
  • Article VI, Sections 12-13
  • Article VI, Section 16 Quorum: Minimum number of people for a meeting to be valid and binding. For Congress, majority is the basis, not majority of all members. The difference is that the former is more flexible (i.e. members who are out of the country or momentarily indisposed are not counted for quorum) A smaller number may meet to work out matters on a day-to-day basis
  • 1.) Article VI, Sections 17-19 (esp. 18) 2.) Investigations in aid of legislation: Article VI, Section 21 3.) Declaration of the existence of war and emergency powers: Article VI, Section 23 4.) Treaties: Article VII, Section 21 (The Executive Branch) 5.) Emergency Powers: Article VI, Section 23
  • 6.) Article VI, Sec. 24-5 7.) and 8.) Article VI, Sec. 27 9.) Article VI, Sec. 32 10.) Article XVII, Sections 1-2
  • 1.) Article VI, Sec. 25 2.) Article VI, Sec. 28 (4) 3.) Article VI, Sec. 31 4.) and 5.) Article III, Sec. 22
  • Article VI, Sec. 27
  • Article VI, Sec. 27
  • Article VI, Sec. 27
  • Article VI, Sec. 27
  • Article VI, Sec. 27
  • The Philippine Legislature

    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Congress : the Legislative Branch of government in the Philippines </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose , functions and structure of Congress </li></ul><ul><li>Constitutional mandates with respect to Congress </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Legislative Branch <ul><li>From the Latin lex, legis meaning law </li></ul><ul><li>The legislative branch broadly deals with the making , deliberation over , enactment , amendment and repealing of laws </li></ul>
    4. 4. Basic Structures <ul><li>There are two basic structures for legislative branches of government: </li></ul><ul><li>Unicameral </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The legislative branch consists of one chamber/house </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bicameral </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legislative power is vested in two chambers/houses </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. The Philippine Congress <ul><li>The Philippine Congress is the country’s legislative department (Art. VI, Sec. 1) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Congress is bicameral </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Upper House: Senate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lower House: House of Representatives </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>N.B.: Senators are Congressmen </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Senate <ul><li>Composition </li></ul><ul><li>Qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Term of Office </li></ul><ul><li>24 Senators elected at large </li></ul><ul><li>Natural-born citizen </li></ul><ul><li>At least 35 years old on election day </li></ul><ul><li>Literate (can read and write) </li></ul><ul><li>Registered voter </li></ul><ul><li>Philippine resident for 2 years prior to election day </li></ul><ul><li>6 years </li></ul><ul><li>Maximum: 2 terms </li></ul>
    7. 7. House of Representatives <ul><li>200 district reps, 50 party list </li></ul><ul><li>Natural-born citizen </li></ul><ul><li>At least 25 years old on election day </li></ul><ul><li>Literate (can read and write) </li></ul><ul><li>Registered voter of the district </li></ul><ul><li>District resident for 1 year prior to election day </li></ul><ul><li>3 years </li></ul><ul><li>Maximum: 3 terms </li></ul><ul><li>Composition </li></ul><ul><li>Qualifications </li></ul><ul><li>Term of Office </li></ul>
    8. 8. In Case of Vacancy… <ul><li>Vacancy can be filled through regular election </li></ul><ul><li>Special elections can be called for the purpose of filling the vacancy </li></ul><ul><li>In either circumstance, the one elected merely sits for the unexpired term </li></ul>
    9. 9. Parliamentary Privileges <ul><li>Congressmen have two parliamentary privileges while Congress is in session : </li></ul><ul><li>Privilege from arrest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immunity from offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Privilege of speech and debate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immunity from libel and slander </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Transparency <ul><li>Elected Congressmen must: </li></ul><ul><li>Fully disclose their financial and business interests </li></ul><ul><li>Disclose potential conflicts of interests that arise in the course of legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Keep from any other office or employment (appointed or otherwise), forfeit his/her seat to do so </li></ul>
    11. 11. Structure and Dynamics <ul><li>Senate President and House Speaker elected by majority vote </li></ul><ul><li>Other officers , procedures and the discipline of its members is at the discretion of each house </li></ul><ul><li>Quorum: Majority </li></ul><ul><li>Each House maintains a journal and record of proceedings </li></ul><ul><li>Neither House can adjourn without the other’s consent while in session </li></ul>
    12. 12. Powers of Congress <ul><li>Appointment of Public Officials </li></ul><ul><li>Legislative inquiry and investigation </li></ul><ul><li>Declare the existence of a state of war </li></ul><ul><li>Ratify the country’s international treaties ( Senate ) </li></ul><ul><li>Authorize limited emergency powers for the President </li></ul>
    13. 13. Powers of Congress <ul><li>Approve the government budget </li></ul><ul><li>Undertake projects under the CDF </li></ul><ul><li>Propose, review, and adopt bills for enactment into law </li></ul><ul><li>Overturn a Presidential veto with respect to proposed legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Allow for referenda </li></ul><ul><li>Propose amendments to the constitution and call for a constitutional convention </li></ul>
    14. 14. Legislative Limitations <ul><li>Congress may not: </li></ul><ul><li>Increase appropriations recommended by the executive branch </li></ul><ul><li>Pass tax exemptions without the concurrence of a majority of its members </li></ul><ul><li>Grant titles of nobility </li></ul><ul><li>Pass ex post facto bills </li></ul><ul><li>Pass bills of attainder </li></ul>
    15. 15. How a Bill Becomes Law ~House of Representatives~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading Debate Referral to Committee
    16. 16. How a Bill Becomes Law Debate Referral to Committee ~House of Representatives~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading ~Senate~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading
    17. 17. How a Bill Becomes Law ~House of Representatives~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading ~Senate~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading BICAMERAL COMMITTEE
    18. 18. How a Bill Becomes Law ~House of Representatives~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading ~Senate~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading President
    19. 19. How a Bill Becomes Law ~House of Representatives~ 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading 1st Reading 2nd Reading 3rd Reading President APPROVE VETO 30 DAY PERIOD
    20. 20. -end-